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Archive for July, 2013

An article (from Thought Catalog) was shared on Facebook a couple weeks ago, entitled “How to Travel”. I’m immediately drawn to these suckers, like a moth to a flame. It had some “contrarian advice” and so I thought, hmmm, OK let’s hear it. I like to be challenged about travel. I’ve turned to Alan De Boutin’s Art of Travel on a number of occasions to try to dampen the deep burning desire inside me to wander further around the planet.

I laughed my way through, seeing myself in many of the observations. A few to mention:

Things I agreed with…

The purpose of travel, like all important experiences, is to improve yourself and your life. It’s just as likely — in some cases more likely — that you will do that closer to home and not further.

This I do agree with (the purpose, at least) and I’m excited and curious to explore the theory that you are more likely to be able to do it at home. This weekend, whilst standing in a crowded sweaty tube for eight stops on the Central line, I cast my eye around with these wise words in my mind. I imagined I was travelling in a metro in Spain (as most of my tube neighbours were Spanish) and I realised that I can learn the art of patience and acceptance right there in that carriage, rather than making the journey to Madrid (where the carriage would be air conditioned, so not quite so challenging…)

Instead of doing a TON of stuff. Pick one or two things, read all about those things and then actually spend time doing them.

Yes, this I’m learning over time. I’m still keen to commit to memory the guidebook (something not advised in the article) and jam-pack every day with every possible thing when I get to a new city, but I’m trying to tame that beast and learning to chill when the wheels hit the runway. Cool and interesting things happen when they’re not planned. Streets you turn down, bars you head into. And if you’re looking and appreciating the ordinary, you can often find interesting things that you weren’t expecting.

Things I agreed with yet didn’t want to admit it…

“you don’t magically get a prize at the end of your life for having been to the most places”

And yet I feel it is a competition, I hate to admit it but I do get an immense satisfaction of being to the most places and feel competitive with my other travel-hungry friends…

“There are just as many idiots living in Rome as there are at home.”

This is hilarious, and true. But I’m not seeking out the idiots. Or maybe I am, I mean they’ll be Italian idiots, which could be interesting! I’m seeking out the colourful, the curious, and the other people who are seeking those colourful and curious people. And, for perhaps a split second, whilst on the road, I AM one of those people (or I could be the idiot…)

Things I disagreed with…

“It’s hard for me to see anything to envy in most people who travel. Because deep down that is what they are doing. Fleeing themselves and the lives they’ve created.”

I don’t agree that I’m fleeing the life I have at home. I love my life at home. I love living in the UK, I love our weather, our pub culture, our unique-Britishness, the queues, the desperate embracement of a heatwave (jumping in fountains, sunbathing on roundabouts – or anywhere with grass, suddenly everyone becomes super friendly…), our obsession with tea, our dry sense of humour… I am certainly not fleeing a life at home, more heading out into the world to experience others. Coming home is one of my favourite things.

Advice: Ignore the temptation to a) talk and tell everyone about your upcoming trip b) spend months and months planning.

To me, the hours of planning, the conversations with friends, with strangers, about where and when to go next, the things I could see, the possibilities and adventures I could have… that’s the start of the trip, to be savoured and rolled around the tongue as much as the adventure itself. The possibility is sometimes the best bit – it’s the chase, the fantasy. I say get uncontrollably caught up and in love with this part of the journey, don’t “just go”, make it last.

So, we’re in July, and it’s been a month and a half since I last was in a plane. After the first six months of 2013 being a non-stop hop around the world, from Costa Rica to Las Vegas to New York to Tobago to Thailand to Lisbon to Sweden, I’ve had a good spin on the Wanderlust roundabout, and yet here I am feeling restless again! It feels like AGES since I was last away and it was only a month ago!! This article has made me stop to think. I can have adventures here, and I will focus on that (at least until the end of next month, when I have honeymoon number 2 to treasure), and if nothing else helps, it may be time to blow the dust off my Alan De Boutin again…

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This year is ALL about the good stuff. Love, love everywhere, it’s in the air, it’s along the strip, on the beaches, by the lake and rolling of the oceans. At least for my nearest and dearest, that is. We are just over half way through the year, and I am a mere seven weeks from my own “big day” and already I have been to five wonderful weddings. I have one more to attend the week before my own, and then a further three that I know of before the end of 2013. Wowsers.

And as I approach my own wedding I really get an appreciation for each and every wedding day, all unique, all having so much effort poured into it by the couple, and all with their own suprises.

The smorgasboard of weddings that I have had the pleasure of attending this year have led from the glitz and neon of Las Vegas, with Elvises (yes, multiple) and a pink cadillac, to a beautiful Oxford garden wedding with performances in a round house and tightropes, unicycles and hula hoops, to ceilidh on the isle of Guernsey, to a hymn-kareoke Cromer-Brazillian wedding in windswept Norfolk to a Swedish wedding in a castle by the lake with moose and wild boar in the surrounding parklands… it’s been a blast!

And much of my year has been about the big “W”. Trying not to become that bridezilla that I’ve heard about, trying not to obsess, trying to stick to budget, trying to keep everything co-ordinated and realistic. But it’s a tricky biscuit. It’s throwing the biggest party of your life, with all the people you care about the most on the planet. And you’ll be standing across the way from the one you have decided to spend the rest of your life with, gazing into their eyes, telling them you’re together, forever… It’s a big deal.

Luckily I’ve had the help of four of the most fabulous best friends a gal can have, calming me, encouraging me, humouring my crazy ideas and initial lack of direction. They’ve tirelessly made miles of bunting, planned activities, built props and pinwheels and advised on dresses, attire, the whole shebang. They rock.

And I’ve discovered the joy of the internet. Pinterest to collect my ideas or flowers, cakes, up-dos, natural make up, I’ve ordered heart shaped hole punches, rubber stamps, brown luggage labels for place holders, blue and silver sugared almonds, glow in the dark balloons, sparklers, a fire pit (!), canisters of helium, blackboards, wedding underwear, rainbow wellies…. you name it, it’s probably arrived at my poor unsuspecting mum’s house in big boxes…

And now I have three weekends, back in Essex meeting, coordinating, making, doing and mending, to finalise and primp my big day. It’s going to be here in a quick flash, and then gone into the wind. And it’ll be one of those sweet and crazy days in 2013, the year of many wonderful weddings, all new beginnings, new chapters and new adventures that lie ahead…

Wedding in Las Vegas

Wedding in Las Vegas

Tightrope bride

Tightrope Bride

Sparkly hair band

Bit of bling

Wedding in Guernsey

Guernsey Wedding

Cromer wedding

Cromer wedding

Love bug wedding

Love bug wedding

Swedish church

Swedish church

Swedish wedding

Swedish wedding

By the lake in Sweden

By the lake in Sweden

Letter stamps

Making placeholders

Place holders

Place holders

spreadsheet

The wedding spreadsheet

Bunting

Bunting

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