Beginning my trip on the winter solstice may have been the most happy of accidents, to date. No, I didn’t schedule around it on purpose. I just wanted to be settled in my home from home before Christmas Day.
I chose a direct flight, overnight, via American Airlines and tucked myself in the very last seat on the plane. That, I found, is a very good place for me to be, if/when flying solo. The cabin lighting was a festive red/green to start and was timed with duration of the flight to simulate the night sky and then the rising sun. It was such a nice touch and given that my overall excitement kept me from sleeping, I got to witness it all as it happened. The turbulence was a bit more turbulent at the back of the plane (and I didn’t realize my seat would recline until the return flight) but it was WELL worth the trade off of being able to get up anytime I needed, to stretch, use the facilities and refresh my beverages 😉 . All of that, easily done, without disturbing those around me and rendered what was left of my inner anxious traveler, speechless.
My seatmate was quiet but friendly (could have been mistaken for Charlie Hunnam) and much to my delight became social enough on our approach to London to raise the window shade just in time to enjoy flying over the first sights of the city. Seeing all of the wonders I’d only ever seen on television brought the widest of smiles to my face (a feeling I now find commonplace) and thrills to my heart. Even though I knew I wouldn’t have many, if any, footfalls in London itself, seeing it from above was INCREDIBLE.
After landing, the trip through Heathrow Terminal 3 was surprisingly quick and the arrival gate, with all it’s excitedly welcoming faces, caught be by surprise. It was pretty darn close to the way The Prime Minister describes it in Love Actually. There were loads of flowers, signs, joy filled greetings and love was tangibly in the air! A tone for my trip had already been set and I couldn’t have been happier.
Booking a bus to Nottingham was my next task and that also went very smoothly. I had a break of a few hours to walk around a while, stretch and hydrate. My first purchases were made and they included a Cherry Pepsi Max (ok, not hydrating but the H2O was eventually had, I promise) and a protein bar. It was the perfect amount of fuel for the journey ahead.
A National Express bus was the mode of transportation to Nottingham and I found it so relaxing to, once again, store my heavy rolling bag under the bus and make my way to it’s back corner, another great choice for me, personally. It was right at a 3 hour journey, given all the stops we made and I am 💯 certain my mouth was agape in awe at the English countryside/smaller town sites/sounds the entire time.
Ricky, a fellow passenger from the Linton to Milton Keyes stops, regaled me with many stories spanning his 10 year residency in Holland which included educating me in the vastness of the marijuana trade. Needless to say, that stretch of travel, I was focused on the conversation and completely missed the view but was no less entertained.
The sun had set by the time I was dropped off at the Nottingham NE bus station and I was on my own to find my way to the room I had booked at the Best Western Plus on Wollaton. Though I could make that walk a thousand times now, that night, it took longer than I would have liked. The added weight of my luggage didn’t make it any the easier BUT after about 30min, I arrived, red faced and no doubt disheveled to the most hospitable of greetings by Anais and Paul, who quickly became a few of my favorite faces (more on them later).
After a brief (and comical) introduction to my room, 506, and a complete unpacking later, I was very ready to settle in to an early night’s sleep. Yes, completely unpacking, no matter how brief my stay might be, is just the way that I prefer things. After a prayer of gratitude and giant inhale/exhale, good rest found me.
The pace of my entire trip was set this on this, Day 1, and following the unhurried course of it led to the almost constant, Cheshire Cat like, grin my face held each day and much peace/joy in my heart.
I can’t wait to share more with you all, very soon ❤
Can wait to hear more!
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