by Lori Owens
Who would have thought this pandemic would go on for this long. I remember thinking it would only be a few short weeks, maybe months. Many of us thought this and boy were we wrong. So what has been happening over the last 10 months here in London? Let’s go all the way back to February 2020.
First trip to Spain booked! After all the whole reason I had moved to the UK was to travel Europe!
My friend Emma and I spent a weekend in Madrid and it was filled with exploring, stuffing ourselves with tapas, drinking Spanish wine, exploring the artistic streets of La Latina and taking in the views of El Retiro Park. I like to call this kind of trip The Wanderlush Weekend Warrior. One of the perks to living in London is how easily accessible European travel is.
The first weekend of March began with another Wanderlush Weekend Warrior as I jet setted off to Rome to be reunited with my fellow blogger friend Explore With Lora. We had this trip booked before the pandemic had become a worry around the globe and as the time came closer to, I had considered cancelling the trip as cases were taking off in Northern Italy. The day before leaving for Rome, I lost my job. Not ideal at the start of a pandemic.
Rome was the perfect escape to take my mind off the situation and instead loose myself in Italian pizza, wine and pasta.
Rome was such an experience! The early stage affects of the pandemic couldn’t overly be felt the first few days of the trip. Other than the lack of people and minimal lines, things felt somewhat normal as we wandered through the ancient streets, visited the colosseum and the Vatican. Hello no lines!
We got to explore the city with an amazing bicycle tour. Let me tell you, if you plan to visit Rome, a bicycle tour is the way to go!
Come the Sunday of that weekend trip, the pandemic effects turned reality as all the museums and theatres closed. That was the day I left and headed back to London. The next day Italy went into lockdown. Check out Lora’s blog post on her experience being in the country when that happened.
Back in London, I had some potential interviews set-up and calls with recruiters for various event roles. I was feeling optimistic and thinking maybe it was a blessing in disguise to have been let go from my job.
A week later everything changed. England announced a lockdown and all potential hope of a job vanished before my eyes just like that.
I panicked. I was jobless, living in another country and in a lockdown. What to do?
Moving back to Canada was not something I wanted to do and was determined to find a way to make it work. I’d waited and saved for an entire year to move here. I wasn’t ready to go home now.
I took to the old fashioned approach of applying for jobs. CV in hand, I made my way around Wimbledon to the local grocery stores praying someone would hire me. The universe listened and luckily enough I landed a job at the shop nearby in the bakery!
Event planner turned baker. I’ve had a lot of roles in life.
To top off the month of March, COVID then decided to pay me a nice little visit and I was bed ridden for quite a few days. The virus does effect everyone differently and although I wasn’t to the point of needing to go to the hospital, it was still pretty brutal. Awful headache, body pains everywhere and extreme hot and cold spells.
This month still in lockdown involved a lot of house nights, weekend BBQs and a slower pace of life. Mornings in the bakery and afternoons exploring the wooded Wimbledon Common nearby. Spending time in nature was therapy. It’s incredibly easy to lose yourself among the beautiful trees and trails of the woods.
April was also a month of growth and change. I had been seeing someone for a few months and the time came to part ways. Not an easy decision to make at the time but sometimes in order to grow and evolve we need to make uncomfortable changes.
May and June
Besides a cancelled trip to Spain, May was great as it brought on warmer weather and outdoor park hangs with friends. It was the sunniest month on record in years apparently here in London. If you know typical UK weather, then you will know a month of sun was nothing shy of was amazing!
Lockdown didn’t seem so bad as it forced many to get outside and really enjoy nature.
June I turned 34 and joined the lockdown birthday alumni. Thanks to my housemates for making it special with Mexican food, mimosas and brunch!
That same weekend the Wimbledon Walking group was formed where a bunch of us local gals met up with the same goal of meeting new friends in the area. We spent weekends walking the Common and having picnics.
At this time, I decided I wanted to take some courses to improve my skills during lockdown as it didn’t seem like the events industry would be picking up anytime soon. I stumbled upon some life changing courses that teach you tech skills, design skills and how to go about starting your own business. This was game changing for me and I was so excited to dive in. More on this later!
Bring on Summer! This was the first time venturing out of London in months. A much needed girls weekend to the beach in Margate. The first day the sun shone brilliantly as we soaked in the rays. The next day it rained of course. You can never count on UK weather 😉 If you are aware of Wetherspoons here in the UK, you are very familiar with its popularity for cheap food and drinks. After wining and dining three times there that weekend. I can safely say I have been sworn off Wetherspoons ever since.
July also marked the start of a small nannying job I took on for one month which rolled into August. The extra cash came in handy for an upcoming trip to Mallorca which turned into Wales as the travel bridge between the UK and Spain closed and a two week quarantine was out of the question.
August continued with mornings in the the bakery, nannying in the afternoons and studying in the evenings.
Since many travel bridges were closed, it gave the perfect opportunity to explore locally. Cambridge had always been a place I was intrigued to visit and it did not disappoint. A trip to Cambridge is not complete without punting and Prosecco of course!
With Mallorca out of the question as mentioned above, Wales proved to be the perfect back-up trip. And what better way to explore than with a road trip!
The adventure started with a bus ride to Bristol where my friend Emma and I spent one night exploring the city. The next day we picked up the rental car the before venturing off to Cardiff.
From Cardiff we drove to the Breccon Beacons for some hiking and beautiful Welsh nature. If you haven’t been to Wales, add it to your list. It was more beautiful than I expected with gorgeous mountain views, waterfalls and beaches than went on for miles. Just watch out for the sheep and don’t let the weather deter you. Our day at the beach was a wet, cold one but the news did not disappoint.
Blog post on Wales road trip will be coming soon!
September was off to a great start after just getting back from an amazing trip to Wales. This month involved more studying and really focusing on the journey of starting a business and what it was going to be about. Wanderlush Media was born and I landed a client! So I thought. I was completely elated and then hit a low after the client cancelled due to personal reasons.
What tasted like the start of a dream solo business venture seemed to go sour quickly. I’d been so motivated and then after that news felt defeated. Landing a first client is the hardest part.
After some thought processing I got my groove back and knew the client cancelling had nothing to do with me and I was determined to get back out there!
October was definitely an exciting month. I booked not one, but two clients and Wanderlush Media was on its way. I officially began freelancing and those dreams seemed more real and attainable than ever before. The end of October also marked another lockdown which actually turned into a blessing as this time going into November was and had been an extremely busy time gearing up for an event with one of my clients.
Here we are at the end of November. It’s been one heck of a journey over the last 10 months with many ups and downs, contemplating life, motivation, lack of motivation and staying positive to get through a situation that has impacted the world on a global level. Something that has connected all of us in more ways that we realise. I’m positive for a hopeful future, a business venture I’ve dreamed of for so long and the opportunity to travel again hopefully sooner than later.
These experiences shape us and strengthen us. As I said before growth and change come from uncomfortable situations.
Thanks for reading and following along on this journey!
Very excited to see what the future brings.
Written by: Lori from Wanderlush Travel
IG : @wanderlush_travel