I remember the day I fell in love with Bristol.
I was 17 and my dad and I had flown down for the day to scope out the city and the University. We found ourselves wandering aimlessly around this brand new place; swallowed up by beautiful architecture, meandering around bustling streets filled with friendly-faced people, gazing at up at the blue sky punctuated by momuments and towers, and admiring the green, open spaces lined with students and families dining al-fresco and lapping up the sunshine.
It truly was love at first sight.
I vividly remember driving into Bristol with my dad’s tiny car packed to the rafters with everything a wide-eyed student needed (and more). With 300 miles under our belt, we drove along the Portway, underneath the beautiful Clifton Suspension Bridge, the sun casting a glorious, other-worldly light on our path. Sitting on the back seat with a big smile on my face, I shed a few tears – not from nerves or fear, but because I knew that this moment marked the start of a new chapter that would play a huge part in my life; the first blank page in a sketchbook just waiting to be lovingly filled. And what a chapter it was.
I can confidently say that moving to Bristol made me the person that I am today. I relished the freedom that came with a new city, new friends, new ideas, new opportunities, and new places to explore.I treasured studying the subject I loved in such inspiring surroundings; discussing morality with like-minded people, and debating late into the night across pub tables with those not so like-minded (ah, the beauty of philosophy).
I happily fell into the career I now cherish,and found wonderful, kind and generous friends, mentors and role-models along the way. You know who you are, but I hope you also know how grateful I am to you for helping me get to where I am today – and for making it so much fun.
It truly was an honour to grow, learn, laugh and frolic in such a vibrant place. From admiring how the other half live in picturesque Clifton village, to throwing myself into the delightfully urban and unorthodox Stokes Croft. From summer walks and fabulous foodie festivals at the harbourside, to hazy nights of overconsumption and getting to know the owners of local takeaways – it’s a place I know I’m going to miss dearly.
But, after almost 6 wonderful, life-changing years, my love affair with Bristol is going long-distance as I start a new year, new job, and new chapter of my life in London. I take with me – along with two van-loads of stuff – a wealth of happy memories and a strong sense of self.
As I write this from my lovely new flat, surrounded by unpacked boxes and a city I haven’t even begun to explore, I find myself smiling that same smile as the day I drove under the Suspension Bridge. Though this time I’m a little more nervous, I know at the heart of it that smile springs from a renewed optimism and excitement at the adventures to come with friends old and new. Oh, and some of the best cake in the UK, of course!
I can’t wait.