I was sitting on the tube a few days before heading back to my
native Australia for a brief visit, I had been in London for 9 months,
and was thinking why not just stay in my home town of Canberra. I don’t
know whether it was through excitement at seeing family and friends,
but I couldn’t come up with an answer to the question. What was more
troubling was that I couldn’t find a satisfactory answer as to what had
drawn me to London in the first place.

I returned home for a month
and found that nothing much had changed including my desire to travel
the world. Friends and family would ask what has London got that makes
you want to uproot your whole life, live in a cold, crowded country
with expensive living and less than average food. I found it difficult
to come up with an answer that would please the questioner, and usually
I went on mumbling something about life experience and great work
opportunities. The question was starting to trouble me and I spent a
great deal of the 26hr flight back to London mulling over what I had
seen and experienced of London.

It was sitting on a delayed tube
from Heathrow to Victoria that I finally came the closest to an answer
I think I will ever come. Alcoholics call it a moment of clarity and
maybe I was a little jetlagged but the answer satisfied me and I was
happy to be back in London. I shall try to quantify the conclusions I
came to here and what it boils down to is this. London is always going
to be an experience, and everybody who comes here will have a different
experience. When you think about it travelling and living abroad is all
about experience, and London has it in abundance. It is jam packed not
only with people, but with stories, cultures, careres, goals and
contradictions. If you are young, ambitious and curious London really
has so much to offer you once you arrive you’ll wonder why you didn’t
do it earlier.

An abundance of people from many different countries
converge on London everyday, and these peoples come from vastly
different worlds and bring with them many different ways of seeing the
world. London, and England for that matter isn’t big, and all these
people live, work and party in a very confined place. It means cultures
are thrown at each other, mixed together and the results are what the
travellers like to call experiences. New experiences, different
experiences. Like the Notting Hill festival which is a rap and reggae
street party celebrating Afro-Caribbean culture that takes place in one of the richest parts of London.
This event shows the roots of the modern day London and has to be seen
to be believed.

Like all big cities London has some bad points, some
would say that London is particularly laden with these, and they
probably have a point. First and foremost if you live in London you are
going to have to deal with transport and nothing will make you want to
punch a perfect stranger in the face more than a ride on a peak hour
tube. The signs in the stations that warm commuters that they will be
prosecuted if they abuse the staff are real and there for real reasons.
Using the tube will attack your senses with an array of stresses and it is
widely agreed that the tube service is one of the worst in the world.
Most people can moan endlessly about the tube and I could too, but the
simple reason for the tube being so bad, and London transport in
general, is that it is so overworked by so many people.

London is home to more than 10 million people and it is a diverse mix
of people in terms of wealth and background. This concentrated
population throws out many sub groups, stereotypes and surprises.
London is truly one of the great modern melting pots, but then it has
been for some time, and it shows. London is not only used to these
different cultures but thankfully, especially in terms of food, it has
embraced them for several generations. Whilst on food it is surprising
the quality and diversity of the food you can get, and you will never
get a better fry up than in an English pub – guaranteed. London
accepts thousands of new immigrants every year and as a result there
are small communities of many nationalities. Over time these
communities have integrated themselves with their surroundings and have
changed the face of London. For the most part these foreigners came to
England for economic reasons, to learn English and to mix with other
nationalities themselves. In the right situation it is relatively easy
to strike up a conversation and learn about worlds you may never visit
and personal histories that are completely at odds with your own.  Native
Londoners in general are a polite, reserved and well educated people.
They might seem a little difficult to get to know initially but this is
probably because they have built emotional walls against all the
possible people they could meet and befriend everyday. However, get
them to a pub and after a few drinks they will start to open up quite
quickly and reveal a surprisingly vulgar and fun side to the nations
psyche. With 9 months of the years weather being utterly miserable it
is little wonder the country has developed brilliant pubs and a vibrant
pub culture. These drinking establishments cater for all types and in
any built up area you will be unable to walk 200 metres without walking
past or inevitability into one of these pubs. After you’ve finished in
the pub you can always move onto an array of nightclubs which are
pretty good too. If you like to party hard you can bet that London will
be going long after you are passed out at home still wearing your jeans
in bed. If all this doesn’t sell London, which it should,
it is also home to some spectacular history and architecture. From
medieval castles and dungeons to still running banks that were bombed
by the luftwaffe in World War 2. London also has a thriving economy and
plenty of jobs. It is a great place to base yourself, find a job, earn
some pound and travel through Europe on breaks and holidays. For that
matter, you are also in striking distance of Africa and the middle
East.  It’s easy to see why so many people are attracted
and come to London. If you are inquisitive about the world, in your
20’s or young at heart London will have an experience for you. It might
not be the one you expected, but aren’t those the best kinds.