As I alluded to in Reaching Puddle Jumping Status, I’ve never considered myself a traveler. Not that I believed it was impossible… It was more a fear of the unknown; different cultures, different food, different languages, different normalcy to everyday life. I was happy in my own little corner of the world. Sure there were destinations sitting on the bottom of my bucket list waiting to be checked of, but they were at the bottom because I wasn’t sure I would ever get to check them off. They were there mainly because what’s a bucket list without things like:
- Drive through the English countryside
- Eat French macaroons in Paris
- Swim with sea turtles in the Virgin Islands
- See the northern lights in Iceland
- Hike Machu Picchu in Peru
- Eat pizza in Italy
Before my trip, I had been content with my life’s travels thus far. I’ve seen Niagara Falls on the U.S. and Canadian sides. I’ve been to Washington, D.C. on multiple school field trips and family outings. I’ve been to Walt Disney World twice (though I only remember one [I was 4 the first time]). I’ve had multiple romps in the Atlantic Ocean via Virginia Beach and the Outter Banks of North Carolina. I’ve surfed the Gulf of Mexico and rode horses on its coast. I’ve ridden roller coasters in the middle of the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee (good ol’ Dollywood). I’ve gone camping in Virginia, West Virginia, North and South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and New York, both in a tent and in a camper (once even in a closet!). I’ve boated on most of the major lakes in the area. I’ve kayaked and tubed down many rivers. I’ve snowboarded and zip lined down the Blue Ridge, hiked parts of the Appalachian Trail, and even explored a few caves. I’ve traveled via a single-engine, 4 seater airplane, the back of a motorcycle, in a convertible with the top down, even at the wheel of a tractor (cause I am, in fact, from the county).
In the 24 years I’ve been on this earth, I’ve accomplished a lot in terms of travel and adventure (or so I thought). But there’s a whole other world out there than just my ‘backyard’. I got a taste of traveling the world and now, I want more. I’ve only just begun!
There was a purpose for my recent trip that wasn’t solely about
pleasure (that sounds weird) leisure; meeting my Fella’s mom and seeing where he’s from. Ever since we started dating, it was often a topic of conversation: ‘What’s your mom like?’ ‘What’s England like?’ ‘Do you miss it?’ If it weren’t for my Fella making the decision of when/where/how we were going, I’m not sure it would have happened. Traveling to Europe would have remained a wonderfully abstract thought that I could dream about. But now, I don’t have to dream about it because I have wonderful memories about it.
I can look back on the trip that really happened and remember seeing the well known destinations of London like Big Ben, the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, and riding on the tube with the locals. I remember actually eating macaroons and drinking tea in a cafe in Paris, only a 5 minute walk from the Eiffel Tower. I remember going on a dinner cruise down the Seine, drinking wine, eating lobster, and feeling as giddy as a school girl, pointing out all the sights to Fella. I remember driving on the wrong side of the road, on the wrong side of the car through much of England’s countryside. I remember visiting Fella’s university in Newcastle and eating my first ever fish & chips in Tynemouth. I remember having authentic Indian cuisine in York sitting across from Fella’s momma who had the biggest smile plastered on her face because of how happy she was to see her son for the first time in 5 years. I remember Manchester being an absolute armpit of a city, but experiencing the best live show of my life there. I remember stepping into what felt like a storybook while exploring Cambridge. By the end of it, I remember not wanting to leave, but wanting to be home.
Because of this trip, traveling is not as abstract to me as it was before; it no longer has to be this hypothetical thought that crosses my mind then disappears like that of a dream anymore. I can think it. I can plan it. I can experience it just like anything and anyone else. I know it sounds so simple… that’s because it is, but for someone who had never done anything like this in her life, it was truly life changing.
Because of this trip, those bucket list destinations are moving on up. In fact, Fella and I are already brainstorming the logistics of visiting the Virgin Islands next summer (one more-so than the other, possibly 😉 ).
Because of this trip, I want to see more of what the world has to offer. Sure, visiting somewhere for the sights is one thing, but that’s just one of the 5 senses. I want to see, taste, hear, feel, and smell for myself (that sounds a bit weird too, but you get the gist).
I know this is not the post most of you were looking forward to reading about my recent travels, but bear with me. I have a plan for my upcoming posts about each destination along with pictures. I can’t wait to share my journey with you guys, but I want it to be as close to perfect as possible. After all, these posts aren’t all about you; they’re for me!
On a side note, my birthday is now less than a week away (how did that happen!?), and I have quite the mini adventure planned, which will take time away from writing. So in the coming weeks, you all can expect multiple posts about my European excursion, my birthday shenanigans, as well as a post that I’ve been working on for the past 5 months, of which shares a story that has impacted my life a great deal. Dun dun duuuuuu. But really, I feel it to be one of my greatest pieces yet. Stay tuned!
** And if you’re wondering about my featured image… that’s me hitch hiking for a train in London. Did I mention I’m from the country…?