One year later, I’m nearing the completion of my academic education after 20 years. Most people would likely want to finish strong and power to the end – I was still spending class time looking for good deals on airline tickets. However, after months of dedication, my efforts paid off! I may not be able to give you an in-depth description of regression analysis or Stark Law, but I can sure tell you how to get the best deals on your flights – real life skills.
Southwest had one of their yearly sales, so I managed to get round trip tickets from Dallas to Boston for $100. From there, I found direct flights to London for $300 on Delta. Not a bad find. But since they weren’t connected flights, there were somewhat longer layovers; a small price to pay as a budget traveler.
I spent the weeks leading up to my trip convincing friends and classmates that I was ACTUALLY going this time.
“That’s nice…” They would say unbelievingly.
But come December 6, I finished my last class, packed up my stuff and moved it up to Fort Worth. The next day, I was on a plane to Boston!
Since I had a nearly five-hour layover in Boston and the city was a quick, free bus ride from the airport, I decided to spend a few hours walking around. Normally, I try to reach out to friends who are in the area I’m visiting to see if they’d like to meet up. But since this was a quick trip, I opted instead for a mobile tour via text given by a friend living just outside Boston who recently had a baby. Top recommendations were the Oyster Bar and Mike’s Pastries for the Cannoli.
Did you know that simply by being kind and personable to others nets you dividends in more ways than one? Not only did eat some of the best clam chowder I’ve ever had, but I made a good friend out of the manager at the Oyster Bar who sent me on my way with a large, complimentary box of freshly baked cornbread for the plane ride over.
If you’ve ever taken a long haul flight, or any flight, you’ve likely been in the position of having an empty middle seat next to you and watching the boarding passengers in anticipation as they near your seat. You silently pray that they will continue past you and ruin someone else’s prayer behind you. Sadly, I was forsaken this time as one of the last passengers sat next to me. This must have been one friendship that was not meant to be. I could not overcome my feelings of resentment for his unfortunate seat placement, and he did not appreciate how much of the cornbread I was eating mid-flight was ending up in his seat (the better the cornbread, the more crumbly, and this was some of the best).
My flight departed at 7 PM and landed 7 AM the next day. A six hour flight with a six hour time time. Due to my inability to sleep and desire to watch 3 movies instead, I didn’t sleep. But when I landed, I hit the ground running by meeting up with my good friend Kellie, who is studying at Uni (as the locals call it). She gave me a quick tour around the campus and then we went for a lovely walk through this wide-open field. The kind of field you see on those BBC shows where there’s a murder scene in a big field and it’s windy and overcast and no one looks like they’ve had their breakfast.
We took the Underground (as the locals call it) into London and then attempted to cram a week’s worth of sightseeing into a day. So as not to bore you with the agenda, I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves.
By this point, it was nearly 5 and I had been awake for nearly 36 hours. After an unintentional nap at the National Gallery, we headed to Westminster Abbey to attend Mass. Feeling fatigued, it didn’t occur to me that attending Mass meant sitting in a chair for nearly an hour with mood lighting and lulling Gregorian chants and choirs a part of the program. If not for Kellie nudging me every time we stood up to chant, I could have come off as very disrespectful…
As our night drew to a close, we sought out the right bus that would take me to my hostel. We found a shortcut which required us to walk through a deserted park with lots of trees and no lighting. 50 feet in, we were startled by a sudden movement to our right as a squatting woman pulled up her leggings and ran out of the park. We made a wider arc around the tree and hurried out.
As I bid farewell to Kellie and entered the hostel, I was invited to join the all-night rager being thrown in the lobby. I told them to just give me my key and that I didn’t want to join their stupid party (under my breath but I was so tired and unaware that they probably heard me anyways).
35,000 steps (20 miles) and 40 hours later, I went to bed, ending the first part of my journey.
Part III continues in Paris