the first time i ever traveled abroad was in 2006. and the feeling, the excitement was so contagious that i think i came down with a bad case of ‘travelitis.’ for those of you have never heard of travelitis or the perils that it entails, it’s a very serious (but not very rare) condition. and i have not wanted to sit still ever since.
when i was in high school i had a “pen pal” from england named chloe. we would pretty much email every day and shoot the shit; we’d talk about celebrities, schooling, and the differences between england and the united states. i told her that if she ever wanted to visit the good ol’ u. s. of a. she would have a roof over her head if she came to iowa.
my senior year of high school she took me up on the offer. my parents and i went to go pick her up at the des moines international airport (…funny title in itself, considering we don’t do international flights, but thank you fedex) and we took her out to see the exciting things in iowa. you know. the exciting things.
anyway, in 2006 my best friend mallory (who had also gotten to know chloe well over the years) and i decided that we would like to visit her in england. she was living in whitstable (kent) at the time and her parents graciously said they would host two twenty year old girls during our two weeks of vacation. haha, suckas.
i don’t think i slept on the plane ride i was so excited. [mallory has corrected me and said i did sleep, it was her that did not, haha] when we finally arrived in england both mallory and i were extremely jet lagged (or maybe just tired from not having slept) so we took naps. i woke up a bit earlier than her and decided to go downstairs and make conversation. mallory woke up in a pitch black room to find me gone. gave her a bit of a scare, hehe. but that was the most lethargic we were all week.
we argued about who had the room with the big bed.
we checked out the local scene.
we had our first fish and chips on the beach of whitstable.
overall, the trip was a blast. we got to experience the slower, smaller living of england while staying in whitstable and while visiting canterbury and dover.
(we look so young!)
(dover’s castle didn’t have a gargoyle, but don’t worry… i took care of it)
but we also got swept up in the excitement and sight-seeing adventures in london.
seeing as the trip was over 5 years ago, it’s hard for me to vividly remember everything. even when i was looking through photos i was having trouble figuring out where some of them were taken (because, i’m not going to lie to you- cathedrals, for the most part, all look the same). but there are a few things that i do remember from the trip. and, of course, the most important thing i took away from the trip: i will never be done traveling.
things i remember from my trip to england:
- i tried curry for the first time. it was spicy as hell. go figure.
- there was this dog named Jim who liked to look out of the windows. i managed to get a great shot of this cat tormenting him by sitting on a pillar right outside the window.
- driving in england, though confusing and on the opposite side of the road, is a lot slower than in other countries.
- this was the first time i went to a country where tips were not the norm and waiters and waitresses didn’t come around very often. i think we sat and chatted in a restaurant for a few hours before the waitress got around to asking us if we wanted anything else or to get the check.
- ^ oh, also, apparently asking for a box for leftovers is absurd. (don’t look at me like that, i might be hungry later!)
- they aren’t kidding around- those guards will not talk to you. and they are slightly intimidating. (but some guards do talk, and they even oblige to pose for photos) 🙂
- i had my first pimms & lemonade while in england. i thought it was delicious. years later i still haven’t had one as good as the first i had in whitstable.
- because the drinking age was 18 (and we were 20) we got to take advantage of many opportunities. this was also where i had my first strongbow and learned of scrumpy jack. i also remember chloe getting upset because neither mallory nor i got carded for a club and she did.
- i loved taking photos of touristy places, things, etc. i think mallory took a majority of the candid shots and i focused mostly on the landscape. i regret it a bit, but looking at the photos now i’m glad i got some of the shots i did.
- there are parades in england and people throw pennies at the floats instead of the people on the floats throwing candy out to the crowd.
- there was a man at canterbury castle who had the most fantastic mustache i had ever seen. even to this day, none can compare.