London was never my favorite city. Alex and I had come here first as teenagers, visiting with our parents for a cold, rainy Christmas while I would have preferred relaxing by the beach in California.
Our parents had a special connection to London – they had both lived here when they’d first started dating back in the 70s, when my mother was a Pan Am stewardess and my father was a backpacker from New Zealand.
But I never understood why they liked the city so much. To me, it was a succession of icons I felt I’d already seen a million times – Big Ben, stone-faced Beefeaters in funny hats, and red telephone booths. London felt cliched. The major upside was that we could order pints years before we were 21. The downside was that the beer was warm.
This time I came back with a new set of eyes. Over the last few years, a lot of signs in our lives have been pointing towards London. First off, a lot of our friends have moved to London for work. Then last year we won the #mybbb contest, sponsored by London-based My Destination.
On that trip, we met Jack and Finn Harries from JacksGap (also Londoners) who introduced us to the UK YouTube scene, which we found much more vibrant and closely knit than its American equivalent. And after pitching travel-themed TV shows to Hollywood, we found that travel television was much stronger in the UK than the US.
So we planned to come to London. We spent four months in Los Angeles taking a break from our travels, re-branding our YouTube channel, building a website and planning out our trip. But we would not experience London like we had before – trapped in the tourist spots and insulated from the city by our guidebooks.
Instead, we would discover London through the locals, exploring it by neighborhoods instead of landmarks, seeking out things we loved to do back home – not what our guidebooks told us was important.
Now, after nearly three weeks in the city, we can declare our trip here a total success. We’re getting ready to release some videos that we know you’re going to love – collaborations with local YouTubers and bloggers who have helped us uncover places we never could have found on our own.
From great food to craft beer pubs, amazing street art to underground galleries, we’ve got a nice set of videos that we’re excited to share with you soon. For me, it’s been more than a trip. It’s been a revelation, a discovery of how much of London we’d missed beforehand – and how much more there is to find.
We hope you like the videos. As always, stay in touch and send us your tips for London or anywhere else we should check out.
Next stop: VidCon in Anaheim, California!