Away and Back Again

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I recently returned from a long weekend holiday in London, England. I took daily notes in a travelogue, of sorts, just because I wanted to keep the memories of the little things I experienced, and writing them down always helps. Some folks wanted to see my handwritten notes, though they are mostly illegible. Still, I’ll share a few highlights. (Typed translations included to read my scrawl):

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Our first chuckle came at Immigration, when the officer asked what we are going to do while here in the UK. I said, “Pubs and walking,” and he replied, “I like the sound of the first one! The second one, not so much.”

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Did the walk past Buckingham Palace and Westminster (where we got lost), on our way to Cask. There, I had a tall, refreshing Rothaus Wheat and a burger that REALLY hit the spot.

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Coffee and tea at Kaffeine, along with some egg-and-salmon croissants that were quite tasty. From there, we planned a long-ish day of walking, up to the “Spaced” house in Islington. Walked through Kentish Town – which had some very trippy graffiti – and Camden, and found the old house in question, where husband got some pictures. We took a walk up to Hampstead Heath, as well, just because it was so close. Gorgeous windy day for the walking dogs!

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“Pissing rain” for part of the afternoon, but we got a reprieve with some very tasty – if pricey – sushi at Murakami. The soft-shelled crab was so good, we had to order 2! It was a bit too much to get dessert there, so we picked up some macarons and a parfait – and a few more beers to try – from Whole Foods, and went back to the hotel for an early night. A good thing, since we were both very tired and ended up sleeping for about 9 hours! Walking so many miles every day will do that, though.

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Walked by 10 Downing Street, but Larry was “napping.” We did see the Horse Guard’s Parade, or at least part of it.

Meeting Beth and Vanessa today. Very excited! I hope I don’t end up being a stereotype [sic] American and making an ass of myself.

Turned out, I didn’t have to worry! We had a very nice time chatting, drinking, and eating at Lowlander Cafe, a Belgian bar in Covent Garden. After, we had tea at Pret a Manger – which I’m still not certain how to pronounce – before we parted ways. I may need to go out to Kent next time, though.

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We travelled out to Brighton, on the coast. It’s very much a seaside town; parts of it reminded me of Harbram. We stopped for a pint at another chain-type pub, and after that took the bus out to The Seven Sisters cliffs. The train to Brighton was about an hour plus, and the bus ride just about an hour, as well, so it was mid-afternoon before we got to walk around the cliffs area. It was gorgeous, though, with sheep and cows and a real English countryside feel.

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I loved the vibe walking through the park. The parks were my favorite part of this trip, as they usually are for my vacations. Saw lots of birds and dogs, and it just felt so peaceful and welcoming.

Imperial was very much like home. The students and faculty walking around, doing university business, really made me feel like I belonged there. The bustle of Piccadilly was exciting, but the atmosphere around Imperial was much more my speed. I’m glad I got the chance to walk around the campus by myself before we left. I would definitely go back there and through Hyde Park, next time we’re in London.

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Hoping for a smooth plane ride home to Philadelphia. Meanwhile, story ideas are coursing through my head for the flight…. ❀


I appreciate how lucky I am to be able to travel and have experiences away from home. My family, friends, and colleagues all helped me prepare for, cope with, and enjoy this vacation, in a way I couldn’t have done were I alone. Even though I was supposed to be alone for a portion of this holiday, and I was looking forward to that me-time, I am glad that I got to experience it together with my husband, as it became something of a second honeymoon, for us. Adventures that take us to new places – and new places within ourselves – are exciting when we’re on our own…but they can also be so much more fulfilling when we have someone to share them with.

The crunch-time of vacation merrymaking didn’t allow for as much writing as I might have gotten were I by myself, but I did manage to finish the story linked to below on the plane ride home. It has nothing to do with vacationing, but I don’t know the next chance I’ll get to indulge myself in writing younger Rob, Paige, and Daniel.

“Just a Man”
[~6800 words / 26 pages DS; PDF opens in a new window]

Have you enjoyed any adventures, recently? What do you like best about vacations? What are your favorite (in)activities while on holiday? Do you keep a travelogue while you’re on the move?

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18 thoughts on “Away and Back Again

    • Thanks, Neeks! There’s something about new love that’s always so refreshing and fun to write, especially when it’s with characters I know well.

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    • Thanks! Yes, it was great to finally meet some Limebirds! It’s strange how online friends tend to meet only when someone travels from far away. The US is so geographically big, it can make meet-ups difficult, but I’ve had friends live three blocks away whom I never see because we always think, “Oh, we’ll get together later.” But we have to *make* those get-togethers happen, or they never will. I may have to make it my mission to connect in person with all of my Limebirds buddies. πŸ˜€

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  1. I’m so glad you got to meet up with Vanessa and Beth! And Vanessa may set the record for “most blogging buddies stopping by to visit.” πŸ˜‰ It helps to live in an area that so many people want to see!

