My Crazy Trip – Day 1 (The London Part)

I’m here. Cape Town is beautiful.

I left my house at 3:30 in the afternoon on Monday.  Luke took me to the airport after stopping for coffee, and I left US soil at 7 that night.

First stop… London! 

big ben underground

I landed in London 11 hours later on a very long layover – and I couldn’t wait to get out of the airport and straight into London.   I took the Heathrow Express (the world’s most expensive train ride – haha!) but I was standing in Paddington Station 20 minutes later.  And it was cold.

Somewhere along the way, I totally forgot to check London weather. 

And yes – I can hear everyone’s thoughts now.  November in London!  I know, I know.  Those thoughts sound remarkably like the voices that said London in December??? when Luke and I got married.   Public service announcement – if you’re in London anywhere in the fall/winter – it’s cold.  Consider yourself warned, and dress appropriately.  You’re welcome.  J

It had been 90+ in LA this whole time, and I knew Cape Town was going to be 75-80 while I was here.  Thankfully, I had a little light jacket tucked into my carryon suitcase, so I whipped that out in the middle of a Costa Coffee (hello, free wi-fi) and off I went.  I found an art store and bought a set of colored pencils because what adventure is really complete without the ability to draw whatever you’re seeing?   And then I went back to Paddington, got on the tube (after a slight misadventure reloading my Oyster card) and set off for Charing Cross.

And is it weird that I kept hoping David Tennant was just randomly going to be sitting on the tube next to me?  Does the Doctor take the Underground?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Charing Cross. 

Earlier this year, I wrote a feature script set in London – GLIMPSE. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever written, actually.  (Love!  Danger! Guns! Biological warfare!  An Aston Martin explodes! And did I mention London???)  The last time I was in London was 2006, so I was writing the entire thing from memory and an occasional Google Maps street view.  Trafalgar Square plays a huge part in the story – and so despite the fact that the voice in my head was screaming NOOO!!!! You’re going to miss your flight to Cape Town!!!  I made a run for it.  I popped up out of the tube station, and there – so close I could touch it – was Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery and Nelson’s Column.   My story came to life in front of me, and I spent almost an hour walking through the Square, taking pictures, meeting people and walking through nearby streets.

I live for moments like that.

And I forgot that if you stand on the National Gallery steps and look towards Nelson’s Column, you can see Big Ben.

So I was off again.

Wesminster and Big Ben

 That’s quite a long walk, actually.  But you can see the Eye on one side, and the city was just full and beautiful and bustling around me.  I took some great pictures (including one angle of Big Ben and an Underground sign together that I’d found a photo of a couple years ago.  I painted it, and it’s been hanging in our living room ever since).   The people walking all around me on the streets are this vibrant mix of everyone.  There were businessmen just exiting their offices for the day – pondering what they were going to do with their Tuesday evening.  There were friends out, heading for the pubs together.  Soccer and rugby matches were on several of the screens as I walked by.  There were girls out shopping.  Tourists out taking a gazillion photos – speaking so many different languages I couldn’t even keep up.  There’s just this spark in the city, this totally beautiful LIFE feeling there, and I can never get enough of it.


I made it back to Paddington on a different line, and I ran for the train back to Heathrow.  I knew if I missed this train, I could easily catch the next one and make it back with plenty of time, but it just seemed like so much more fun to sprint through the station.  J  So that’s exactly what I did.

 Heathrow’s all decorated for Christmas – opening scene from Love Actually, anyone? – and it’s gorgeous, of course.

 But here’s the thing about London.  I adore that city.  Luke and I have talked so many times about moving there – short term, of course – but the thought of living in that beautiful crazy city for even a few months just fills my heart with joy.  We’ve been praying for years that one of us would end up on a project in London and the other person would just get to come along.  So maybe one day… just putting it out into the world – Team Maxcy is available for any and all London-based projects!

That was the first 20 hours of my trip. 

 And then, at 9 that evening, my flight took off for Cape Town, South Africa….

 And the adventure continues….

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