Greetings from a beautiful B&B in Derby, England! Have a few thoughts to share today...
The last time I was in England, I was on a group tour with my college. Everything was set out for me. Where I would stay, what time I would get there, how I would get there, what I would see, etc. This time around, it's quite different.
Yes, I planned out my itinerary - but I did not realize just how difficult it is to navigate around using public transportation when I am always driving myself back in the States. And I admit it - I don't like using public transportation. I am on their timetable and not mine, and I've spent a lot of time waiting for buses and trains. On the other hand, I doubt I could drive myself - people go a lot faster than I'm used to and there's that whole driving on the other side of the road thing. ;-)
Then there's the loneliness. When you travel with someone else, you can put your heads together and figure things out - like when the last bus leaves, where the train will stop, etc. But when you're by yourself, you have to do it, and that often means asking strangers for help. Almost everyone has been quite friendly in answering my questions, but there have been those that look at me and must be thinking, "Dumb American!" Hehe.
I'm experiencing some homesickness right now - missing my family a great deal. Those first few days had a heady feeling to them. I wasn't responsible for anyone but myself. No cooking or cleaning or taking kids to school or going to work, etc. It was nice. But I am missing it (well, not the cooking or cleaning part...).
If you've got the wherewithal to do it, I highly suggest traveling on your own. It will make you dig deep inside yourself for strength and courage that you didn't know you had. You'll go through a myriad of emotions: fear that you're doing this by yourself, panic that you might not figure things out, giddiness when you do figure things out, and pride that you did it.
I'm off to Chatsworth House today, the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. Keira Knightly stars in a movie about the famous Duchess, Georgiana, in The Duchess which opens in England on October 27. Costumes from the movie will be displayed and as I am a huge fan of historic costume, especially 18th century, I can't wait to see it.
I've got a new home on the web - stop by if you get a chance! www.melissamarsh.net
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