Well, my friends, the time has finally come. This afternoon, I’m getting on a plane and flying to the UK for six weeks. That’s right: SIX WEEKS!
This trip has been a long time coming. I’ve been wanting to go to the UK since I graduated from high school, but immediately started my post-secondary education, then dropped out, moved out, got my first credit card—and you know the rest of that story. I had debt for most of my twenties, but started travelling (solo) as soon as I finished paying it off. Since 2013, I’ve gone on a lot of small trips. But aside from the road trip I did throughout the US in 2016, I have never gone on any BIG trips. After the girls passed away last May, I did a short 30-day shopping ban that helped me realize I needed something to look forward to. So I decided to save up and go to the UK for 4-8 weeks in 2018—and that’s exactly what I’m doing now.
I arrive in London on May 2nd and fly back to Victoria on June 13th. I don’t have much of an itinerary yet, because I prefer to travel with intentions rather than strict plans. That’s not the cheapest way to travel. Sometimes, it also causes more headaches or stress, because you don’t always know where you’re going to be (or where you’re going to sleep lol). But it gives you the flexibility to travel slow and say yes/no to whatever opportunities come up, and that’s usually my intention for most trips: to move slow and do what feels good. So I don’t know exactly where I’m going or what I’m going to do, but after pushing through the busiest 5-6 months of my life, I’m really looking forward to not knowing what my every move has to be.
Some other things I’m looking forward to:
- enjoying slow mornings (sip coffee, read, and journal in new cities)
- exploring bookstores and reading some books written by local authors
- walking + hiking everywhere my feet can take me
- but also, driving a car on the other side of the road! I’m determined to do this!
- taking pictures (and sharing some on Instagram)
- and making new friends :)
Oddly enough, I’m also looking forward to being outside of my comfort zone. Being able to travel by yourself is an incredible gift, but it also comes with unique challenges. I’m prepared for there to be a few tough days, or at least tough moments. I’ll probably get lost or lose something, crave normalcy/routine, and even get homesick once or twice. And knowing me, I’m sure I’ll cry a few times too. It always happens, so I’ve learned that’s just part of the experience. But if the road trip taught me anything, it’s that I also feel like my best self when I’m travelling. I feel lighter and more open (to new people + opportunities)—and I always come home feeling like a new person. I don’t know what the UK holds for me, but I’m excited to find out.
For those who live there, or who are simply curious, I do have a few plans/ideas:
- I’m not a huge fan of tourist attractions, but I’m going to the Making of Harry Potter studio tour on May 4th and I am SOOO RIDICULOUSLY excited about it, haha.
- I’m heading down to Brighton for the long weekend.
- I have an event in London on May 8th!
- I don’t really have any plans from May 9th-18th yet, so I think that’s when I’ll map out a road trip (maybe to South West England? or Wales?)
- After that, I’ll start heading north and visit friends in Manchester, the Peak District, Leeds and York.
- I think I’ll rent a car and do another road trip to the Lakes!
- and then I still need to figure out where Scotland and Ireland fit into this. (And yes, I know Ireland isn’t in the UK. I just want to go, while I’m there!)
As per usual, I’m still travelling with just carry-on luggage. In fact, for this trip, I’m somehow packing even lighter than I did for a road trip last year. Everything fits into my Gregory Compass 40L backpack. And that was really important to me for this trip, in particular, because I won’t have regular access to a vehicle and don’t want to be weighed down at all. So it’s just me and my backpack. :)
I still have a few work tasks to complete at the airport today, before I sign off and get on the plane. However, the closer I get to my departure time, the happier (and more emotional) I start to feel. I booked this flight on January 9th and have used it as motivation ever since. Whenever I felt like I couldn’t keep working at the pace I was, I reminded myself that I only had to push through for a few more months or weeks—now hours—until I could go on this trip. It then became the marker for things I could say yes/no to. And it all worked! The Year of Less is out in the world! It was a WSJ bestseller! I have done 101 interviews about it and connected with so many incredible people this year! And now it’s time to take a break.
So I’m signing off, friends! I have a handful of incredible guest posts to share this month. (Think: incredibly honest and vulnerable. I’m so grateful to the writers for wanting to share their stories with us.) I will also pop in when I’m inspired to write. If you don’t hear much from me, though, you can always check my Instagram account and see what I’m up to!
For now, I’m curious: Is there ONE thing you would recommend I do while I’m in the UK? I’d especially love to hear from locals, because I would much rather do something a local would do. Visit a certain coffee shop or bookstore, walk a particular trail, and so on. Just one thing. Thank you, my friends! I appreciate you all. :)