keep calm and go to london

london tower tube

The Tower of London, January 2013

Off to London in a few hours.

I travel quite a lot, considering I don’t have to for my 9-5 job. Last winter I concluded that the place I spend the most time in after my home and my workplace, is Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. Often I feel like George Clooney in that film where he’s collecting air miles… But I have a feeling I’ve written about that before, and that is not why I started this post. No, the thing I’m ruminating on this morning is how travelling too often can somewhat dampen the experience. For instance, I haven’t even packed yet. Nor have I printed any documents; passport and mobile boarding card will usually suffice. Since I’m flying with luggage this time, I know they will most likely give me a paper boarding card anyway, even if I don’t necessarily want one.

But. And there’s a big but this time around. I’m travelling with my oldest niece, something which I’m quite looking forward to. Ten years younger than me, she’s no child, but as she’s never been to London, she is fairly excited, to say the least. Because of her questions (a million, it seems), I’ve been forced to actually think about things. Plan ahead. Get that old map of mine out. Count money. Do time management exercises.

All this excitement in the air has rubbed off on me, and a tiny voice in my head woke me up early, shouting ‘iiiik, londoooon’. Thanks a lot, inner voice, I had hoped to get some extra sleep before take-off… Oh well, seems I have time for some project planning instead. Which is good since my niece is involved in one of my projects and I was thinking we’d get some work done during the flight.

Anyway. Concluding. These intoxicating weeks leading up to this day have taught me some valuable lessons. I am extremely privileged to travel so much, and I should stop disparaging it. Every time on an air plane should be this spine-tingling, as it means your point of compass is somewhere new and exciting. You’re heading for adventure or meetings with thrilling people. Or aiming for a breather somewhere calm. Or then you’re simply returning home, to your own bed, head filled with new memories. The world is so much smaller for the generations of today, compared to how it was for our grandparents. Yet culture, food, language, landscape, smells and noises still differ so much. And I hope it stays that way.

I can’t wait to see the city lights appearing around the River Thames when the flight is descending later today, hear the mumbling ‘oh sorry’s instead of all ‘perkele!’s, feel the jolly, taste the afternoon tea. I hope my niece will love London as much as the rest of our family seems to. I’m sure she does. After all…

“Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”  — Samuel Johnson

I need to pack.



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