9 cities in 10 days
June 3, 2011 § Leave a comment
I’m still in Spain, but the time for departure is drawing nearer and I’ve been giving my next adventure quite a bit of thought. It seems pretty ridiculous and ungrateful to be already looking forward to my UK tour when I’ve got stunning Spain right outside my door, but some planning had to happen sometime. Now that it has, I’m bubbling with excitement and anticipation. My plan consists of visiting 9 cities in 10 days. There’s an extra night built in there so I can stay two nights in one city (to be determined, probably Stratford-upon-Avon, because I have a crush on Shakespeare and won’t be able to tear myself away, or maybe Salisbury because Stonehenge and Salisbury together could take a bit of time). Although this will be the most whirlwind tour of the UK ever made, I’m supremely excited for it.
Can you imagine? You wake up, put all of your belongings into a backpack, strap it onto your back, shut the door behind you, and never look back. You sleep in a new world every night. You’ve got no obligations to anyone; no one can dictate where you go or when. You never see the same person twice. The world is your oyster. Wait, sorry, the world is my damn oyster.
About a week before I left for this trip, I acquired a new backpack. It’s giant and really heavy duty. It’s also a very bright orange. It’s a super delux hiker’s backpack, with padded hip straps and so on to distribute weight, etc. It’s a serious backpack, my friends. For the time that I’m touring England, it will be my only luggage. I also got a new suitcase. It’s a rolling duffle (red) with about 3 billion pockets and zippers. It, too, is pretty darn serious.
In preparing for the trip, I used the backpack and suitcase a bit, first to return to my apartment from visiting my family and then to do laundry (it’s a big ordeal). As I dragged all of my clothing around the city with me, I was happy at the thought that this is what I’d be doing for 6 weeks. The idea of strapping my necessary belongings to my back and setting out for an adventure is highly appealing. As I returned from doing laundry, I spotted a snail on my front step. A sign? I think yes. Here at my aunt and uncle’s house, snails are abundant. I’m hoping that this rainy weekend will result in hoards of them out and about so I can get some good pictures.
I have a habit of collecting postcards. I make everyone I know send them to me when they go anywhere even remotely interesting. Then I paste them all to my wall in an ever evolving piece of wall art. When I moved into my current apartment, I had two postcards that just wouldn’t stay up. After putting them back up every day for weeks, I finally just let them be, leaving them on the top of my bookcase in a permanent state of waiting to be returned to their rightful places. Other than the two, however, every single other postcard stayed put from day 1. Five months later, when I bought my plane tickets for this adventure, just after I had confirmed everything and finally sat back in my chair to soak in my excitement, four more fell down. The night before I left, just as I finished packing and finally set my suitcase aside, 2 more fell. Auspicious!
I’m sitting in my bedroom at my aunt and uncle’s house, at a table in front of this fantastic set of windows. The panes swing in, making one big open window. I’m looking out at a lot of vegetation and an occasional pedestrian making his or her way along a road at the top of the ridge the house is perched on. A breeze is blowing my hair back and making all of the leaves on the trees flutter. I’m planning a grand adventure. This is probably the closest anyone ever gets to paradise, right?
There’s a beach that my aunt and uncle frequent that’s a few minutes drive east along the coast. It’s a tiny little beach, nestled in between cliffs that come straight down to the water. The first glimpse you get on the access road takes your breath away… and they just pop by when they want to go for a swim. There’s a little bar at the beach where you can get a drink or a bite to eat. It’s their regular, everyday beach. Pretty nice deal, if you ask me.