Exploring London Sans-Technology

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So I woke up one Thursday morning off (during the school holidays) feeling uneasy from the dream/nightmare I had about a bizarre twist on The Rise of The Machines. Yes, I sat through the last half hour of a Terminator 3 re-run the previous night because the remote slipped out of my hands and slid out of my reach, this after I’d just settled in to a warm spot on the couch. I was not about to leave the refuge of by blanket anytime soon…

londonAnyway, that post-nightmare uneasiness (why is it called a nightmare when it happens in the morning, right before you wake up?) had me thinking twice about reaching for my phone, which is usually the first thing everyone does, I guess. Little did I know that this little act of momentary digital abstinence would give birth to a brand new travel and exploration tradition, just in time for my resolution to explore a lot more of this city I moved to a little while ago now.

As a Merseysider now established in London, I still use my computer to get an idea of where I’m going and then use my phone while travelling around to make sure I’m on the right path. Early-morning digital abstinence turned into a full-on digital detox on this particular day however, as I found myself disconnecting from digital devices completely. I had just one of few more days to kill and went about exploring London without reading any tour guides or checking online for any of the events which are normally right up my alley. I was looking forward to exploring a different sort of alley (a hidden back-alley pub in Soho) I’d heard quite bit about, but never even got round to it because of how events unfolded. digital

Exploring London without the use of technology took a rather ironic twist – I mean sure, the modern-day Soho isn’t the vice-central it used to be, but I really wanted to check out its current state, which I suspect is a good mix between its old vice-roots and new, family-friendlier allure. What happened was I ended up walking further and longer than I’ve probably walked at any one time in my life, but I also uncovered some sweet, sweet spots which London has to offer the tourist. For one, I wandered into Saint Paul’s Cathedral via what turned out to have been the “wrong entrance,” and so I bumped into one of the caretakers who as it turns out doubles up as a willing and free tour guide. I soon found myself getting a very interesting free history lesson about a flight of stairs we were standing on which looked very familiar to me, until it was confirmed that it was the scene of some Harry Potter footage as well as the first Sherlock Holmes film.

Although I’d still not made it to Soho yet, my tech-less travels through London opened my eyes up to a whole other world of hidden tourist gems, many of which are totally free to enjoy, like Postman’s Park and Saint Bartholomew the Great, the oldest standing church in London. I’m pretty sure there’s a whole lot more to see…

My new tradition? – Switching off all digital devices and exploring the town the old-fashioned way, without technology!

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