Five years ago this month I was 20 years old, single as could be, independent, adventurous, and was ready to get out of the Land of Entrapment. I would go to London on the weekends just for the hell of it and would purposefully find the “coolest” hostels to stay in (and by “cool” I mean I stayed in hostels that would replace pubs/bars with a lounge area).
But what I’m realizing this time around is that a whole lot can change in five years. This time around I’m 25, engaged and prefer staying home rather than partying, I’m more concerned with the security of my belongings and the safety of my self than finding people to drink the night away with, and I’d so much rather curl up with a book in a quaint coffee shop than wonder around town looking for personal souvenirs (i.e. clothes).
I arrived in England two days ago and fell back in love with the accents, and right out of lust with the continuous—and very cold—wind and rain. After an 18-hour travel day (three flights) plus a three-hour bus ride, I was more than exhausted. Once I got to my destination (Southampton), I had to lug my suitcases (in the rain, up hill both ways, barefoot with really uncomfortable shoes) to meet my friend.
Of course, since it was a Tuesday and normal people work during the week, she still had to put in a good five more hours at work. Instead of succumbing to my sleep-deprived body, I decided to walk some more around town and see the area. Finally, around 3 pm I gave in, attempted to put one extremely exhausted foot in front of the other and made it back to her work. I got the key to her place, along with directions, and somehow made it on a bus and then up another hill to her place. And then I slept the best three hours of my entire life.
I think staying awake for more than 30 hours actually helped with my jet lag, because after that nap I’ve been on UK time ever since! Yesterday I took a train from Southampton to stay with friends in Bournemouth. Instead of wondering around town, though, I stayed inside and read the Time Traveler’s Wife. The pouring rain outside made me feel good about my decision to stay cooped up with my book and tea.
But today! Today I’m going to attempt to find a bus to take me into town and wonder the streets I walked five years ago. And since it’s actually sunny outside (knock on wood!) hopefully I can pick up a new book (I’m almost done with TTW), and read by the beach.
Tomorrow we leave for Cardiff, Wales, to celebrate my friends’ wedding!
(I started a photo gallery of pictures I’m taking from this trip. You can see those here: United Kingdom 09 and I’ll update that gallery as I can.)