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​​Travel Life Part Two: London Life

By Anjie Moore

MIND THE GAP! Yes, I am very mindful of the huge GAP between my last vacation(s) abroad to date! My last international trip was exactly 18 months. This is extremely unusual for me because prior to Lockdown I was building an art and travel platform. Recanting on my last international adventure,

I unintentionally but intentionally traveled every month from October 2019 until February 2020. It started in October 2019 when I went to Lagos, Nigeria. Then a brief stop in Paris, France in November 2019 and then to my former home, London, the United Kingdom for Christmas, Boxing Day, New Year, and a week afterward (filled with more shopping, of course) for the first week of 2020.

Upon returning from London in January 2020, I learned that I would be debuting my glass artwork at the Harlem fine Art Show for a week in New York City. The country was starting to lock down and it seemed like I made it home from around the world just in time. Little did I know that these travel memories would have to hold me over until possibly 2023, which would make three years since the global pandemic. Truly you never know what lies ahead!

In the UK, particularly in London, “Mind the gap” is a common term. You will hear it while entering and exiting the trains because on the train or “tube,”* there is a large space or “Gap” between the platform and the train. If you aren’t careful, you could easily trip or stumble while entering or exiting the train (or tube). Sometimes even, there is a step between the train and platform. Unfortunately, I have seen people drop personal items like phones and keys between the gap as well as misstep and fall onto the trains and crash into strangers from the platform(s). This usually happens by rushing on or dashing off the train, especially during peak times or rush hour! Seeing this was the epitome of “take your time, do it right” because one misstep and you can really hurt yourself or others!

In my previous article, “Travel Life, Part One: Thailand and Beyond,” I discussed the amazing food I experienced in London. From fine dining to fast food at Morley’s fried chicken shack, I was pleasantly surprised at the range of delicious food options I experienced in London! To date, I cannot find a Turkish restaurant that can top Likya in Golder’s Green, North London. Or a fancier, tastier Lebanese restaurant that can beat Maroush! There are a few locations for this restaurant. My favorite location was between Vere Street and Oxford Street next to House of Frasier. We had my graduation dinner at that location! While writing this, I discovered that this location was closed, probably due to the pandemic and lockdown restrictions. I really hope by the time I visit again, this location will have reopened, or at least, the other locations will still be open. Being the foodie that I am, I appreciate the array of cultures and food I experienced in London. Turkey and Lebanon are indeed two places I would love to visit one day!

In addition to the great food, shopping and nightlife are absolutely amazing in London! I would suggest not going abroad, especially to London, without bringing a few thousand $, $$$ bucks to spend. The first thing to account for is the currency exchange. From my many times to London, I saw how terrible the currency exchange rate was for my American dollars! The value of my dollar was practically cut in half in most cases! As an example, imagine arriving in London with $10.00, and once you exchange it for pounds (GBP), the value changes to $6.30! Now, try $3,000 exchanged into $1,890! The exchange rate between USD and GBP has improved a bit for Americans since 2015 (thanks to Brexit) but keep in mind that exchange rates vary and world events impact the currency. After assessing this, take into account, hotels, food, transport, and “fun stuff” that you do on vacation, PLUS emergencies! If you love clothes, shoes, and knick-knacks as I do, also account for a fee for an extra heavy suitcase once you arrive at the airport!

As mentioned, London was my second home after Chicago. In 2015, I was accepted into a Master’s program at the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), which allotted me the ex-pat life I dreamed of. There I studied African Studies, Economic Development. While there, I developed friendships and colleagues from all over the world. It was by far an experience that changed my life for the better. It was important to not only experience London in the academic arena but to also experience the city where my university was housed. My classmates and I frequented the many restaurants, museums, shows, and historical landmarks around London. In my free time, I wandered London, met people, and visited where the locals went for food and services like nail techs, hair braiders, and shopping outside of the “High Street.” One of my favorite gem restaurants is Asorock in Dalston Kingsland, East London. I always ate there for my fix of Nigerian food- especially the fresh Puff Puff (a fried pastry similar to a doughnut). In 2020, my last time being in London, I was happy to see the expansion of Asorock since the previous trip there in 2018. The expansion of your dreams and business is always inspiring to see!

London indeed is an amazing city. While there, I made lifelong friends, had experiences of growth, both mentally- by building self-awareness and sensitivity and academically- pushing myself to think and research for answers to questions presented by my professors and myself. Most importantly, however, I knew from the moment I was accepted into SOAS and landed in London that I could do great things. When road blockages appear I refuse to accept “NO” for an answer! This is why I believe perseverance can open doors that would otherwise remain closed and shut if you let it.

From this persistent mindset, I started my entrepreneurial journey after moving back to Chicago, IL. I launched an all-natural health and beauty line called DETOXX LIFE PRODUCTS (@detoxxproducts) and DETOXXED BODY (@detoxxedbody) during Covid after pivoting from art and travel blogging. I cannot wait to tell you more about it in the next installment! In the meantime, check out my website:

*The underground train network or metro is called “the tube” while the above-ground trains are called trains. There is a train line literally called “The London Overground” as in above the ground.

IG: Instagram Accounts: @heartartbyanjie @detoxxproducts @detoxxedbody

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