Why I Love London or: Why London Feels Like Home

by Brenna Holeman

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I’ve been sighing a lot in London lately. I often talk about how much I love this city on this blog; I wrote a whole post about why it deserves every bit of that love, just over a year ago. In that post, I cited all of the amazing things to do, all of the galleries, restaurants, and markets, and, more than anything, the people I’ve met and the friends that I’ve made. And I still stand by every word of that post. From Broadway Market to Saatchi Gallery, to afternoon tea and early morning raves, I’m still very much in love.

But we all know what love is like. It starts off like fireworks, all oohs and aahs, lust and passion. If we’re lucky, that feeling stays for a while. If we’re really lucky, that feeling stays forever.

I went through a rough patch with London. Like all relationships, there was bound to be a bit of a down period. Despite loving my job, it was quite stressful over the summer. My Master’s was going well, but I was losing inspiration to write. My blog was quiet. I went on one bad date after the next. I was having difficulty finding a new flat.

As they always say, however, if you can make it through the rough patch, your relationship often emerges stronger than ever. And over the past few months, things have started turning around in a big way; my job is even better and even more satisfying, I have nearly 30,000 words written of the book I’m working on (*cough* unedited words, but still *cough*), my blog is… well, okay, it’s still not quite back to normal but I’m getting there, I’m finally having fun dating, and my flat is probably the best one I’ve ever had.

But those are just the superficial things, when you think about it. They’re the external reasons why I’ve become so happy in London again recently. At the core, it goes back to something I wrote about this summer: it feels like home.

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 Beauty in the heart of the city

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My neighbourhood

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Coffee and reading in the park, a new ritual

Being an avid traveller comes with a curse: you are inflicted with undying wanderlust, with perpetually itchy feet. There is no doubt in my mind that I will continue to travel all over the world for the rest of my life; since living in London, I’ve visited Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Portugal, Poland, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, France, Italy, Spain, Canada, America, Cyprus, and Greece, with another trip to Ireland next week and a Christmas trip to Nicaragua. I’ve also seen Henley, Leeds, Newcastle, Kent, Brighton, and Eastbourne in England, with plans for more British travel soon. It’s easy and relatively cheap to travel from here, and so I never worry that settling or finding a home means I won’t be able to travel as voraciously.

And yet, at the end of every trip, I walk into my flat and let out one of those sighs I mentioned. I’ve finally found a city I love living in as much as I love being on the road, and I am so happy to feel that way, enamoured and fulfilled. It’s all of the things I mentioned before, the markets and the shops and the restaurants and the galleries and the people (oh the people) and it’s also that it’s just one of the coolest fucking cities in the world. It’s that I feel, so very much so, that I belong here. And while I may not stay in London forever (I don’t think I’d want to raise kids in the city), I do imagine staying nearby, in some way, for the rest of my life.

And so I’ve been sighing a lot. They’re sighs of love, yes, but they’re also sighs of belonging, of realising that’s it’s okay to stay in one place for a while, of temporary taming the itchy feet (at least for a few weeks at a time… I rarely last a month). London is my home, and I’m more in love with it than ever.

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Visitin East Sussex; for more shots like these, check out my Instagram

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Feeling very British at Victoria Station

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More Britishness in Spitalfields Market

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Twist on the classic fry-up

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And yes, I’ve grown to love football… Brighton, UK

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A day spent with Isabel at the Wellcome Collection

Do you have a city that you love, one you can imagine loving forever? Is there somewhere that, despite travelling, you’d like to always have ties to / call home?

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rebecca November 14, 2014 - 3:19 am

You got some great photos! I lived in London for 2 years before needing to move back to Australia due to the visa situation… I cried and cried and cried at the idea of no longer being able to call London my home. A travel lover to the core but the idea of being made to leave such a wonderful city was dam right horrible!

Although, I suspect like with your experience of bad flats and bad dates everything in the end happens for a reason, I am glad i had to leave London, now I am forced to try and live in other countries, though London, I will always have a soft spot for

Brenna Holeman November 18, 2014 - 5:47 pm

Thanks, Rebecca! I imagine that I will be a complete wreck when/if I have to leave London. I certainly won’t feel ready to leave in a year or so!

