Pictures from trip

I posted the pictures from my trip to England to my Shutterfly account as well as the ones from my trip to Oakland.

The password is: italia


Bath take two

Today I slept in later than I intended to. After I arrived Monday night, I organized and went to sleep. I woke up around 2:30 to 3:30 and was up. I started drifting back to sleep, but I made myself get up because I was trying to make the 10:30 free city walk. I did not make it, which is why I did the later one. Tuesday night I ended up staying up until 1:00 or 2:00. My mind wouldn’t turn off. But I had to wake up early to go on the tour. Today, I had some loose ideas of what to do, but I had nothing firm.


I think I ended up leaving the house around 11:00. I decided to go to the Jane Austen Center. Originally, I was going to go on Tuesday, but since I had to rearrange that day, I couldn’t get the timing right. I am glad I went. The location is not in one of the several places she actually lived in while in Bath, but one of the known residences is up the street (25 Gay Street). I knew some details about her life, but the videos and intro talk introduced some new facts. In some ways, I have understood the psychology of her writing. I would like to read her books again with a fresh new perspective. I can also totally see her in the Assembly Room I went to a few days ago. And her books become more alive.


I was going to attempt to get a ticket for a 2:00 tour of Stonehenge. It wasn’t sold out, and I could have made it, but I couldn’t get my mind to go. I kept stopping, and in the end, I didn’t feel like it was where I should go. I also concluded it is something I could do during my time in London if I really want to go.


I ended up journaling in a square for a while. Mainly about the trip, but over the course of the next week or so, I will do my yearly State of My Life debrief. LOL! It helps me put things into perspective.


While I was journaling, there was a street musician playing in the square. I have noticed a series of musicians performing in several squares during my time here. When he was setting up, I heard him speaking and thought, ‘Oh, he’s from my side of the pond.’ He spoke between songs. This guy was from Toronto. He has been traveling the world for eight years as a street musician. He made the comment about people asking him about the financial security of his lifestyle. But then he commented that most of his friends back home were two paychecks from being homeless. It puts things in perspective. The guide from yesterday, Colin, seems to be retired from the corporate world but still doing some odd jobs here and there for income. The guide from Tuesday is retired (he and his wife retired and moved from London after their kids were grown). In the long-term, I would like to be able to retire from corporate America early and do odd jobs for income and travel. But for me, at this point in my life, planning financially is important. The performer from today also mentioned missing home and going back once a year. I would like to balance travel and being at home. It’s these stories that inspire me to set the vision and work toward it.


I did some walking around and went to Green Park and then a market near there. It is colder today, and I bought some gloves because I know it will be colder next week. I meant to pack my gloves (and scarf) just in case but forgot. I paid 3 pounds for them. I also discovered a really cool record store.


I decided to go to choral evensong tonight at the abbey. It was quite nice. I forgot to mention the kneelers in the church in Stow-on-the-Wold. There is a group of women known as the “Kneeler Group” who meet most weeks to make them. The kneelers always remind me of the episode of Seinfeld where Tim Whatley converts to Judaism from Catholicism. Tim then begins telling a bunch of Jewish-themed jokes, and Jerry is bothered as a comedian. Jerry then goes to Tim’s former church to talk to Tim’s former priest and issue a complaint. When he enters the confessional box, he sits on the kneeler. When the priest comes in to hear from Jerry, he tells Jerry, “You know that’s a kneeler,” and Jerry is like “Oh.” It was funny.


Then back here to start getting organized and packed. Tomorrow the next phase of my journey begins!


To tell you a little bit about my neighborhood. I can catch the 6 or 6A here. I can also catch the 7 but walk a little further. I established a pattern of walking down to the city center (about 20 minutes) in the morning and then taking a short bus ride here at night. It’s an Airbnb. The hostess is wonderful. I am currently sitting at the table typing and drinking tea. She is on her couch watching TV and drinking tea. This has been our rhythm for the last three nights intermixed with conversation here and there.


I have discovered that I am an extroverted traveler. I have always marveled about how I openly engage with people when I travel and meet tons of new folks. At home, I have “stranger danger” in the worst way. I realized that even as an introvert, I do get some energy from engaging with people. I guess work gives me the energy I need to survive. LOL.


I had a thought today that everything is closer than I think. It came out of nowhere, and I am not sure what it means. The last time this sort of thing happened to me was the “Prepare for winter” (way before Game of Thrones) thought.


Edits when I get home.





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Greetings from England

Greetings from England. I am currently in Bath.


