21:24

Recently I drove down to Newcastle from Edinburgh for a wedding. While I have loved driving ever since my first lesson, this trip was one of the first times I had felt a sense of anxiety in my car. In my day to day life I drive a couple of times a week, mostly at the weekends and just within the city. I do my grocery shopping, I meet my friends, I drive to church and the swimming pool.

On the way back from Newcastle I encountered a diversion. This diversion was not well marked and instead of taking cars onto a different route forward, it instructed everyone to turn back and detour in the opposite direction of travel.

It was getting late, I was tired, and I was getting low on petrol. I was in an unfamiliar area on the motorway with no clear knowledge of where I should go. Instead of following the diversion back in the opposite direction, I headed onto the country roads. I ignored my GPS telling me to head back to the motorway (blocked off for roadworks) and used instinct to drive back north.

As I navigated tiny, pot-hole laden, windy lanes through fields and small towns I saw my petrol gauge dropping. Admittedly I didn’t fuel up after my drive down to Newcastle but I thought I would make it there and back on a full tank. As I drove through the countryside the sun was setting, but I couldn’t fully appreciate the splendour of the sunset colours as I was worried about getting home. I had thoughts of having to find a BnB in a small town due to getting stranded in the dark, and leaving my car at the side of the road and walking to get petrol.

Disconcerting thoughts aside, I managed to find my way back to the motorway (past the blocked off section) and made it back to Edinburgh safely. My petrol warning light came on on the stretch home! Thank God I managed to make it home safely with my friend despite the problem we encountered on the way. It’s in times like these I miss being a passenger as being a driver does take its toll on longer journeys. Thankfully I have no other long trips planned and that my sense of direction is pretty good. Everything is a learning experience though right?

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21:59

I am back! On the 31st May I flew out to Los Angeles and for two weeks I toured around Southern and Northern California. In SoCal I visited Disneyland, Griffith Observatory, Getty Center, Laguna Beach and other spots. Up in NorCal I went to San Francisco city centre, Fisherman’s Wharf, Exploratorium, Twin Peaks, Coit Tower, Union Square, the Great Mall in San Jose and many other places.

My trips abroad are always jam packed so I often come home feeling like I need a holiday after my holiday! Whilst physically and mentally draining, the whole experience was a lot of fun and it was amazing to travel around and explore new (and old) places.

It has taken me almost a whole week to get rid of my jet lag. I returned to work the day after I flew back from the US, and I struggled to keep my eyes open during work hours. I have been waking up in the middle of the night for the past week, and also took long naps in the evenings to compensate for the lack of sleep. I managed to sleep through the night yesterday so hopefully my jet lag has been curbed!

23:15

Last weekend I was able to return home to visit my family for a few days. Though it was a short ‘long weekend’, it was definitely worth it to travel 5.5 hours home and back just to see them. I miss simple home comforts now and again so quick bursts of home satisfy my yearnings.

I am thankful for time with family and friends and the rare times I get to return home. It makes me cherish those times all the more.

21:38

After a long weekend back in my home town I am safely back in Edinburgh. So did I get a chance to recharge and to rest up before returning to my work life? In a way; yes, but in many other ways; no.

  1. On Friday evening I took the train intending to have a smooth journey home, and to get an early night in before the wedding festivities. However my train was delayed in Newcastle for over two hours so I missed all my connecting trains… The signal failure was due to deliberate vandalism! I was not happy.
  2. After sitting in the station for an extended period of time I eventually made it to York station on a packed train. As I had missed all my connecting trains I had to rush here and there to find trains which would hopefully get me to my home town that day. Luckily I brought a tiny suitcase which I could run with! I ended up in Leeds late into the evening, and reached Sheffield at past midnight.
  3. As it got later and later I realised I would not be getting home that day. The train carriage was filled with drunken revellers on their way home from a night out, and the noise gave me a headache. Trains from Sheffield to Leicester only ran on the hour and I had missed all of those for that day, thus meaning I would have to wait till morning. So frantically using the last of my battery on my phone, I searched for hotels near Sheffield train station so that I could rest up. I found a cheap-ish hotel which was close by and power walked to it. Being alone in a strange city late at night was very scary, especially because I was tired, frustrated and upset.
  4. As I checked into the hotel I could feel my body relaxing a little. There was nothing else I could do about the situation so the least I could do was get some much needed rest in the hotel. The room was really modern and the king-sized bed was super comfortable! The waterfall shower was very soothing and it felt amazing to wash the evening of travel off. I had been reassured by the train conductor that I could use my tickets the next day and not have to pay for new ones, so I slept soundly till morning.
  5. On Saturday morning I woke up feeling refreshed after such a manic evening, and got ready to travel home. The trains to Leicester were much more frequent than the previous night and were much quicker journeys! Within an hour and 15 minutes I was safely back in Leicester and I got picked up by my brother. I was very much relieved to be back and to have the ordeal over with!

I feel like every time I face a hardship I can learn from it. I also thank God that it was not as bad a situation as it could have been. Although I did get upset at the time, I also was able to find a way out and to make the most of a bad event. The night alone in a hotel gave me some time to reflect on my evening, and to realise that I am stronger than I perceive myself. My independence has made me a more well-prepared person, and I can deal with tough situations. Hopefully I can continue to grow and learn through my struggles and to empower myself more from the lessons I receive.

01:51

‘Travel takes control away from us, exposing our weakest points. We are acutely aware of our vulnerability. We are naive, unaccustomed, unacquainted, unversed. We are ignorant, roaming in the darkness of the unfamiliar. We are lonely, lost, disoriented. Travel pushes us across the chasm. We are moved to explore the mysterious, to confront our fear, to venture beyond the challenging, cryptic crevasses of our path.’

Steve Zikman

Travelling blues.

22:06

‘Travel takes control away from us, exposing our weakest points. We are acutely aware of our vulnerability. We are naive, unaccustomed, unacquainted, unversed. We are ignorant, roaming in the darkness of the unfamiliar. We are lonely, lost, disoriented. Travel pushes us across the chasm. We are moved to explore the mysterious, to confront our fear, to venture beyond the challenging, cryptic crevasses of our path.’

Steve Zikman

I think I’ve been consumed with wanderlust. Being in a new environment and being able to explore is so refreshing and novel. The end of August cannot come soon enough!

00:31

‘When I say I want to travel I don’t mean I want to stay at resorts and go on tours with tour guides or buy key chains from souvenir shops. I don’t want to be a tourist. When I say I want to travel I mean I want to explore another country and become part of it. I want to discover small coffee shops in Germany and Italy and France. I want to walk on beaches in Australia and browse the book stores of England. I want to hike the Great Wall of China and go cliff diving in Hawaii. I want to meet people who are not like me, but people who I can like all the same. I want to take pictures of things and places and people I meet. I want my mind to be in constant awe of life on earth. I want to see things with new eyes. I want to look at a map and be able to remember how I was transformed by the places I’ve been to, the things I’ve seen and the people I’ve met. I want to come home and realize that I have not come home whole but have left a piece of my heart in each place I have been. This, I think, is what is at the heart of adventure and this is why I plan on making my life one.’

Cassie – theressomethingaboutasunrise.tumblr.com

I think this post perfectly summed up my travels. In each place I went to I didn’t want to do the tourist-y things but to really delve into the culture and truly live as part of that country.

I have come home enriched with knowledge and an understanding of other cities/countries. I can’t wait to travel again!