Laura November 14, 2014 - 5:10 am

I love this post, Brenna. It made me nostalgic for Australia. I felt so many of these things while I was there and definitely wasn’t ready to leave when the time finally came. I’m so happy for you that you’ve found somewhere that feels so much like home – it’s hard when travel is constantly calling for you.

Brenna Holeman November 18, 2014 - 5:46 pm

Thank you so much, Laura! I didn’t feel that for Australia when I was there, but I would like to give it another chance one day. I imagine Melbourne is a great city to live in!

Katie @ The World on my Necklace November 14, 2014 - 5:41 am

I love London and I really enjoyed the six years that I lived there but Vancouver is my soul city, despite only spending 6 months there in total. I felt that sense of belonging from the very beginning and whenever I think about it I feel a strong sense of yearning, but happiness too – just knowing it is there and that I will live there again someday.

Brenna Holeman November 19, 2014 - 1:14 am

I think that if I ever move back to Canada, I would like to live in Vancouver! It’s such a great city…

Camille November 16, 2014 - 3:47 pm

Your contentment has been apparent in many of your posts and Instagram snaps. London has that draw on people, it was easy to sense that when I’ve been there.

Greensboro, North Carolina is my current home, not even a half hour from where I grew up. Other cities that I find my mind (and my feet) wandering back to again and again are Philadelphia and Madrid. They’re so different but I’ve found a little bit of myself in each of them.

Brenna Holeman November 19, 2014 - 1:15 am

That’s so great that you have a few cities to feel that way about! I would love to visit North Carolina one day… thanks for your comment, Camille!

Anna @ shenANNAgans November 17, 2014 - 3:46 am

When I lived in London, I sadly didnt really enjoy it, I was sick a lot, cold a real lot, and working all the time. But now, I long to visit the city that knocked me about, I long to adventure to all the placed I didnt get to see because I didnt feel I could. I love that you have found a place you feel you can call home. That’s wonderful, and special too. 🙂
When I visited Boston in the US, I felt an instant connection with the city, it felt like somewhere I had always lived, it felt like I was coming home. Its on the list to make that a thing. Great post! Happy Monday and a great week ahead to you. Cheers, Anna

Brenna Holeman November 19, 2014 - 1:15 am

Thanks a lot for your comment, Anna! That’s so cool that you felt that immediately about Boston – I hope you get to live there, soon.

Alex November 17, 2014 - 11:33 am

Great post! It’s taken me 2+ years of being abroad to realize this, but the city I love/can imagine living in forever/will always refer to as home is Vancouver. I’ve now lived in both Australia and England, and while they’re both fantastic (and quite similar to Canada in a lot of ways) I don’t think I could live in either of them forever. Australia is too far from everything (especially my family) and Engand… well, I’ve yet to nail down what exactly it is that has me doubting I can stay here long term, but I just don’t see it…

I just feel like Vancouver has the best of everything (for me personally at least): it’s a pretty major city and therefore has lots of culture/museums/exhibits going on at any one time, it’s got mountains/the beach/all the outdoorsy stuff, tons of good Asian food (i.e. Japanese! Unless you’re in London, which I’m not, it’s all about Indian food – I miss sushi!) not to mention a lot of my family and friends are there. But, these are things I didn’t realize were important to me until I spent time away; I don’t know if I’d have come to this conclusion otherwise.

I’m also struggling with finding a job here in the UK. I’m in the midlands now and as there isn’t much going on here, I have been applying all over the country (which has proved a proved a very expensive process!) but to no avail. Having gone to uni in Canada, I majored in French/Political Science and focused a lot of my projects on Aboriginal affairs. French + an interest in Aboriginal issues = doesn’t really apply in the UK. Yet another reason I think I’d be better suited to Canada.

Anyway, glad you are loving London so much! I love visiting but don’t know if I could live there. I find it frustrating how long it takes to get from A to B! But, there’s no denying it’s a pretty epic place. Enjoy 🙂

Brenna Holeman November 19, 2014 - 1:17 am

Thank you so much, Alex! As I mentioned above, if I ever move back to Canada I think I will give Vancouver a shot. You’re right, it’s such a fun and exciting city, with so much to do.

