I’ve been itching to travel lately, but it’s not a good time now: we have a newborn and there’s cold weather all over Europe. We’re trying to hold out till spring at least, so we can go somewhere new and enjoy picnics and zoos and playgrounds. In the meantime, I’ve been reminiscing about those days when I made travel more of a priority. And there was that one time when I was staying in England and I took 11 days to make a loop around the UK all by myself.
It was like a dream to imagine setting out and going wherever I wanted on the British Isles. Of course the reality as I was on my way was that travel is expensive, being alone can be lonely and challenging, carrying a bag everywhere isn’t always fun, and keeping your wits about you at all times to avoid danger (like theft and getting lost) is exhausting.
I started to make a plan several weeks in advance, but about a week before my departure date a good friend from home died. Her passing was anticipated, but still like a punch in the stomach. I felt guilty to plan my dream trip while the funeral was being planned, so when the time came for me to head out, the known parts of my itinerary were this:
Day 1: Travel from Burnham-Deepdale to London to Bath; sleep in Bath
Day 2: Visit Stonehenge, travel to Swansea, Wales; sleep at a guesthouse who I emailed a reservation to (but they hadn’t replied yet)
Day 3-6: ??? See Wales
Day 7: Fly from Dublin, Ireland to Glasgow, Scotland; sleep in Glasgow at the Globetrotter Hostel
Day 8-10: ??? Make my way down the middle of England
Day 11: Return to Burnham-Deepdale
It was fun to fill in the holes on my itinerary as I went, and I would definitely love to travel so spontaneously again if I ever have the chance. The worst was that I left the guide books in Deepdale (too heavy to carry) so all research had to be done wherever I could find a computer with internet to use, or by asking people. And most train and bus tickets are cheaper when booked ahead, so I was constantly spending a regretful amount on travel. And there were a few cities I turned up in with no clue where to stay for the night.
This is how the trip turned out:
Day 1: Travel from Burnham-Deepdale to London to Bath
Day 2: Visit Stonehenge, travel to Swansea, Wales
Day 3: Swansea to Betws-y-Coed
Day 4: Hike Mount Snowdon
Day 6: Dublin
Day 8: day trip to Edinburgh
Day 9: Glasgow to Manchester to Blackpool (but got stranded in Preston instead)
Day 10: Preston to Cambridge
Day 11: Cambridge to Burnham-Deepdale
Eventually, I’ll write a bit about each leg of the journey. Just short posts I think because having a newborn means I operate with just one hand and half a brain lately. Please forgive all typos, not-eloquent writing, and inconsistent formatting 😉