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Only the good stuff

November 16, 2011

A few photos from a recent roll of film.

. . . . . .

It’s 12:30am and I’m sitting in the middle of my flat, surrounded by piles of things. The movers arrive tomorrow at 9am to pack up my stuff and take it away. And I need to pack everything I’ll need for the next 6 weeks into a couple of bags. Things are a complete mess. I’ve had to work some incredibly long hours lately and I haven’t had time for much of a goodbye here in London, and I certainly haven’t been able to think about the upcoming transition.

I keep thinking to myself, “this is not how I wanted to leave London.”

But I have so many good memories here, in this flat and in this city with new friends and with old friends who visited me, in restaurants and pubs and parks and walking around.

This may not be the way I wanted to leave London, but what can you do? I’ll get over it. And I’ll remember London just as it’s pictured above – surrounded by friends, gathered around a table, drinking a glass of wine, out for a walk, over a coffee, laughing, planning, plotting, enjoying.

  1. November 16, 2011 12:54 am

    They are so evocative of time and place. When the dust settles, the photos will pull you back there when you need it.

  2. November 16, 2011 1:26 am

    I adore the title of this post. I love the way you show us such beauty with the caveat that you are trying and sometimes struggling…cause that’s life. Nice one. Safe journey. x

  3. November 16, 2011 1:31 am

    I lived in London for 18 months, and fell deeply in love with it. Luckily, I met an English boy while I was there, and we’ve now been married for 9 years.

    In the time you have left, see if you can fall in love with an English lass. Then you’ll *have* to come back. :)


  4. November 16, 2011 1:36 am

    Oh! Good luck with the transition home. I’ve enjoyed following your UK adventures. Just got your book in the mail – love having some of your photos around.

  5. November 16, 2011 1:37 am

    Such a wonderful post. I swear I live vicariously through your photos since my life as a college student is comparatively so sad and pitiful and boring!

  6. November 16, 2011 2:00 am

    these are just beautiful. the building set against the ivy…stunning.

  7. sueysong permalink
    November 16, 2011 2:10 am

    Super. The way it is. You just let London say goodbye to you; not the other way around. And the great pictures remain…

  8. November 16, 2011 2:20 am

    London is too much a part of you now for you to say goodbye. It’s more of a “until we meet again…” because those memories of your flat or your fav pub will spring to mind when you least expect it, like a good friend. London is like that. I used to live in London years ago, but it still feels like home. Good luck with the move across the pond!

  9. November 16, 2011 3:17 am

    And London will remember you Brian! I have no doubt that you’ll return now and again – and when you do, she’ll welcome you back, an old friend missed but never forgotten.

    Safe journey!

  10. November 16, 2011 3:58 am

    I cannot believe how fast the two years flew by. beautifully documented.

  11. November 16, 2011 4:48 am

    it never ends the way you plan, but it’s all good anyway. happy lasts, bf.

  12. November 16, 2011 5:24 am


    I’m going to miss seeing my home through your eyes. It was so comforting. Hope you have a safe move!


  13. November 16, 2011 6:22 am

    I love your reflective posts. You manage to say so much with just the right amount of words. I hope this doesn’t sound strange, but I think some of us who have loved your work for a while will also feel sad at the end of this stage of your journey. I think I started following you just as you moved to London. I am however, very excited to see you sharing your perspective of life back home again. I wonder if you will notice different things this time round? Have a safe trip home.

  14. November 16, 2011 7:33 am

    it is so hard to leave places the way you want. too much to do, too little time. but you can always go back to visit, then you get another chance to leave it, with less stress :)

    and – is that perhaps tosca cake in the the last two photographs? it is my swedish favourite ♥

  15. November 16, 2011 7:44 am

    it has been an honour to share some of those meals with you, bf. here’s to many more!

  16. November 16, 2011 7:51 am

    These photos are beautiful. They always remind me of my jaunts in the UK (I’ll actually be in Edinburgh next weekend!)

