After more than three years of staying close to home like millions of other people, I am preparing to travel. And not just domestically but abroad to the United Kingdom. Getting ready for this adventure, the first thing I realized is that I’ve forgotten just how much goes into a trip of three weeks. There are lists, lists and more lists. Shopping for everything from easy care travel clothes (think non-wrinkle and reversible) to everything one needs to function as if at home.
My travel companion and I started planning out activities and itineraries well over a year ago. With the challenges of COVID, there were some nervous moments of should we cancel? The first part of the trip I planned to travel solo, visiting my niece Lauren, in Edinburgh, Scotland, where she is in graduate school at the University of Edinburgh studying to be a museum curator. After spending time with her, I planned to move onto London by myself as long as I could enter the UK. The last part of the voyage included meeting up with my friend and sailing home on the Queen Mary. In February, we finally committed. Deep breath.
Having never been to Scotland, Lauren found great tours both historic and contemporary for us to take. It will be extra special to have local’s point-of-view in this lovely Scottish city. After six days together, I’ll take the train to London where my travel companion, Caryn, and I will connect.
This will be Caryn’s first time in London. My mom and I spent two weeks in this fabulous city in 2015. We visited the English countryside, toured and had lunch at the Downtown Abbey estate, hit all the tourist spots, and went off the beaten path. Caryn and I will cover similar ground, separating to take in sights on our own. We’re staying at the same hotel, and one of my favorite activities from my initial visit was walking a Hyde Park. Like Central Park, it is a tree filled oasis in the midst of one the world’s largest city. That’s definitely on the agenda.
The final leg of the journey is something I’d never considered. It’s been Caryn’s dream to cross the Atlantic. At first, I thought, how boring! Then I studied the Cunard website and found there is so much to do. On this particular voyage, the Royal Shakespeare Company will provide most of the entertainment, as well as acting classes to release your inner thespian. Of course, with COVID there is a catch—we have to have a negative test in order to board. We decided if one of us tests positive the other will go ahead and enjoy and the cruise. Unfortunately, if one of us tests positive then neither gets to sail. Fingers and toes crossed we pass! Those four vaccines ought to be worth something.
I’m looking forward to an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime adventure. I’ll be indulging in reading and relaxing, but travelling is bound to offer up unique writing inspirations as well.