London to Niagara-on-the-Lake… “Life is a journey, not a destination” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

My journey from London to Niagara-on-the-Lake (Ontario, Canada) was an eventful one, to say the least… but as the wise, Ralph Waldo Emerson once said…

"Life is a journey, not a destination"


This morning, I woke up to my alarm clock at 8am… contrary to the usual groans and numerous snooze alarms you may hear from outside my bedroom on any normal day – today, I woke up, in the unfamiliar surroundings of my brothers spare room, in London, with an excited spring in my step.  My brother brought me a cup of tea, in bed, to say goodbye before he set off for work, and I hopped out of bed and threw on my running gear – today was the day I set off on my trip to New York City and Niagara Falls!!

Psycho Runner…

Stretching SelfieWhere it’d normally take me a good few hours to motivate myself to even move from the comfortable, warm spot I’d conjured, in bed, overnight – by 9am, this morning, I’d already set off on my 4mile marathon training run.

Just a few hundred meters from my brothers flat, in the Hammersmith area of London, runs the River Thames – as I set off for the closest bridge stretching across the river, I took in the sights and sounds of the end of London rush hour!!  Once I reached the opposite side of the bridge, I took the cycle path, alongside the river, to the next bridge around 2miles further upstream.  I watched numerous groups of rowers, rowing in unison… passed by a number of other joggers, cyclists and dog walkers coming towards me from the opposite direction… and dodged puddles (in my mind) like a ninja.

It wasn’t until half way through the first 2mile stretch, when I started consciously attempting to smile/say hello to people passing by, that I realised people, here, aren’t half as friendly as the “country folk” I tend to meet on my jogs back at home – everyone, in London seemed to, literally, avoid looking me in the eye… to the extend that they’d, physically, move their heads in the opposite direction as I ran past!!! I started to feel frustrated at all these people for their apparent unfriendliness and lack of community spirit, then a little self conscious that they were avoiding looking at me because I had a large unsightly growth coming out of my face that they felt awkward looking at – until, I felt my face for anything out of the ordinary and, not feeling anything, thus, came to the conclusion that they were probably just all “up in their heads” with the everyday worries city people tend to face.

So, I continued with my run, jogged across the next bridge and back onto the cycle path on my brothers side of the river, heading back ‘home’.  If I noticed anyone who wasn’t avoiding looking at me I’d make a point of smiling at them, and maybe even saying “hello”!!  …I’d like to think I was a revolutionary in the London way of life… although, in reality, people probably just thought I was a genuinely crazed psychopath

Getting Ready

On my return from my run, I ate breakfast, quickly showered and carefully packed everything, once again, into my suitcase… my numerous pairs of boots/shoes at the bottom, 5 different hats in one corner, the odd pair of pants, some running gear and 2skirts neatly laid on top so as to avoid getting any creases…! 😛

The excitement was bubbling up inside as I said goodbye to Alice (my brothers girlfriend who works from home) at around 11am and stepped out into the Autumn air, Oyster card in hand, ready to make my way up to the Hammersmith tube station to catch the Piccadilly line all the way to Heathrow airport with plenty of time to spare to get through security etc at the airport.

Heathrow to JFK

Manhattan and the Hudson River from the air!!As I arrived in my terminal, I checked into my flight, handed my luggage to one of the ladies at the desk, and went through passport control… on the other side, I got myself some lunch and happened to find a piano with “play me” written (in many different languages across the front) – of course, I had to spend 5 minutes playing the piano before proceeding through security!!

Once on the flight, I settled in – got myself snuggled in my blanket and started reading my book on my kindle app until the in-flight entertainment system came on.  I capitalised (as is customary for me) on the movies, as well as the free alcohol 😉 and watched the Age of Adeline, Nightingale, Ted 2 and Paper Towns all in succession!! Before I knew it, we were arriving in New York City, half an hour early, and I was getting ready to jump off my flight, collect my luggage, go through security and passport control again, run to the next terminal, and do it all again in time to catch my next flight from JFK to Buffalo.


Getting to Buffalo

I got through security, at JFK, in record time – despite having to queue up twice, having not been given a vital form on the airplane (maybe I’d fallen asleep at the wrong time?) – and went straight to my luggage carousel.  As I waited patiently for my bag to arrive, watching so many others disappear off to begin their holidays, I began to panic about whether my bag was on its way… during this time, I had a phone call off my parents (we’d flown in on separate flights – because I’d already booked my holiday, but they, later, decided they wanted to join me to support me in running my first marathon in NYC)… they told me their flight to Buffalo had been cancelled due to bad weather – our initial plan of them meeting me with the hire car at Buffalo airport had been foiled… time to think up a new plan for getting to Buffalo…!!  My mum told me to collect my bags and head to my next terminal just to see if my flight was still on schedule.

