Ashley Nord (@truenord)
From: Saint Paul, Minnesota
Living in: London, England
Has also lived in: Oxford, England; Stockholm, Sweden
For green-spaces with a view: Regent’s/Primrose Hill, Greenwich, or Richmond Parks
For artistic surroundings: The Tate Modern, Tate Britain, The Victoria and Albert (V&A), or the Natural History Museums (all free!)
For delicious Scandinavian baked goods: Fabrique or The Nordic Bakery
For vegan pastries: Crosstown Doughnuts
For people-watching AND pastries: Peggy Porschen’s
For lovely wandering: Notting Hill/Portobello Market to Kensington Palace, or Hampstead Heath + village
For a walk back to Dickens’ London: Shoreditch
For an oft-overlooked gem: Amble between Angel and Islington
Ashley calls herself an unlikely London transplant. She grew up in the suburbs of Saint Paul, Minnesota, a place nestled in farmland, with pine trees for miles, all four seasons, and more lakes than you could count (the state’s nickname claims there are 10,000).
She and her husband aren’t good at staying still, hopping between the U.K., U.S., and Sweden for over a decade now. In 2010, however, a job offer and the lingering question, “What if?” brought them back to Britain, to the capital where they have been living (almost) ever since.
For Ashley, London felt comfortable upon arrival. This came as a surprise, as that settled feeling had taken time to develop after her first trans-Atlantic move (to Oxford, in 2006). But after living in the U.S. again, she felt the sharp pull from England. Moving back felt like coming home.
Over the years, Ashley and her husband have become “proper Londoners,” though their accents remain obstinately American. London is a city of fellow transplants, and it’s difficult to feel out of place among so many others in the same situation.
Ashley’s favorite feature of London is its contradiction — how a global metropolis with a diverse population and world-renowned historical sites and museums also features small-scale charm and hidden delights in every neighborhood.
The two are now thoroughly enamored with what they call the “London lifestyle,” or, the ability to wake up, walk outside, and keep going until you hit whatever you’re in the mood for on that particular day.
It’s wonderful and freeing and allows Ashley to see something new and beautiful every time she explores the city she now calls home.