    England’s a fabulous place, and if all works out, my husband and I will go to Ireland in 2017 with his sister and brother-in-law. That should be the next international adventure for us. The next domestic one will be returning to Washington State this summer where we honeymooned 25 years ago. πŸ™‚

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    • Those sound like great adventures to come, JM! Vacations are wonderful opportunities to recharge, as well as to make new memories. πŸ™‚

      Yes, Vanessa seems to be out in front of all of my blogger circle for catching up in person. πŸ™‚ Both Vanessa and Beth said they’d never met in person, only online, which got us to talking about how odd it is that we make our best efforts to meet only when someone from far away visits. Which made me think that we should totally grab coffee or something in DC sometime. You’re not that far away, and it seems silly that we’ve never shared a drink or sweet in person. πŸ™‚

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  2. It was so lovely to see you Mayumi, I was thinking more about it afterwards, and it’s nice now to hear a bit more about your trip than we heard at the time – I don’t think Beth and I let you say very much, we were chat chat chat! I know you probably don’t want to hear this, but it’s a shame you didn’t come a week later, the weather has really improved! Yesterday I actually spent some time sunbathing in my back garden in a swim suit. I know the weather is always unpredictable in England, but it really was unseasonably cold while you were here. Never mind, you didn’t let that stop you doing lots of things, plus you weren’t expecting good weather anyway!

    I hope you do come back another time, and like you say, come to visit Kent!

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    • That’s all all right, Vanessa. I always like to listen to people, especially when they have interesting things for me to learn! I have been thinking back on all of the funny little bits in our conversation that afternoon, too – so many of them still make me smile, over a week later! While the weather might have been a bit chilly (springtime seems to be unpredictable everywhere, in terms of weather), we were actually graced with a lot of sunshine during our stay. It just wasn’t as much fun to write that as it was to write “pissing rain.” πŸ™‚

      I may have to have another post sometime about the great museums we visited in London, but my favorite parts were the parks. My family enjoys visiting the cities, of course, but there is something much more natural and vacation-y about being outdoors. The Garden of England sounds like it should very well be our next point of visit!

      Thanks again for indulging me. πŸ™‚

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  3. I’m so psyched you got to meet Beth and Vanessa. Are they as amazing in real life as they are in blog life? πŸ˜‰ I’m hoping to make a trip to England in summer 2017 to visit my family, so it’s nice to read about your excursion and the various places you visited. Nice to see you back here!

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    • Beth and Vanessa treated me like an age-old friend, Kate. It was like going to a school reunion…with people I actually wanted to spend time with! πŸ™‚ You should definitely plan for some time to meet up with both of them when you visit, especially if you will be in a central location like London.

      We crammed an awful lot into a few short days, which is always the way with vacations to someplace new. It’s exciting, but I look forward to follow-up visits, when I can pick and choose the adventures with more knowledge.

      It’s been a busy semester, but that’s almost over, so I look forward to coming back to the blog with more gusto!

      Thanks for stopping by!

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    • The fallout of crushed (original) plans meant we spent more time together, but that actually made it into something of a second honeymoon for us. Not that I did not enjoy that one afternoon to myself, though, because I certainly did!

      Thanks for reading, spooney! These little adventures definitely made me consider new directions for some of my stories, some of which I hope to share. πŸ™‚

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    • It was brilliant, and I can’t wait to go back and visit again. I will definitely keep you in mind for a face-to-face catch-up, too! It would be fab to see more of the country, so I wouldn’t mind traveling out to your area, to see some other sights. πŸ™‚

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  4. This reads as an adventure from start to finish, and I love it! πŸ™‚ It’s been a good long time since I was in London, and your notes are wonderfully easy reading, and quite personable. Like a conversation in words. Plus, I think you are one of only a few people I know who writes in exclusive cursive.

    As for your writing, I found it an interesting look at Rob and Daniel’s blooming relationship, particularly the guilt of starting anew. Is it too soon? What will she say? Am I ready? All the questions that can cloud the mind when trying to put a life pack together are in here, I think. And the argument with Serena is real enough to hurt, so props there as well. It’s great to see you put more of their lives down to paper, and I always look forward to more!

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    • Thanks, Shade!

      I write in cursive when I need to get my thoughts down fast. Unfortunately, speed often leads to illegibility. πŸ˜‰ I had a splendid time in London, and I’m looking forward to when I can return, to have more little adventures!

      Rob’s story – as it flows between Daniel’s and Paige’s – is one of the few purely joyous things I allow myself to write, without thinking about conflict, plot, or arc. It’s simply a very straightforward writing endeavor. Not worthy of publishing for anybody but me, but a real joy for me to indulge in. πŸ™‚

      Thanks again for popping by!

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