Don't forget the lesson once you're home. I really love travel but I also dislike travel. It takes a piece of you every single time. I almost feel that it makes your concept of home bigger so that one might complain about being too spread out. Consider the places you have traveled to, they are no longer foreign if you were paying attention. On our recent trip to London, I was reminded of this fact through one of our fellow travelers, Makenzy. Our adventure was her first time traveling out of the country, she navigated it like a pro. After the first day or two of getting our bearings, we could take the "tube" anywhere our hearts desired. I loved watching Makenzy absorb all the new sights and information. Some things seemed very familiar and some things were oddly different. You learn the simple steps of staying to the right on the escalators (my aunt took a few rounds to learn this one, haha) so that those in a hurry could walk through on the left. You learn to look both ways so that you don't look the wrong way and get hit by a car. We were very thankful for the writing on the ground at each crossing that told you which direction to look in. It took me a few rounds to get my phone to pay my way through the entry gates using ApplePay. All of these things are little tiny skills that help you grow and learn, pay a little more attention, you might notice how alive you feel during these events because your brain is capturing, processing and categorizing all these new skills, its on fire with new information. I explained to Makenzy that this is her learning and observing trip, when she comes back a second time, then part of what her brain will consider home. She will navigate all of the things with ease of a local. It so incredibly cool and great for a persons confidence.
After our adventure our to the country, we all walked down (best part of Europe is the walking, love) to Covent Gardens and did a little shopping. We found some wonderful carts and be-bobs to look at. I found an incredible soap makers cart who had gobs of Lavender bundles and soaps with little spray roses nestled in the top. It was simply gorgeous and a delight to the senses. We found many hat carts and filled our time with some good laughs while trying out many different looks. Fun T-shirts, evil eye jewelry and the scent of ethnic foods just filled us up. Our average walking distance was around 6 miles a day. It felt so good to walk everywhere we could and feel so alive in this interesting city. The lavender spoke to me and was a wonderful reminder to grow more here at the farm. From this experience I will be adding much more French lavender as well as some more traditional varieties.
During this adventure my husband was attending MBA courses. We were all Tagalongs to his trip. We were so incredibly excited to see all the things we could see. my husband mostly saw course rooms and pubs. We enjoyed our time with him when he had it to give and managed to acquire some favorite places (pubs) along the way. Of course we had fish n' chips but our favorite by far was an Indian restaurant that we found early on. The service was absolutely tremendous and the food was even better. While waiting for our table we sat at the bar where the bartender entertained us while making these enticing drinks. Our jet lag had started to diminish and we were ready to enjoy our time. We walked to Buckingham Palace, so incredibly iconic, and ticked that off the list. It was very interesting to see medallions embedded in the walkways for the Queens Jubilee and Diana's Walkway. Titles and names I had only heard of through news and media. It was so interesting to see the tribute's existence.
On one of our outings my aunt and I visited Kew Gardens (or as we seem to believe also The Royal Gardens). It was a wonderful large space that I would imagine gets much attention in the warmer months to just go and enjoy the plantings, fresh air and beautiful spaces. We walked through some buildings that had international plant collections and art collections as well. It was a treat to see what seeds and plants they had on sale this time of the year and it was so hard not to want to bring it all back home. Time around plants, trees and good soil always fills a person up.
In case you didn't realize it, the world is small. We live on what seems like this BIG planet but as you adventure out more and more you quickly realize that we are way more interconnected than we think. While in London, a place I have never before visited, we had dinner with a swim friend of my sons, our nanny from Australia and had the opportunity to meet up with a local friends sister and my other son's former girlfriend and her family which I was sorry to miss. I mean really. It's shocking how much my time could have been spent catching up with people. It certainly serves as a reminder that we really don't leave things behind, they just simply do their own thing for a while until we see it again on the next rotation.
We managed to see Tower Bridge (referred to by many as London Bridge), went out and saw Stonehenge in a very fortunate window where the sun was shinning, Bath and the Roman baths, cute town and would have loved to stay much longer. The rain was really coming down while we were there so it was puddle to puddle hopping mostly. One of the best highlights was to see Mama Mia live at West End. The performance left me in awe of the talent people have. The lead Donna and Sophie brought me to tears as they belted out the songs with so much passion. It was remarkable and I hope to go back again to see more performances. We took my aunt to a Michelin restaurant for her birthday and went to the top of the Shard, a very tall building (69 floors) with an incredible view of London from an open air view. It was quite incredible. We finished our time with going out to a London after dark night club. Thankfully we had some strings pulled to get in and it was crazy packed. Super fun and the dancing was a blast. That was one for the books as well.
All in all I really enjoyed our trip to London, I certainly hope to go back and see even more of the country. The climate was wonderful and I could appreciate the bright sunny days when they happened. I feel that I recorded some wonderful memories with my aunt, my son and his girlfriend and am so incredibly grateful to my husband for the opportunity to go on the trip. There are so many things I wanted to capture in my mind and add into my own life. Walking around town more, setting up spaces to encourage conversation and settling in, curating spaces out on the farm to sit and enjoy time with a friend. Ultimately it reminded me to live more and take chances to see new things but also bring great company along because memories are best shared.