    But I can completely empathize with how you’re feeling. I’ve been living in Brussels for the last three years and am getting ready to make my transition back to the US in April. It’s all so incredibly exciting and unreal at the same time. I have moments where I’m so very excited to be back in America, and then there are those crystalline, perfect moments here that catch my breath and make me go “am I sure I want to do this?”

    I know I’m going to be an absolute mess and also surrounded by a pile of boxes the night before moving back. It will be tough, but then again, I’d much rather have this sort of toughness. It makes the last three years worth it.

  17. November 16, 2011 10:04 am

    It only feels like yesterday when you were setting off to London. Time Flies, Time Heals and Time waits for nobody. Enjoy moments and memories, All the Very Best, Dawn x
    ps. your book arrived and both my husband and I are finding it hard to put it down x

  18. November 16, 2011 10:19 am

    WIshing you safe travels, I’ve loved watching your journey here in my city, can’t wait to see where the next adventure takes you. x.
    p.s I bet you don’t miss the weather….

  19. nileta permalink
    November 16, 2011 10:59 am

    oh, how i love the ivy! best facade a wall can ever get! once more, congratulations for your amazing pictures and talent.

  20. hannah permalink
    November 16, 2011 11:22 am

    hi brian, i hope you have a good move and feel better soon! your pictures make me feel so at home

  21. November 16, 2011 1:31 pm

    we are going through a move soon also so i relate to your sentiments. it’s all so clean and tidy in our minds but the reality is moving is always a bit chaotic and messy. maybe that’s just how it’s supposed to be … good luck, you have so many memories to take with you. i’ve enjoyed seeing london and your travels through your eyes and lense. on to new views with the past now a part of them…

  22. Jolayne permalink
    November 16, 2011 3:12 pm

    i know the feeling… for me the biggest and best moment has always been when that plane takes off… all that was and all that is to come collide for a brief moment of bitter-sweetness (that moment could last an hour or two depending on how tired or overwhelmed you are)… followed by relief, the kind one can only get when they know they are going “home”

    (damn… can’t believe two years have past since that flickr blast of photos wishing you well on your adventure)


  23. November 16, 2011 4:10 pm

    I can’t imagine what you must be going through. I just returned after a 7-week visit and that was even difficult. London is such a wonderful place, but since you live in NY it isn’t very far away and you can get back…..easier than me as I live in Oregon. Hope your move goes smoothly. I lived out of one suitcase and a camera bag for my 7 weeks trip so I know you can do it. Have a safe journey home.

  24. Julie permalink
    November 16, 2011 5:13 pm

    All things go.

  25. November 16, 2011 5:23 pm

    I’ve only just joined the gang of well wishers, not having ‘known’ you until a few weeks ago (via some link on Flickr…. where I thread my way through from time to time) – but I was instantly drawn to those photos here.
    To me it seems as an awful lot of wine drinking and cake eating had been going on during the two years of your stay in London…. :)
    I stayed in Devon for over eight years, returned to Switzerland for 2 1/2 yrs and live now in the greater Paris region for well over 3 1/2 years already…. Every time I moved (always with Hero Husband mind you, so no boy needed to hold me back anywhere), a bit of my heart stayed at the place I left, a few shreds of my flesh and soul stayed attached to my dear friends and it’s a total MUST to see (some of) them again and again. Gives you great excuses to return to UK often!!!!
    Go with God and be well – you are enriched beyond measures – what you experienced in UK nobody can take away and life will never be the same again! As the French say: Partir, c’est mourir un peu… rightly so.
    Kiki (Vol-au-Vent)

  26. November 16, 2011 5:27 pm

    Not London but the place that sheltered me after Katrina. I’m moving, too, back home to the place where I was born, and I’m overjoyed but also at loose ends. My current apartment is a wreck, and I even had a snafu with the movers to add to the tension. I hear you loud and clear. Will things ever be the same again? Probably not, but fuller, broader, better maybe. Best of luck Brian, and travel safely…above all else, travel safely.

