I’m so excited to be back in London after nearly a decade!!! I was last here nine years ago visiting my good friend Rachel for her 21st birthday, who was studying abroad at Oxford (along with a bunch of other Tech friends). The year before (a decade ago almost to the day…which makes me feel so incredibly old), I was on the same study abroad at Oxford. One of the things Georgia Tech does very well is study abroad programs; our trip was spent studying art and architecture traveling around Europe for four weeks and then six weeks studying at Worcester College in Oxford , where we took classes Monday through Thursday and traveled every weekend. That summer was my first trip abroad to Europe. Ten weeks and eleven countries later, I was in love.
(2003 study abroad group, 2004 out in Oxford and a 2004 view of London)
I realize I just got back from a year of traveling around the world, but I decided to come to London for a few months to visit some friends, explore a city I love further and try to sort out my next steps in life. London seemed like the perfect mix of having a base, while also still having the ability to continue traveling. That is at least is the loose, vague answer. The long answer is best suited for another post .
During my first few days in London, I stayed at the Aloft London Excel to get my bearings and figure out which friends couch I would head to after. The Aloft generously offered me a complimentary night at their property for my first night. It proved to be the perfect respite after a long redeye flight from Atlanta. I’ve always loved the Aloft properties (and, of course, their sister property, the W Hotel is my favorite hotel chain) and in some ways my stay there brought the trip full circle because while traveling back and forth to Houston in the Fall of 2010, I was staying at the Aloft Houston and reading a book that ultimately planted the seed behind Danielle and my Round the World trip. I have (loosely) planned to bounce around staying with various friends while in London, so having a extra large king-sized bed all to myself was a welcomed luxury upon arrival in the UK. Not to mention, the complimentary drinks and breakfast were a real treat!
(Aloft London Excel)
So far, the first few days in London have been great! I’ve been able to catch up with some friends I’ve met while traveling, walked around enjoying the beautiful London summer weather (hoping it lasts a while…knock on wood) and reacquainting myself with the tube map (I am THAT person that constantly pulls it out when someone tells me an area of London…ha!). A helpful local I met at the Aloft wxyz bar gave me a few pointers on things to do while I’m in town. I’m so excited to finally be back in London and can’t wait to explore more of this incredible city!!
 Two of my friends I met traveling in Thailand were both Oxford alum and when I tried to include myself in their group as an Oxford alum, they both stared incredulously at me. I’ve actually been able to see them both during my first few days in London, tried the ‘joke’ again, and they both (separately) still stand by their stares. I still stand by my alumni status 🙂
(2003 Oxford Georgia Tech study abroad group; Oxford Worcester College; GT Zeta’s in the Rose Garden)
 On that same note, I’ve gotten a bit behind on the blog and am in the process of establishing more of a ‘routine’ in London to get caught up on the last two months, mainly, more about Colombia, my month at home in the States, etc.