My London Tour:

Twist and Turns

Ibrahim Moshood
7 min readMar 31, 2023
Road leading up to Buckingham Palace

Excited about the prospects of ticking one more item off my bucket list — a visit to London, I couldn’t catch some sleep on the night before the trip, as I needed to set my luggage. It all happened fast and in the most unanticipated fashion. I have been nominated to represent my network — the Commonwealth Youth Climate Change Network, as a sponsored delegate to attend the Commonwealth Youth Leaders’ Summit in London, the first of its kind.

Interestingly, I had the luxury of two weeks in advance to process my UK Visa and was fortunate to get it at the eleventh hour. I had thought that I’ll be missing the first week of the summit and would perhaps join for the remainder of the summit. However, I had my first twist of fate — in this case, a positive one. I went for my habitual cycling on Friday evening, upon return, I picked up my phone to check if I had missed calls or unread emails. Alas! I had just received one of the sweetest email notifications with the subject “Your passport will be delivered tomorrow”. Immediately, I had an uplifted mood and at this point, I knew all road leads to London. My passport was going to be delivered in the morning, in advance, I had sent an email to the event organizers to update them on the current development so that they can initiate and expedite my flight booking arrangement.

Arrival at Heathrow International Airport

The Arrival

At about 7pm on Sunday evening, the cool, gentle, breeze of Heathrow International Airport welcomed me in the most gentlemanly fashion. My first challenge was getting to navigate the peculiar underground train lines — red, yellow, purple, grey. Although, I had the guidelines on transport, I was unable to totally figure it out on my first trial. I unfortunately took the wrong line and had to reroute.

It took me one week to completely master the different lines and relished the experience of changing lines from Central line to Elizabeth line, the latter undoubtedly the most beautiful and aesthetic of them all. Although, I had to pay premium for my ignorance on my first boarding, I told myself never to be bitten twice. I was not going to exhaust my meagre savings on transport in London, hence, I needed to and indeed learned fast.

Taking a pose at the Train station

The Summit

The moment for the real business finally came with over 50 Young leaders across the Commonwealth’s five regions all sharing same space at the largest conference hall in Central London — Westminster Hall. The Summit commenced on a very positive note with exchange of pleasantries and short get-together sessions needed to set the tone for the engagements and dialogues to come in the coming days and establish new bonds and friendships. This was quickly followed by an introduction to the Commonwealth Mechanism and then other agenda items followed suit.

Making a presentation during a summit session

The Summit spanned two weeks and I adjudged it to have exceeded my expectations from the planning to administration to execution. Though intensive with lots of programmes, there was an icing — Reflective session. Every morning, before commencing the day’s activity, we reflect on one of the 21 irrefutable laws of leadership by John Maxwell.

The law I resonate with the most was the “law of Navigation”

The law of navigation stresses the importance of planning ahead, remaining focused, and being in control as a leader.

“Anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course”.


I have broken lots of my personal record in my stint in London. One of them obviously was the number of beers I drank in two weeks — it’s safe to say I had more beers in two weeks than I had in two years. I literally can’t recall the number of times I had to go back to my room hand-walking, hahaha! I learned the ‘art of drinking’ and grew fond of it, in the short term.

Giving a cowboy pose at the Rave party

I could not think of a better way to unwind the day’s stress after countless rounds of engaging formal discussions, presentations and dialogue sessions. The pub was our safe haven and point of relaxation. The Irish man, the Greek man, were such bad influences, lol, and I loved every bit of the moments and perspectives shared. This episode will be incomplete if I fail to mention my Jamaican roomie and vibes master Chima, Falit, and the entire team. This team of young leaders scored distinction in socials and fun and ours was an overall masterclass.

The Cowboy and friends at the rave party, Secret brunch


The Check-In hullaballoo

As the clock ticks and dusk sets in, the adventure seems to be nearing a close, and everything suddenly seems to be moving at a 1.5x speed, there came the turn — completely against the run of play and not in tandem with the course of events.

The Check-in Counter at the Heathrow International Airport

The Summit had reached its summit and denouement. Having had one of the ‘travellers dream’ moment in the course of two weeks through sightseeing, and touring virtually all the attraction sites an parks in central London, one would’ve termed it the “Perfect Tour”, alas, life has got more interesting perks in the kitty for me — an hurdle that was completely beyond imaginations. I had booked a uber destined for Heathrow Airport for my return flight to Austria. Everything had gone smoothly and to plan up until 5pm in the evening at the airport terminal. Upon scanning my passport, there came the most shocking comment “sorry, we can’t check you in for this flight”, I was flabbergasted and at the moment was oblivious of the enormity of the situation I got myself in. It was at this point that reality dawned upon me — the doleful turn.


Having confirmed that I won’t be returning according to schedule, I know I’ve got a big problem to address. I’m not one to shy away from my problems, hence, I faced it head-on. Candidly, this issue was quite complex, far more than I could fathom. Immediately I got a hang of the enormity of the situation, I began to reach out to all that matter. I sought the attention and intervention of all necessary stakeholders. All focus and energy were now redirected to solving this imminent crisis.

My Guardian Angel

In most adventures, I figured, there’s always an element of uncertainty and here comes mine in the most inauspicious of times. Sometimes during the summit, I had the rare privilege of networking and connecting with interesting personalities. Though, I connected with a handful of high-profile personalities, I met my Guardian Angel, in person of Ms Abiola who happens to be the Adviser/Head of Africa region in the Commonwealth. She championed my quest for a solution in this inimical and hostile predicament of mine.

She was the X-factor in this adventure of mine, and I owe her all my gratitude and appreciation. Life is not always a bed of roses, neither is it a stack of thorns.

Not all battles are fought with swords.

In retrospect, reminiscing my experiences in the past month in London, I thought it all summed up to make the tale worthwhile. Two weeks turned four, a near-perfect tour turned imperfect at the 11th hour. After all, there’s an iota of perfection even in imperfections and the twists between the formal engagements during the day and informal time-outs at night, the pubs, rave parties, walk-in-the-park, selfies, bus rides, underground lines, airport moments, aha and nadir moments, friendships and uncertainties all makes sense now and elevated the experience.

Appreciate everyone who was a part of this beautiful, twisted adventure.