They always say there is a first time for everything, and this trip was definitely full of firsts for me! Although I was not nervous in the days leading up to the trip, when I woke up the day we were supposed to leave the United States, the nerves started to rush over me. I knew plenty of people going on the trip and knew I was in good hands with everyone there, but getting to the United Kingdom from the United States was different for me, simply because I had never flown before. On top of it being my first flight, it was eight and a half hours and a red-eye, so we left at 5:00 PM our time and arrived at roughly 7:00 AM their time. However, a lot of my nerves were not from actually flying itself, but it was due to the many unknowns of never having been through the whole process before. It was getting to the airport on time with Atlanta traffic, getting my boarding pass and bags checked, getting through security after hearing so many horror stories, ultimately everything leading up to actually getting onto the plane.
Once I got there though, I felt much more relaxed, and it was actually a breeze to get through the airport and to our gate. Once we were able to get onto the plane, all my nerves quickly went away, and I was just ready to get the two weeks started! Even though it was an extremely long flight through the night, and I was not able to get any sleep, we arrived in London eager to start our day in the city. From the time we got off the plane and arrived at our hotel, we got so many stares due to our large hiking backpacks and other small bags we were carrying. We were able to explore everything you think of when you think London that first day from Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Kensington Palace, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, Piccadilly Square, London Bridge, and so much more in between. It was special to be in a place with so much rich history, and I am grateful for the opportunity I had to explore the city with people I now call friends. It was truly a long 30+ hours with no sleep, but I would do it all over again if given the chance! After learning the airport processes and having such a long flight as my first, everything after will be a breeze!