Sometimes I feel as if my entire life is one long holiday! It’s pretty magical! Some stops are longer than others. My first visit to the UK was in 2012. I was able to spend a few weeks in London for the summer Olympics. I was entertaining VIP clients at the Track & Field events. I felt extremely blessed because we were able to see the prelims for the 100m, 200m & 4x400m relay. We also saw the finals for the 400m. [I was a sprinter in high school and college so these events were rather special]. We were 4 rows from the track, 4 rows. Top of the 200m. 4th row! It was kind of ridiculous! During the week, I was the local expert, taking the clients to top restaurants, walks around Picadilly Circus and shopping along Oxford Street.
My next trip to the UK was in 2014. I started off the year in the USA helping my mom through her divorce. Once the townhouse was settled, I headed back to Asia. I spent a few months on dive trips (Borneo), housesitting (Hong Kong), and vipassana retreats (Singapore). A friend in Belgium invited me on a 3-week roadtrip. My jump bag was already packed so I collected a few trip details (dates, countries, sleeping arrangements) and off I went. I flew into Paris and took a train to Brussels. I met my friend and we started our European Summer Road Trip!
We started by driving to Calais and took a ferry to Dover. (Very cool experience)! I met Gypsies on the boat!!! Supposedly, my Grandmother is Bohemian. My favourite “made-up” story is how our family used to walk turtles in the town square. If we have Gypsies in the family, it would explain a LOT about my current lifestyle!
The next few weeks were mostly spent meeting & greeting scrap yards. My friend was a recycled metals trader. Most of the clients were car mechanics. Very cool experience to see this part of the supply chain… picking up cars, draining fluids, stripping of certain metals, and then crushing into transportable bricks. I have a soft spot for grease monkeys so I was able to talk shop just like the best of them. It helps that I know my way around a car AND most of my career up to that point was with commodities traders. Our corporate tagline was ‘Raw Goods for Real People’ so I guess I’m kind of one of the guys! hahaha.
On the social side, we were able to dip our toes in the water in Brighton Beach (it was FREEZING) and have dinner with a professional musician! We learned history as we tiptoed through gardens at Herstmonceux Castle!! We spent a few moments in a wind storm where we caught the tail end of England’s elite flying decorated planes (very random and very cool). We galavanted through fields whilst petting stinky pigs and enjoying ice cream from Snugburys. We even had a curry in Leicester! Some of the smaller towns were absolutely delightful – cobblestone streets, random markets, and the sweetest accents I’ve ever heard! My favourite hotel was in Cheshire. One of the scrap yard clients gave us an upgrade, the room was huge. Unfortunately, it was a honeymoon suite and that violated our agreement for separate beds. A promise was not honored so I grabbed the next train out of town to meet a friend in Liverpool. A warm meal, funny chat, followed by helping my friend pick out linens and then I was on a train to London! Train hopping is quite fun…and very scenic! London was cold and rainy but the company was absolutely heartwarming!!! I was able to catch up with my first friends from Singapore. They moved to London to do the whole family thing. I opted to spend a few more days galavanting around London. I met up with an old teacher from my days in Hong Kong. Most of my friends are male so it was a nice change to have some girl time. We did the touristy things of eating at cafes and sitting in parks all bundled up. I had a few solo nights before grabbing a bus from London back to Paris. I made friends at the bus station. I swear I saw the same group of Gypsies on the boat ride back! Such sweet people and such a tremendous energy force.
So many things packed in the month. Such a good trip for the soul!
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