I flew out Sunday and arrived Monday. I headed to Bath from London Heathrow. In retrospect, it would have been better to fly into Bristol because it is closer to Bath. I am not sure what the price differential in the price of the ticket would have been. I did call, but I couldn’t get past the change fee to get that far.


I am staying at an AirBnB. The woman I am staying with is very friendly and helpful. The location is great. I walk down to the city center, but I take the bus back up the hill. I arrived in Bath around 8:45 p.m., and it was dark. I was able to find the bus to get me here, and I knew the stop with the help of fellow passengers. Then there was an aha moment where I knew where to go. It got me thinking about the pros/cons of traveling on your own vs. joining a tour.


Although I had been to the Central Bus Station at the airport, it did take me a minute to remember where it was.


The pros of the tour: most tour companies will pick you up from the airport, so if you are in a new place, you don’t have to figure it out. There is also of course not having to find where you stay. Most will also have advance tickets to tourist locations so there is no waiting in line.


Then there are cons. I hate itineraries that are one night here, two nights there, one night there, etc. That s exhausting, especially when you are getting up early in the morning to head out early. You never have time to settle in. Then there is the single supplement. Some tour companies will match you with a fellow single. Others will automatically charge you a supplement. There were actually two tours that interested me, but the single supplement put them way outside my comfort zone. Especially when I planned this trip to one of the most expensive countries because of the exchange rate for way less. But I digress.


During the Roman times, Bath was called Aquae Sulis. So the first place I went was the Roman Baths. It is always interesting to me how many layers of previous inhabitants are under our feet. A few things stuck out to me on about the Romans Bath. One is the idea of memory. I have mentioned before that modern man has many ways for the world to know we exist be it social media, pictures, etc. Back in the day, people created monuments to say who they were, and what they did to leave their mark. The other part were the “curse” tablets offered to the gods. Some where quite funny. One woman who had gloves stolen wished that the person who stole them would lose their mind. Another wished the person who stole something would be “utterly accursed” and listed a name of possible suspects.


I also went into the Pump Room. I literally finished a book last week that was set in Bath. There is a scene where the polished villain went there, so I wanted to check it out. It is exactly how I pictured it.


I also went to the Bath Abbey. The church is well lit because 80 percent of the building is windows. I was there during the hourly prayer by Father Robin, who I had a chance to talk to and pray with later, that was very timely. He prayed for world leaders that they would have integrity in motive, think of the well being of all, and be salt and light. Amen.


I am not sure if any of you follow Humans of New York on Facebook and/or Instagram. If you don’t, I would recommend it. Right not Brandon is in Rwanda and is sharing stories from people who survived the genocide. I think back to slavery, the holocaust, Rwanda (and too many more to name) and think about what is happening today in South Africa and Myanmar and wonder why we make people subhuman. In American slavery, slaves were 3/5 of a person. So not human. In Rwanda, the Tutsis were called cockroaches.


As I mentioned, I spoke with Father Robin. He offered to talk and pray for anyone who wanted it. As most of you know, my mom passed away in August. It has had a weird impact on my current state of mind.  So I was able to speak out what I have been feeling with someone with no vested interest or history to the situation. Purpose. Mission. Passion. Calling.

I struggled with coming on this trip, so everything from buying my ticket to finding places to stay were very last minute. In the end, I thought unplugging from the Matrix would be good but did worry I would end up feeling more alone and confused. I am hopeful that I am exactly where I am supposed to be at this exact moment in time even if I feel like I am so far off course.

I did a free two-hour walking tour of Bath. It is worth the time. If you are visiting Bath, look up The Mayor’s Corps of Honorary Guides. The guides are all volunteers. Groups meet outside the Pump Room. There were a lot of people, and we broke into three groups. My guide, Andy, was very knowledgeable and clearly had a love of the city and history. One of the women who joined the tour was a fellow American. She had been here six months ago on a photo trip. She had done a program called “A Year with My Camera.” I am going to look it up when I get home. The next session starts in January. As part of the tour, we went to but not in The Circus and Royal Crescent. We also went to the Fashion Museum and into the Assembly, Tea, and Card rooms. Having read too many period pieces, I can totally picture scenes in each room.


I also went to Pulteney Bridge, which is basically a bunch of shops built over a bridge.


If I had one piece of advice, I would say buy your train/bus tickets as soon as you firm up plans. The prices I originally saw for certain times increased as time went by. I could have saved around $80 had I committed to times earlier. But of course wait until you know for sure!


As always, I will edit when I get back!



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