Cue minor hyperventilating.
But in all seriousness, I am incredibly excited what with all my friends going into second year and me just beginning on the next big chapter of my life! I recently turned 19, and I am ready to start my new life not in America, India, Denmark or Germany, but just one hundred miles or so up north (187 to be exact). This Summer has been extraordinary (aren't they always?) so I thought I'd give a brief run down on the crazy things I've been getting up to.
To mark my going to university (and the fact that I haven't been on a family holiday in two years! Gosh!) I went with my parents off to Murren in Switzerland - absolutely my favourite place. We had just a few days of hiking, swimming, and me making a dent in my reading list and of course, sunbathing, and I came home ready to begin preparing for uni. Cue manic Ikea shop. Cutlery anyone?
This Summer has seen picnics galore, including mine and Laura's picnic and outdoor cinema experience at Hatfield Forest back in July! We saw Woman in Black and I managed not to scream too loudly...I've also been gracing London with my presence frequently, the most recently being a night out celebrating the Breakfast Club's 8th birthday in Spittalfields - a deathly combination of £1.80 glasses of wine and £2.50 cocktails made for a night of 80s discos, inflatable guitars and swapping t shirts with Some Guy. Sorry dude. June also saw my friends and I heading Norfolk-wards once more for our annual naturist camping in Weybourne. A perfect week.
Together Ben and I discovered some remarkable parts of London this summer including Rekordelig's Midsummer Birthday Party in Victoria Park with Company Magazine complete with lots of free goodies and cider cocktails, and a misinformed adventure into a strip club in London Fields hobknobbing with Made in Chelsea stars...we also discovered a Speak Easy near Liverpool Street (anyone fancy seeing the Major?) and with one of my best friends and with our boyfriends in tow, we had a remarkable night in the Fridge.
One of my highlights was a surprise that I planned for Ben's birthday including the Pompeii exhibition at the British Museum (heaven for my inner, and rather hidden, classicist), Chin Chin Labs in Camden where Nitro ice cream is on tap, and the RA Summer Exhibition feat. Tracey Emin of course. Furthermore, at the start of the Summer we took a trip to the Vauxhall Art Car Boot Fair and mingled with various artists, coming home with pieces of art (the start of my so far pathetic collecting career) and memories galore.
But the prize for the loveliest UK expedition goes to this one: a few night's camping in Fairbourne Wales and discovering the beauty of Blue Flag Beaches, as well as seeing family and discovering wild swimming in a copper slate quarry in Snowdonia. Yes, it was as magical as it sounds. If a little cold.
I really took to camping this summer due to lack of money, as our 3 nights in Wales cost us just £18 each. Do the maths.
This Summer has been truly special and while I'm sad that it's over, I am ready for my northern adventures to begin. As the summer ends, so does my Gap Year, and I can't believe that it is over. But I shan't dwell on it, just learn from it, and how unbelievable it's all been. I hope to keep travelling over the next few years intermittently in the Very Long University Summer Holidays, and maybe I will turn this space into something other than a travel blog, but only time will tell. Thank you for sticking with me and reading about my adventures over the past year - I honestly cannot believe that it's been a year since I flew to America. It feels like a lifetime ago.
I have had a truly extraordinarily year, ranging from being asked to name a baby in Northern India, to bumping into Snoop Dogg in Times Square, to being harassed by guards in Berlin, to being asked on a date in Downtown Houston, to house-sitting in -5 in Denmark. It's been a fantastic year, and it's taught me the value of so much but mostly: my family, friends, and memories.
Here's to the future, eh?