15 minutes of waiting at the luggage carousel, and my hope finally paid off… my grey suitcase slowly came down the slide and along the carousel towards me.  I picked it up and made my way, past the final few people, probably also concerned for their bags, jumped on the AirTrain and head towards my next terminal… there, I met dad who turned me straight back around and told me we were driving up to Buffalo – he was hoping I was still wide awake so we could share the loooooong drive ahead!!  :/

I’m from England… I’ve never driven on the wrong side of the road before – so dad managed to get us out of New York City and onto the nice, easy highways… we stopped for a late tea a good few miles outside the Bronx then swapped drivers.  The weather was horrendous – I could barely see 20m in front of me at times and, without ‘cat’s eyes’ (reflectors) on the roads, the glare from the headlights made it impossible to see the lane markings!!  Mix this with the CRAZY big trucks they have out in America(of which I felt terrified the drivers were going to ram me off the road), and this made for a pretty exhausting, 4 hour drive, before I gave up from fatigue and let dad take over again for the final few hours.

I tried my best to get a bit of rest in the back and, after one or two more toilet/coffee breaks, we finally arrived at the Canadian border – and, soon after, at our hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake.  It must’ve been around 5am – and jumping onto the bed was just the best feeling!! 🙂


…So, let the holidays begin!!! 😀


Have you ever taken the drive from New York to Buffalo?  Or are you planning on doing it in the near future?  Can you recommend any stop-offs to take on the way, if the weather’s nice?  Please feel free to comment below! 🙂



Love, Magic and Fairy Dust 😉


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26 thoughts on “London to Niagara-on-the-Lake… “Life is a journey, not a destination” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

  1. I love how you say to boycott societal dreams for your own!

    How great is it to wake up and live the life you are?
    I bet awesome!!

    I have driven from NYC to Buffalo and it was amazing. Especially in the fall season!

    Where are you planning on going next? Please share and keep on keeping on! you are an inspiration.

    • Aww, thank you so much! 🙂 that’s really put a smile on my face, as that’s precisely my aim with this site!!

      Unfortunately, the weather was horrible when we drove, so we didn’t get to see much along the way!! But I’m sure i’ll be back at some point !!

      Next, I’m looking into Amsterdam or Iceland… I best start saving!!!! 😛

      Thank you for commenting!!

  2. Wow, you missed all of the beauty of New York. You went past all of the finger lakes as you drove on the Thruway. I think my favorite spots are the gorges around Seneca Lake and Watkins Glen is well worth seeing if you are in this area.

    I, of course, live within 2 miles of where you were as you passed the cutoff to Rochester. You didn’t mention why the flight to Buffalo was canceled. That usually happens in the Winter, but fall should be the less virulent weather.

    There is much to be seen on the trip you took if you slow down and look.

    • Ahhh, Craig!! I’m gutted!! But not to worry – I absolutely loved NYC, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be back out there at some point – and then I can make more of an effort to see all the wonderful places you speak of!! 🙂
      When I went this time it was very late and, thus, dark – so even if the weather wasn’t as terrible as it was, we still probably wouldn’t have seen much!!
      The flight was cancelled due to bad weather… I think it was the backlash of the recent hurricane Patricia that hit Mexico, causing bad storms further up north too.
      Thank you very much for taking the time to comment though – hopefully some of my readers will find all this information useful too!! 😀

  3. I’m hoping to do this drive over Thanksgiving week (next week)! -So it was nice to read about your journey and how it went. I’m currently in Jersey so it’s not going to be a terribly long drive. Though I’ve heard that Niagara is a lot more impressive from the Canadian side than the Buffalo side (so says a good mate of mine whose been on the Canadian side) but nonetheless, your write-up has made me look forward to it even more! Cheers

    • Ahh, nice.. Be sure to read some of the other comments in the thread then.. You might get some useful ideas of other places to visit on the way! 🙂
      The horseshoe falls is definitely more impressive from the Canadian side, but I also enjoyed seeing the American falls from the park on the Buffalo side too 🙂 (Although theres currently work being done on the Buffalo side once you get closer to the horseshoe falls, so you cant get very close to that one at the moment… Im sure it will be a pretty anazing view once the work is completed though!!)
      I hope you have an amazing time!! 🙂

  4. Oh yes life is a journey not a destination! I love how you started out your morning. I would’ve probably been too lazy to fist run a couple of miles on the day I must get on a plane. I think I should try it, I can just imagine that It would feel quite refreshing.

