Six years ago I visited London in a whirlwind of tours and buses and buildings. I was dazzled by the black taxies, red buses, and gold fences. I stood in awe of the stature of Big Ben, the cycle of the Eye, and the length of The Mall. I soaked in the way everything moved in a blur of busyness. I came, I saw, and I went home thinking London was a magical place. It is a magical place.
Now, six years and eight weeks wiser, I realize the magic of this city does not lie in the machines and buildings; those are only the containers for the true heart- the people. The true magic of London is carried on those British-laced tongues which are embodied in people of all colors, sizes, and locations. I can find it in the way the lady at the Beigel Bake on Brick Lane gave me a small smile before handing me my almond bar. It makes its presence known when the child in the craft club informs me that I’m late because I arrived after he did. Even way out in Debden, I found it in the lady at church who brought me baked goods just because she’s nice. It hides in the museum curators, the street performers and even the bus drivers. The light is fading in the homeless man but the magic flickers when someone brings him a warm coffee. Every person who dwells in London for a period of time embodies a bit of the magic that beckons so many people to visit.
The thing is though that this magic is not exclusive to London. Every city has its own magic. That’s why you become just a little bit more awesome of a person when you travel- part of that magic seeps into your skin and mixes with the magic of everywhere else you’ve been and creates you as a whole. So whether you go to another country for ten weeks like I did or you travel to the town two hours from your house, embrace the magic of every place and allow it to seep through your skin and inhabit your soul.