  27. November 16, 2011 6:18 pm

    Change is sometimes sad, however, you have awesome photos of sweet memories. :-) I’ve certainly enjoyed your stay in London – as I said before – finding your blog is the only way I’m sure I’d ever see London. Safe, stress-free travel to you!

  28. November 16, 2011 6:31 pm

    I’m British but live in the U.S….and I’m going home tonight. To London, tonight. This post gave me goose bumps. As someone with my heart in two places, I’d just like to share that I get it. Goodbye is so hard, but hello is pretty sweet as well.

  29. November 16, 2011 8:32 pm

    oh I didn’t know you would leave london. I knew your blog when you were already there and I thought it would be forever ..
    Have a good and safe trip !!

  30. November 16, 2011 9:16 pm

    Leaving is never easy. I don’t think there’s any perfect way to do it, and it will always be sad and stressful. Trust me, I know :-)
    Good luck in your move back to New York! It’s beautiful these days and ready to welcome you with open arms!

  31. November 16, 2011 10:07 pm

    Reading this post kind of makes me sad. I really wish you a safe journey home; I loved reading your blog the past two years, but am also looking forward to your photos and thoughts from NY.

    Take care.

  32. November 17, 2011 12:15 am

    Every one of your posts is the good stuff. Best of luck with the move. You are so lucky to have documented your time away in such a personal and meaningful way. Thank you so much for sharing it with everyone. It seems my life has bee filled with transitional moments like the one you are experiencing. Just remember…Don’t cry because its over, smile because it happened.
    Safe travels.

  33. Danielle Charles permalink
    November 17, 2011 1:06 am

    This post has some particular beauty about it that I think can only come with sadness. It’s so hard to leave a place in a way that feels right – that feels like you are actually saying goodbye, having time to savor everything one last time. But like you say, you can remember it in just the right way, and I think that is what counts. And, even more importantly, you really lived when you were there (or least I am inclined to think so based on what you have so generously shared here). Best of luck with your move back across the pond.

  34. November 17, 2011 7:27 am

    “face à la peur, prendre son courage à 2 mains…”

  35. November 17, 2011 10:19 am

    london will sorely miss you. hope to see you across the pond!

  36. scx permalink
    November 17, 2011 4:54 pm

    Hi Brian, as I Londoner I often get bogged down in the day to day and forget how wonderful this city is. Your photos make me want to visit new areas, explore, watch what the light is doing and enjoy my surroundings. Thanks for some perspective and good luck with the relocation.

  37. November 17, 2011 5:50 pm

    Glasses and Cakes.

  38. November 17, 2011 9:53 pm

    Hello Brian,
    As someone said already, it is a bit sad for your followers to see you living London. I also started to check on your blog regularly since you arrived there. I will miss you London colours, and I am very curious to see what the american ones will look like ! Thank you so much for the inspiration you provided to me for the last 2 years. And if I ever leave Paris for a London week-end, I’ll surely go to the places you mentioned !

  39. November 22, 2011 12:21 pm

    Oh no! See what happens when I don’t stop by for a while…I find out you’re leaving. Damn. I feel apologetic, that I was taking you for granted, that I could keep living vicariously in London thru your lens. Rest assured I’ll be revisiting the archives to access the feelings your photos evoke. I’ve said before that when I finally make it across the pond, you’ll have been partly to thank, for making it seem all so romantic and simple and gorgeous.

    Good luck on your next venture! Maybe we can cross paths in NY for a cup of Stumptown…

  40. November 23, 2011 6:33 am

    This is a bit late, Brian, but my experience leaving a country you’ve lived in is that it’s always madness in the end. So many logistics, so many emotions, so much that you’re trying to cram in. It’s not the life you lived while you were there, it’s a super speeded up version that leaves you wrung out.

    It’s unsettling, but how could it not be? You almost have to go back as a visitor later, to be able to enjoy those things that made you love the place.

    I hope you’re finding your way through it, enjoying the moments as you can.


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