    I have not been to Canada or New York yet but man would I love to see Time square in live and living color. Better believe I will soon!

    Traveling is awesome enjoy it

    • I was training for the new York marathon, so the run had to be done!!! 😛 I do think it was good though… I tend to get very restless sitting in one place for a long period (i.e. on the flight and car journey) so I think it was good to exert a fair bit of my energy before starting on the journey!! 🙂
      Times square is incredible… there are some places you have expectations of before you get there, some end up being better and some worse… times square, for me, was just comforting because, although id never been, it felt familiar, having seen it in so many films/TV series!! What a place!!
      Let us know how you get on when you do go!! 🙂

  5. Hi Zoe
    Thanks for the reply. I can understand what you mean when saying it looked familiar because of seeing it in so many movies. I sure will let you know.

    All the best and take care

  6. Wow! Wow wow wow! I am in awe of you! how awesome!! oh my gosh! I seriously at a loss for word right now hah! That never happens! This is so inspirational and such a beautiful, relate-able story! You make me want to go hiking (I don’t run) thank you for sharing!

    • Haha! Thank you yogi! There’ll be more to come in the next few days if you’re interested!.. . It’s more likely to be exciting holiday antics and sightseeing trips-probably more fun stuff than just travelling to the destinations!

      Thank you for commenting!

  7. I really enjoyed reading your post and totally agree that Life is a Journey and not a Destination. Your early morning jog prior to boarding your flight put a smile to m face – I would have opted for a lazy morning, early arrival at the airport for some duty free shopping …..I have driven various routes in the States and in Canada but not the New York to Buffalo Route. Yes the shiny big trucks are somewhat intimidating at times.
    Please do share your experience of hotels and coffee break stops if you can. It will come in handy next time we’re visiting the area.

    • Haha, I’m glad it made you smile!! 😛 The duty free shopping is always good though – and I even managed to get a bit of that done too!! 🙂

      There will certainly be more blog posts/info posts up from the trip – keep coming back and checking out the website over the coming weeks!! 🙂

      Thank you for commenting!!


  8. Hi Zoe,

    Love your blog title..

    Conformance and being a boring drone marching to societies mundane beat… PASS!

    Sounds like you had a pretty epic trip, that’s funny about how you were saying hello and people looked away like that. I can relate to this at times, half the people I say hello to in passing respond well, while half seem to be a bit like those you described.. lol! I guess that’s just life and it’s best to not take it personally, just keep being you.

    Sounds like a fun trip, I’ve never been to London or the US but one day soon I will be. I’m from Australia, awesome beaches and outdoor lifestyle here. Personally Canada is my ultimate destination, I really want to go snowboarding and see all there is to see.

    Awesome post thanks for sharing 🙂


    • Thank you Tim!! I know, right?? Gotta create your own way that fits with your own heart!! 🙂

      Haha, very true… I think people living in the countryside are generally just more relaxed and chilled out with less work stresses, huh? 🙂

      Where in Australia are you from? I was over there, exploring, about 18months ago!! The beaches truly are incredible!!


    • Thank you David!! 🙂 I’m glad it shows through in my writing!! Running seems to have become a form of meditation to me throughout my training! haha 🙂

  9. I love what you had to say about jogging and no one looked at you. I come from CO and I swear it seems like everyone you pass on hiking or walking trails has to smile and say hi to you. It is almost offensive if people don’t do it. Then I went to NM this summer and took a walk along one of their scenic river trails and was shocked that no one said hi, made eye contact, or even just acted pleasant. They all turned their heads away from me too! It was quite shocking. Its nice to know I am not the only one who notices it when people in a new place are not as friendly as they are back home.

    • It’s crazy isn’t it Jessica!! It sounds like your home town is very similar to mine!! 🙂

      Thank you for commenting!!

  10. Zoe,

    What an exciting trip! I am sure that the people you encountered on your morning jog were not all rude; they probably could not share your enthusiasm that hour of the morning 🙂

    I so admire your passion for running as running is invigorating and once finished a course, satisfying. Your descriptive prose made me feel as though I was experiencing your activity in anticipation of the days ahead.

    Continue your life’s journey. Your writing was an enjoyable read.

    All the best,

    • Thank you Della!! I’m sure you’re right about the people I met along the way!! 🙂
      I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed the post and felt like you were alongside me in the journey!!
      Thanks again for commenting!

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