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Devon Howes on her Spare Room Experience

Devon Howes on her Spare Room Project experience

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Written by Devon Howes on Tuesday 31 July 2018.

Pulling into Euston Station on a mild June day I was met with the sudden realisation that I was alone. I have family friends who live in London, but none close enough to me personally for me to take up residence on their couch for two weeks. So, I contacted James from the Spare Room Project to help me find a room.

I was interning at Penguin Random House, doing Children’s Marketing and Publicity. My goal was to discover whether a job within the publishing industry was something I would be interested in. James managed to find a host for my first week who just so happened to work in the same office I was interning at; this really opened up the opportunity to ask more about the company and my host’s career in an informal setting, plus meant that I had a familiar face around work.

I’ve never travelled solo before this, so I was quite nervous to enter a city I hadn’t visited for four years. Having arranged a time for which I could go to my host’s house calmed my nerves because it meant that I had someone to meet on my first day and wasn’t left wandering around aimlessly in a strange and busy environment.

My host was helpful and provided a double bed in his spare room, which was very comfortable. He was also quiet, like me. This worked well as I was able to keep to myself—I liked to wind down by watching Netflix on the nights I wasn’t exploring the city, and he left me to it.

Furthermore, my accommodation was only a 25-minute walk to the office. This meant that I only had to roll out of bed an hour before work and I’d still have time to grab a coffee on the way. Being so close to central London was brilliant as it allowed me to wander around and sightsee after work before going home. Also, I could avoid the stress of the tube in rush-hour.

Most nights, I’d grab some food from one of the numerous eateries, and sit in Covent Garden or Leicester Square as I watched the world go by. In London, there’s always something to see and do. Whether that is street entertainment, or a free gallery or show. Having travelled down from a small University town in the North West, London offered a change of pace, a new type of people, a new atmosphere and noises, new food chains, art, music, everything about London was new. I’m lucky to have had such an amazing opportunity.

Thank you so much to the Spare Room Project for finding me somewhere to stay for free, saving me hundreds of pounds. I got to experience all that London has to offer and more within my budget. This opportunity enabled me to clarify my future goals and gain insight into the publishing industry. 

Find out more about the Spare Room Project.