Tuesday, April 30, 2013

T-Minus... 1 DAY!!!

Well, at the risk of sounding anachronistic:

All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go...

I have been a whirlwind this past week.  Packed and re-packed.  Cleaned and re-cleaned.  Hassled with people to tie up loose ends at home and got my work shifted so that I could clear the decks for two weeks of uninterrupted bliss.

Ok, to some, climbing with a bunch of veteran hikers in the midst of a country known for cold, rainy weather might not be your idea of bliss.  To me - it's another adventure. :)  I'm really pushing myself as I'm out of shape and will be coming off a long trip/possible jet lag to get to the actual walk.  The best part, of course, will just be seeing friends I've never met before.

This is just a last "bon voyage" from your friend Joy saying, "keep it real"... and don't take any wooden tuna. I'll catchya on the flip side.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Ten Days

My life compresses.  Ten days.  I look around my house and see how much there is to do.  I think of the packing and the cleaning and the prepping.  

"I always leave stuff til the last minute," my friend Michael P. tells me.  Michael also takes rocks for his garden removed from holes of freshly dug graves.  

I couldn't handle the stress of a last-minute trip.  So, I stress for several months leading up to it instead!  

I wonder if Dawn is going to tell me where to meet her on Saturday for our walk.  I wonder if I am *really* prepared to walk if the weather is horrible (as it likely will be).  I wonder if I should rethink the light hiking pants and thermal underwear in lieu of heavier clothing.  I wonder if I need gaiters.  I wonder if I should toss out the idea of packing much at all and just buy things when I get there.

I think too much.

On the day of the trip, I know how it will go.  I will be on auto-pilot and I will get to Keswick and I will crash into the comfy bed that Pete and Marion (the B&B owners) have saved for me.  They are more friends than B&B owners.  

I will meet Sarn and it will be like no time has passed and we will catch up with each other and shop and sightsee.  We will relax into the scenery and the good will.  

I will do my best to have my date with St. John's church at dusk to meditate and pray and thank God for the ability to come to such a wonderful place every year.

I actually may have a date on Monday! Someone from Manchester.  I make a note to tell Sarn.

And I will see my heart friends Kim and Greg.  We will go to Yorkshire, sightsee, and hike.  

I smile thinking of all my plans and knowing that most of the time, nothing turns out exactly as planned and *usually* things go much better!  

I have a list of gifts I want to bring back for everyone.  Steve wants scotch, Shelly - something from the Beatles store.  Eva wants a keychain.  Bringing gifts is a way to connect my friends with the experiences I have and to share the love of travel.  And, most especially, my love of the UK. :)

I wonder how different this trip will be from the others.  Who I'll meet, and what I'll do.  Sometimes, I think that if people just traveled more there would be more understanding between us.  Maybe we wouldn't terrorize each other.

My friend, Brenda, tells me that Islam is inherently bad and that other cultures are geared toward hatred and mistrust.  She says she has experienced hatred from other cultures who would just as soon kill her as look at her.

I think to myself, I am so glad I go to the UK. It's like a pair of comfortable shoes. 

I recall the achingly cold day I spent in Ireland once.  Rain pouring in buckets.  And a sign:  Tea and scones.  Never more welcomed and never more appreciated.  A warm room filled with cheer and comfort on such a horrible day.

Perhaps that's all we're looking for.

A sign.