I understand the frustrations you have with London / the UK. With your background, it does seem that Canada might be calling!

Alyssa November 19, 2014 - 4:32 pm

I’m really glad you’re happy in London! I just had one quick question: WHERE DID YOU GET THAT DELICIOUS LOOKING FRY-UP 🙂

Brenna Holeman November 19, 2014 - 5:27 pm

Eek… I hate to say this but… it was in Eastbourne! Not an example of London, but of England…

Rebekah November 21, 2014 - 9:26 am

Oh london, its a pretty unbeatable city. I’m glad your loving it. I can’t sit still longer then a month either 🙂

Brenna Holeman November 22, 2014 - 12:16 am

Thanks, Rebekah! You’re right, London is hard to beat…

Zalie November 22, 2014 - 4:40 pm

I am so happy that you feel that way about London. I don’t think I have ever truly felt that way about a city in my life, but fingers crossed I will soon 😉 I just wish I had an E.U. passport!

Brenna Holeman November 22, 2014 - 11:31 pm

I have a feeling you will feel that soon! And YES I wish I had an EU passport too……..

Zalie November 22, 2014 - 4:41 pm

p.s. You should make that picture of Big Ben and the underground sign the official postcard for London…seriously!!

Brenna Holeman November 22, 2014 - 11:31 pm

Ha ha – thank you!

Jessica November 29, 2014 - 8:45 pm

What a great post! Although I only lived there for a few months, London captured my heart in a way that no other city ever has, or probably ever will! It’s a city with so many layers to it: the fusion of so many cultures, the history, the people, the shopping :-)…London just has so much charm and soul to it. I feel like I’ve spent the last 10 years trying to figure out a way to get back there long-term, but until then, I just keep visiting whenever I can! Lovely blog, BTW, I am a new visitor 🙂

Brenna Holeman December 1, 2014 - 3:36 pm

Thank you so much, Jessica! I hope you’ll get to visit London again soon… and that you’ll keep visiting my blog! 🙂

Alex December 14, 2014 - 3:09 pm

I hope you don’t have to leave until you’re absolutely ready! London is one of the most captivating places I’ve ever lived in. I’ve spent years trying to figure out a way back 😉 Paris as well…that’s “The City” I loved almost in spite of myself, flaws and all. Good luck!

Brenna Holeman December 14, 2014 - 4:07 pm

Thank you so much, Alex! I have to accept that I might not be able to stay forever – visas and all that – but for now I’m just loving my life here. I hope you get back soon!

2014: A Year in Review - This Battered Suitcase December 28, 2014 - 1:28 am

[…] Why I Love London or: Why London Feels Like Home […]

On Accepting Sadness - This Battered Suitcase June 25, 2015 - 2:42 am

[…] only that, it was to learn how to be happy with being content. I’ve often written on this blog how much I love living in London, and it’s true: I love the friends I have here, the endless things to do, the feeling I get when […]

Kaley June 29, 2015 - 1:55 pm

Love this post ! I am from Toronto, spent 2 years in Sydney and just moved to London to start life here. It’s very reassuring hearing your story and how much you love London, as I am still getting to know it. Thanks for sharing, love your site !!

Brenna Holeman June 29, 2015 - 5:47 pm

Thank you very much, Kaley! I’m sure you’re going to love London as much as I do…

Mary August 12, 2015 - 6:19 pm

I just returned home from a trip to London and was feeling the post-travel blues so I Googled “what it feels like to be in London” and the third result that popped up was this post. As a regular reader of your blog I had to chuckle to myself! You say all the things I feel towards this city and can’t wait to call it my home in the next several years. It’s really the most incredible place and I love hearing storie of your life there!

Melissa Redmond December 13, 2018 - 11:07 pm

I’m an American who has had the pleasure of visiting London six times so far in my adult life. I never want to leave and I’m a little astonished how much (and wondering about the twists my life will take based on the fact that) it feels very much like it could be home.

Brenna Holeman December 14, 2018 - 11:15 pm

It certainly has that effect on people! 🙂


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