Some people graduate and immediately embark on life-altering trips.
Sameea and I had a version of that with our cross country trip, but it was more eye-opening and ignorance-reducing than really life-altering. We both knew we had a countdown to the cubicle nation, and we were basking in the freedom until then. But with our already-slim funds depleting, we began to crave the paycheck. *Slowly fade in the murder scene music*
While Sameea had flown from Denver back home to DC, I went on to Des Moines and then Chicago. I ended my trip by cancelling my flight from Chicago, extending my stay one more night (because I’m a greedy gypsy), and booking, you guessed it, a train ride home. It was a 14 hour ride into reality, but nothing to write home about. Get it.
Nevertheless, being the nomads that we are, we couldn’t stay put for long.
We went to Vegas in November, NYC in December, Atlanta in February, Cabo in April, and, drumroll please, England, Croatia, Spain and Germany in June!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! While normal people put their incomes into bizarre, completely beneficial acronymic numberletter investments like 401ks, Shmee and I invest our money into 03i4jm09abc, or whatever our frequent flyer number may be.
This is the part where I start crying out of pure nostalgic bliss.
Our eurotrip was similar to both of our study abroad trips, except crammed into only 15 days of travel and this time- watch out world- we had money!!! It’s travels like these that make me continuously crave adventure. So many more friends to meet, paths to cross, foods to taste, sights to steal our breath away and sights to lose our breath to realizing how out of shape we've become.
Whether or not you know already, I will state one of my most notorious traits- I love the Brits. I love their accents, their dry sarcastic humor, their wit, their vocab, Jude Law, Gordon Ramsey, Arctic Monkeys and the movie Green Street Hooligans. And London. I love London. But definitely Jude Law.
So when my best friend from home took a job teaching in Ascot, a suburb right outside London, my brain already began cranking out plans to visit.
Sameea and I planned to start our trip in the UK, grabbing a one way nonstop Virgin Atlantic flight for only $600. Virgin Atlantic made me feel famous, gave me socks AND a toothbrush, all the while speaking in my favorite accent. Best.Airline.Ever. We took the tube from the Airport to central London, where we were meeting Sarah at our fancy hotel (Sarah doesn't "do hostels"- lol). If we weren't already polar opposites in every other form of life- she's a finicky-eating tall, skinny, blonde who's running stride is the length of my body- we were also opposites when it came to things like hostels versus hotels, too. I honestly can't complain, it was a nice way to start a two week trek through Europe, but we were definitely eating it. If you know London, you know how god-awful expensive it is...and we were pretending to live like the Queen already. The first night we went out we met up with Sameea's friend who was studying there. We all had one too many a pint and headed back to our proper quarters.
In the morning we walked around and went to the Burough Market. Sameea got a sandwich with lamb and halloumi cheese (soft goat & sheep's milk cheese usually fried to make extra mouth-watering) while I got a homemade veggie burger that was delish. There was an abundance of food stands I wanted to try on top of already being overwhelmed hearing British accents that I probably looked like a tweaked out cat, scanning my eyes all over the place (looking for Jude, of course).
Right after stuffing our faces with food and lots of Pimms, we stumbled upon a hilarious NUDIST cycle parade outside the Big Ben. LITCHRALLY thousands of people riding their bikes naked. It was both amusing and hard to watch.
Most of our time in London was spent exploring. Since Sarah still had to teach during the day, Sameea and I took a cab ride over to Windsor. The weather was stereotypical of England, bleak with random sprinkles of rain ruining my permanently frizzy curls. Inside The Duchess Pub we feasted on fish and chips, naturally, with a pint of local brew. Since we never order two of the same thing (for palate-expanding purposes of course), I also ordered the Meat Pie, per the waitress's rec (Brits love meat pies). It was tasty but in no way did it outdo the fish and chips.
After walking around a bit, posing for pics and seeing all of what we came to see (Windsor Castle), we got out of the rain and into The Crooked House of Windsor- a cute little tea house from the golden ages. And by golden ages i just mean really old, as in *RE*built in 1687. Suddenly lots of commotion occurred outside and a parade seemed to pass by. Or at least that's what we thought at the time. Only to get back and have Sarah ask us, "DID YOU SEE WILLIAM AND KATE?!" Apparently, they had been at the castle LITERALLY the same time as us, we were just too busy having tea time to know. As celebrity-loving as I am, I was only mad for a second. Though I admit it would've been cool to see them, the tea at this place was more of what I fancied.
Another day in Londontown we went over to Camden, the grungier, punk-rock hipster area. Think Sex Pistols. We shopped through more markets where I found a groovy hat that makes me feel famous and took pictures of donuts because, why not? We heard live music and stopped by an outside bar to listen and have a pint.
We take vacation very seriously. All hours of the day MUST be enjoyed, preferably with high energy ambiance and social bliss. Exactly what we found! After making friends with our super fun bartender, Jonny, we migrated to another venue with bands jamming out. Jonny ended up joining us there on the bean bags. Yes- it was a concert-type venue, with bean bags on the floor. BRILLIANT. The rest of the bar had been an old horse stable, and each stall had been converted into individual rooms with different settings (and some with stripper poles LOL). Though he didn't play there that night, Jonny Fears is a dexterous *singing* guitarist. So when he becomes famous you can say you already knew about him. You're welcome.
London is one of those places I know I'll return to. Those accents, or maybe just the people, have a hold on my heart.
And I still need to try the Indian food.