H. M. L. Swann
Day 115: London
300 Days of Writing
Day 115 London:
I live in England but I’ve never been to London. At least, not long enough to count.
Years ago, I landed in the airport without accommodation booking and only a school sized backpack cutting into my shoulders and a money belt swinging around my neck. Weaving through the crowds, I paused at a money machine. Promptly, I shoved the few hundred dollars I had saved up for the trip.
The conversion rate fucked me over.
It was raining when I hit the streets, and my canvas backpack was soaking as I stomped up the steps of some motels that looked like you could pay by the hour. The first one gave me a rate that was outrageous for what it was, and so I trailed to the next. And the next. Soon, I started to see similar faces. The same family owned the street of run down “hotels.” I took my money, bought a train ticket, and headed to Dover.
Weeks later, after getting stuck in France, lost in Belgium, and full of German potato bread, I was back on the cliffs of Dover. The money was long gone, and my partner and I slept outside on the white cliffs. This is illegal as the cliffs are slowly eroding into the ocean, giving them their iconic bleached sides. To avoid being seen, we didn’t pitch our tent and slept under the misty skies, on the hard ground, and woke to the crying of seagulls.