If you were to ever ask me, what is that one thing that you need when you are stepping out of the house, I would say, A Plan. A plan is what forms the base of everything that we do in the upcoming moment. Whether you visit the local market or you bag pack in Europe, it is always advisable to have a plan. In fact, the kind of organized traveller that I am, I do not move around much without a plan. From safety guidelines to my rucksack ration, from railway pre-bookings to accommodation reviews I ensure I have ticked everything on my checklist. Many would even agree that at times the plan of the trip is much more exciting than the trip itself. Thanks to my obsessive compulsions of planning, I recall some great memories of planning long trips with my besties and then be full of pride for being detailed and accurate.
But what if there is no worked out plan? What if there is a travel but not a plan? Till about July, nothing like this existed in my dictionary of travel, I was always the one who carried a dairy and a pen, I am the note making nerd of my own life and may be for a few others around. But sometimes, opportunities knock midnight and take you away from your ‘to be done’ bucket list and show you the reality in the nick of time that there is hardly any time left for planning.
My first ever travel to England is a true story depicting this situation. I applied for the visa, I got the visa, I booked my tickets and I flew. Short and crisp as it may sound, it was in reality hectic and a pain. There was no realization of the events that were unfolding at the speed of light, there was no excitement of an organized and ‘enlisted’ packing. With all my anxiety, which is not the best feeling, and my sleeplessness I flew out of India within two days.
The British Airways flight to London was my only sleep in the past few days but the connecting flight to New Castle seemed inaccessible after I landed in London. Till now I had only heard of the UK Border Agency being hard on the visitors, but I soon became a victim. The immigration clearance was no less than an interrogation. A scary experience; it seems like they want you to break down in some way. Some do break down, but I had no reason to break. After all, it is only the next few months that I am going to spend in this country which is so ‘Great’! What else is great here so far is the weather and the roads and the parks spread out for acres and the radio that plays Coldplay once in a while.
My next few posts will take you through the England that I will be exploring in the next few months. These may not sound like the adventure that I usually indulge in but it will definitely be a new perspective of looking at this part of the world. Many of these places are a popular spot with the local residents, they do not necessarily bloat up to the tourist maps but there lies the whole idea – be not the tourist, but the traveller; know thy countrymen and not just the country!
In the next few months, I would be found taking road trips, visiting local grocery stores, taking a summer holiday in Scotland, visiting a gurudwara in Europe, cycling in the countryside, catching a local bus to the city center, teaching Mathematics to a young Indian kid, practicing yoga in the backyard of my home stay and many more regular things which become interesting due to change of place.
Below are the links to days of my life that have been beautifully europified !