Two months and ten days. That’s how long I’ve been in London. It still feels surreal at moments. Yesterday was Thanksgiving. Definitely not a “typical” one for me. This morning I rented a car and ran away for the weekend. Mostly because I’ve done two big papers back to back and NEED to get away from my room, desk and the library. I’m making plans for Christmas. Stay tuned for those shenanigans.
So the car…It’s okay. I didn’t crash or hit anything. Even though they drive on the wrong side of the road. And even though I was driving a manual left handed. Though the reverse gear is a little persnickety.
Anyway. I’m traveling solo and learning to embrace it. I am growing accustomed to the quick (and sometimes funny) ways people cover when I walk into a restaurant and ask for a table for one. Apparently its not terribly common….who knew? *insert slight sarcasm here*
Last week I sat in a restaurant in London and read Dante. No joke. (Don’t give me that look, Mom.) Today I purposefully chose restaurants that looked cozy, included fireplaces and this time I left my books in my BnB.
Tomorrow I’m going on a foodie tour all by myself (I know, no surprise there). Thanks to my sweet ride I was able to stop in the random perfectly quaint medieval town of Burford and explore to my hearts content – which means peeping all the stores, taking pictures, and standing inside an empty 1000 year old church and singing all to myself.
Tonight I had dinner in the oldest inn in England – circa 947 AD – carbon dated no less! 🙂 Apparently its been a lot of things in the intervening centuries, some of them not quite so reputable!
As I sat at my table the dining room slowly filled with couples and dinner parties. At my little table for one I enjoyed a delicious dinner with a side of people watching. It’s one thing to work alone or go through my daily routine alone – getting the daily stuff done is just that, routine. There’s a grove to it. Traveling alone is different. I can’t take pictures while driving without stopping, which is a tad inconvenient when I see funny/unique things whiz by and I have traffic behind me. I have to pay a bit more attention to the GPS because I don’t have a co-pilot. But there’s a space to savor that is quintessentially different and hard to describe. Solo travel is more reflective. Since there is no one to talk to you process your experiences differently.
Do I want to share a MILLION things with people. YES! Like the Crocodile World sign I saw today…???…Crocodiles…in England? And thanks to the wonders of technology I can snap pics and text them to friends, post them to Instagram and Facebook, and post them here. (Sadly I don’t have pictures of the Crocodile sign because like I said, driving + traffic.)
The moments are my solo experience and I decide what is shared. Which is a pretty powerful ability. So I think for now I’ll take a table for one. It pushes me to experience the world differently. It’s still awkward. But I think it is good for me. Plus, it means I’ll be able to keep cherishing moments like this…..