England and Scotland that is! It’s been a fair while since my last blog, and although I have had plenty of time on the internet of late, I guess I’ve been pretty busy at the same time and have been brainlessly and aimlessly browsing rather than blogging.
My time in New York ended with me feeling quite bereft after my good friend Jo went back to Perth. It’s a dangerous thing, having the comfort of a friend from home, then being cast adrift again. After staying in Manhattan with Jo for a week, I moved to a hostel in Williamsburg (Brooklyn) for the remaining 8 days. I ended up seeing some more amazing sights, making some new friends and getting back into the swing of travelling on my own again. When I was in Spain 3 years ago, I met my friend Becca who is an American living in Spain. We were in each other’s company for a grand total of 5 or 6 days, but we have been snail mail penpals ever since (albeit somewhat intermittently from both ends hehe). When she saw on facebook that I was in Brooklyn, she contacted her little sister and asked her if she had any time to show me around. Her little sis was so lovely and invited me to a party at her place (where I kissed my one and only boy since being away…!), and took me out for dinner in Park Slope. Really appreciated her openness. Looking back, I can honestly say that being in New York City for 2 weeks was one of the highlights of… my life! To see my New York City photos, go here.
I flew from New York to London, landing in the early hours of Sunday morning and arriving on the brink of madness at my friends’ apartment in Hoxton. Bianca and Nick are two of my oldest friends… I started working with Bianca when we were 15 and I met Nick at my 18th birthday party where I vomited on his shoes and got kicked out … nice. I stayed at their place for a week and after walking around New York for around 10 – 12 hours each day for two weeks, and moving nearly every day in New Zealand for over a month, I spent most of my days lying around their house while they were at work. We made dinners for each other most nights, and they went out of their way to show me around their neighbourhood and introduce me to the new friends they’ve made in London. It was a lovely week. Amidst the rest and recreation though, was a fruitless search for Speech Pathology work. I was going to stay in London if a job came up, but when none were forthcoming I decided to try my luck in Edinburgh before the festival.
After staying with Bi and Nick, I moved slightly south of Hoxton to Herne Hill, which is where my old housemate and good friend lives. She had just moved into her new sharehouse the day before I arrived, and she was still nice enough to let me stay in her room for four days! I won’t go into detail, but when her and I lived together neither of us were going through the best periods in our lives. It was so nice to catch up with her and share our philosophies on relationships and friendships, as well as our music collections! There’s just something about sleeping in the same room as a friend that leads to late night crying-with-laughter sessions… so good.
I departed Herne Hill bound for Harwich in Essex for the christening of Allie Jo Simpson; my cousin Vicky’s daughter. I first went to Essex by myself i.e. without my immediate family, in 2009. Prior to that I hadn’t seen them since I was a young kid. I stayed with Vicky and her husband Clark, and everyone had a great time at the ceremony and at the party afterwards. I love seeing my family and hearing stories about my parents… and also fufilling my role as an annoying Aunty/second cousin chasing the kids around and bugging them to have photos with me… can’t wait to see them some more.
After catching a train back to London and getting my luggage, it was off to Edinburgh via Peterborough and Durham. I caught up with one of the guys I met on the Kiwi Bus and did the Tongariro Crossing with in New Zealand; we had a coffee at the train station and it was interesting and nice to hear how he was going after getting home. I was grateful for the caffeine hit as I left Peterborough on the leg of the journey that saw me arrive in Durham. As I’ve mentioned previously, I lived in Durham for about 2 months, 2 years ago. I stayed there for two nights at a really nice B&B (my first B&B ever!), and caught up with friends that I had lived with (and who hung out in the house that I lived in!). I was really touched that everyone came out to have drinks, go out for lunches and have me around for dinner.
I was a bit nervous as I left Durham and took the East Coast train up to Edinburgh. I remember looking out of the right hand window of the train the first time I took that trip… it was late afternoon and there was a village sitting on the coast with a backdrop of beautiful dramatic clouds over the misty ocean… I’ll never forget that view. And when I arrived in Edinburgh I kind of fell in love with it; I remember walking around thinking ‘beautiful’ in my head over and over. So, it’s kind of hard to relive those moments again. I was also largely there during the Fringe Festival. This time did have a bit of a different vibe, and there was an undercurrent of seriousness throughout my first week because I was quite desperately looking for a job. The stress of depleted funds combined with staying in the worst hostel I’ve ever experienced, meant that I had a second ‘down’ point in my trip. I moved out of my awful hostel and moved to the BEST hostel I’ve ever stayed at, on the Royal Mile. I made some friends for a few days, found a flat to lease until the end of July, and moved in.
And then… da DAAAAAA…. as soon as I moved into my flat, I got a phonecall from my recruitment agent telling me he had a job near Doncaster in Yorkshire (around 3 hours train ride south of Edinburgh).
Which is a story for another time…
In reflection, it’s interesting how your identity as a traveller changes depending on the situations of the people around you and what your own objectives are. Being on the move and being with people who are in their comfort zone is quite different to meeting people when they’re moving around too. Still good, just different and requiring a lot of adjustments in quick succession.