Stressing Out in London

This week has brought both adventure and calmness to my life. I spent this time reflecting on the experience I am having and thinking about how I would like to spend my final few weeks. Honestly, this week at work has been a bit mundane. I find myself repeating the same menial tasks and getting into a routine. Next week I will be rotating into a new department, which will shake up the normal flow of things in the office. I will be moving within finance from accounts payable to payroll. I am excited to see the interworking of a different department and diversify the internship experience. I want to make the most out of my job, however, I am currently feeling a bit stuck. It is hard to challenge yourself in the lowest position of authority within a company. Even though I have numerous ideas and have a drive to work, I find myself taking a backseat. This is not because I don’t care but because I don’t want to cause any offense to my superiors.

The management style at my company seems to be relatively laid back. My managers don’t seem to keep track of the work I do. Because of this, I have found self motivation to be extremely important. It is difficult to motivate myself everyday to perform work that takes very little brain power. Honestly, I do get bored throughout the day. Because of this, I am even more motivated to take advantage of the time I have outside of the office.

This weekend took me to the city of London. I have been awaiting traveling outside of Ireland for nearly a month, but the time finally came for me to use my passport again. I spent the week leading up to this trip doing rigorous research about London. I was on TripAdvisor for hours trying to find the best spots to go in London. It was a good distraction to get me through the workweek knowing that I would be going on an international adventure. However, this trip also made me a bit nervous because I would be traveling with people I never had before. I think part of this experience forces you into uncomfortable situations. It is human nature to want to stay in your comfort zone and do the things you are used to. Being in Ireland has allowed me to greatly expand my horizons in several different areas. I have always considered myself to be someone that goes with the flow of things and can face uncertainty. This trip has taught me that I actually am more of a planner and it is hard for me to have a ‘fly on the seat of your pants’ attitude.

Although London was wonderful, I was put into several stressful situations that tested my resiliency. I would say we fell into a few tourist traps that caused hours of wasted time. We thought it would be a good idea to get bus passes but it turned out to be a bit of a rip off. We spent a long time waiting at bus stops, not knowing if the bus would even reach us. I got a bit frustrated when I had to keep pulling out this huge paper map; it felt like someone had written ‘I AM A TOURIST’ on my forehead. I learned a lot through this struggle and I feel proud that I was able to handle these situations. I am grateful for the people I was traveling with; you definitely learn about a person by traveling with them.

We got to visit several attractions in London. On Saturday we visited Borough market, a huge outdoor venue with a myriad of street vendors. It was packed with people but I was able to score a delicious sandwich. After this we headed to the tower of London and tower bridge. We got some great pictures and saw some beautiful sights. This is also a great area for interesting people watching. It seems like tourists from all over the world flock to London, I found it similar to New York City. However, the issues I had in London were also similar to my dislikes of New York. London is overcrowded in popular tourist locations, as expected. It can be overwhelming to be in a crowd all day. If I ever return, I hope to find areas that are less well known and spots that I can relax and unwind. We did find a small pub called The Ship that was a good spot to break up the day.

The best part of London was taking a boat ride along the Thames and seeing the city. I was amazed by how long the urban parts stretch; it is so much bigger than Dublin! On Sunday when we were a bit worn down, this was a great relaxing activity to reset us.

When traveling, it is difficult to avoid feeling overwhelmed. I found that I held myself back from enjoying London by the stresses of navigating and wondering what the next activity was. In the future I hope to be more present in the place I am in and to try to avoid worrying.