Saturday, February 27, 2016

Reflections on traveling abroad, alone.

Now that I'm back in America, I have some final reflections from my 2 weeks away.

What I'll miss about the uk:
-The smell of toast in the morning
-Cool Humidity
-Birds of all types chirping in the morning
-Lights that turn yellow before they turn green
-Standing at bars  (rather than barstools)
-Stairs
-British accents
- more lax about things like personal hygiene
- poached eggs

Things I could take or leave:
- shops closing down after 6 (thought I guess Albuquerque does that to sine extent)
-posh culture
-dapper men
-8 million people
- transport via tube

What I'm looking forward to upon return:
- Sun
- vast open spaces
- my park
- my sweet Sid
- my full music collection (with the exception of wax tailor I only allowed myself to listen to British artists during my travels. Which turned out to be not so bad)

Thoughts on packing an urban backpack:
While I greatly enjoyed the pride I felt at being able to carry everything I needed for two weeks x4, it caused some hassles... and there are a few things I would change.
I was told twice that I was "over dressed" which I assume was in reference to my backpack. One guy told me I looked like I was ready for the arctic (nope) and another asked if I was sleeping on a bench that night. To which I replied that I didn't know yet (though I did).
At the end of my trip, my backpack weighed about 27lbs, but my shoulder bag was probably about 10. I tried to mostly acquire light clothing, though I did pick up one pretty dense rock and 3 books. I didn't even buy gifts for all the people I thought of.... due to the diminishing space. But there are some things I would do differently.
1) enough socks and underwear for the whole trip (I ended up buying both, but more for the opportunity than out of need, which there also was)
2) two jackets and two pairs of shoes proved helpful though not necessary. I could have done with less shirts. Because I bought 4 shirts and two pants my first day I about doubled my wardrobe. I would have rather that space for gifts our souvineers.
3) fixed my buckle before I left. I meant to replace the buckle oh my backpack. I ended up just taking it off and tying it, which took a bit more time but had the desired effect of causing the backpack to rest well on my hips so I could hardly feel the 30lbs shadowing me.
4) I was pleased that I happened to but a bigger shoulder bag, as it held more of the crap I acquired, for better or worse. I was also glad that I decided against getting rid of my computer. Even though it's a mini, it's at least 3lbs that I carried around all of England but  only used twice. I had considered wiping the memory and recycling it at the beginning of my trip, but when my phone started flaking out I was glad I had it as back up.

Final thoughts:
I feel that I achieved my goals of finding historical context, self reflecting, and challenging myself to do new things. I made memories and came to understandings that will affect the rest of life. However, I spent more money than I felt cause to... and I missed my beautiful community. I am looking forward to putting my energies into my community now that I have fulfilled my need for far off adventures. I will always have a sense of wanderlust that is kept in balance by my homing nature. I am fortunate to have a profession where I can achieve both, and I am looking forward to giving my all to that.

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