I had been staying with my grandmother in Mousehole, just outside of Penzance. A small fishing village, but the Penzance city centre was a short walk away, and I went there often.
Life was good. I was seeing a lot of the Cornish landscape, and getting familiar with the lifestyle. I was invited to stay with various family members , and eventually went to stay with one of my uncles near Plymouth. He lived with his partner in a lovely little cottage some distance from the city centre. He was rather encouraging and introduced me to a theatrical group in the city, and took me to see some productions.
Then he confided in me that my grandmother was feeling a little stressed about my staying with her. I felt bad about this and debated what I could do. My uncle convinced me that I should go to London, find a place to reside, while I followed through with my application to RADA. It made a sort of sense, but I was uncertain of something, and couldn’t put my finger on it. Next thing I know, I’m packed and heading off to London, even before I had a chance to see anyone else. Even now, it seemed all a little rushed.
I was alone, and in the belief that I shouldn’t call on anyone for help. I can’t recall if I or my uncle had arranged for a hotel for the night, but after that, I had to find a place to reside. I was fortunate enough to find a place at a boarding house in the Aussie section of London. Yet I was out of my depth. I was confused, and felt incredible alone, regardless of the new friends I was making, and I was running out of money. Finding a job in London was more daunting than Penzance, where I had had a possible opportunity on the horizon.
Maybe my situation tainted my experiences somewhat, but I found London dark, and unfriendly. I didn’t seem to notice the grand architecture and monuments that dotted the city. I was consumed by my own dark thoughts of failure, fear, loss, and isolation. I became constantly panicked. I felt frustrated and constantly blamed myself for expecting to much, dreaming to high, and so on
It didn’t take long for me to make the decision to return home, tail between my legs. Even with some of my new-found friends giving me encouragement to stay, my resolve was total.
Now here is the interesting thing. As soon as I made that decision, I began to see London in a different light. I noticed the grandeur of the place, and for a day or two, I enjoyed being a tourist in London. I hadn’t even bought my ticket home, but my outlook was different. I still felt sad and disappointed that things had not worked out. I wrote to RADA and apologised for possibly wasting their time, and asked to be withdrawn. I later got a very nice letter, and offer of encouragement later.
I managed to get an incredibly cheap flight home (I think the travel agent liked me) and was soon home in Perth.
I then learnt the truth, which was stranger than fiction.