January 23, 2018. 9:30pm. Orlando, Florida. I offer up my passport and in return I receive a plane ticket. I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t nervous the moment the boarding pass grazed my hand. I had not been to Europe since the summer of 2016 for my 50 day backpacking trip, haven’t seen one of my best mates in what felt like ages, and mostly, I knew after getting on this plane I did not have a return flight.
8 hours later I found myself in LGW airport with a probably unhealthy heart rate – there really was no turning back. Looking at our destinations on a map and how long it will take to travel, it’s like asking “What is this, A CENTER FOR ANTS?!” compared to the size of America. To travel from London > Brighton > New Forest > Durdle Door > Bath > London, it only takes around 7 hours to route and that’s from one coast to the next. UNREAL. It takes me 7 hours to leave Florida and reach the Florida – Georgia line.
As the first day began, I knew I made the right decision to take this vacay before moving to Australia. Not just for the adventure, but for the raw interaction and genuine feeling of picking up where I left off with another human being. Sometimes there are those people where there is no “goodbye,” it’s an extended “see ya later.”
Eclectic. Artsy. Hipster. Beachy. Filled with people who are daringly themselves, working to be independent artists and makers.
Although many of the food vendors and little tinker stores were closed when we visited, it still had a bunch of character to it. The white wash facade and bright Brighton Pier lights led us into the multiple arcade rooms and to the end where all the rides were. For a Florida girl who has only seen a pier that you can fish off of, this was pretty rad and cute. Kinda like I was in a movie. I can just picture a cool Summer night out on the pier with a group of friends and ice cream in hand, turning into long lasting memories.
The Lanes consists of twisting and turning alleyways housing a mad amount of jewelry stores, coffee shops, antiques, and boutiques. I felt like I was in a historic maze that would never end if I didn’t have a local bringing me left, right, right, left, then right, then left again and out into the city.
Redroaster Cafe: Recently remodeled, Redroaster Cafe was one of the most modern and beautiful cafes I’ve sat in (slightly reminds me of The Oxford Exchange back in Tampa??). Everything is slaaaaabs of marble with gold and foliage accents – definitely one of a kind. Plus, my bacon and egg butty was bomb. Even though the food and coffee makes the experience, for us it was conversing about whether or not failure is a good thing that made it all the more memorable and interactive. What do you think, is failure a good or bad thing?
I completely underestimated New Forest. This is a nature lover’s paradise. First off, it’s riddled with countryside cabins and homes built out of stone on acres of land. Staying in a farmhouse cabin made the experience all the much better – especially since I’m a country kinda gal 😉
Even after a good amount of rain, it didn’t hurt us to throw on some Wellies and trek through our Airbnb’s part of the forest. We (meaning I…) managed to get completely stuck up to my knees in a mud hole, sneak a peak of deer running away from our cackling, and the most magical part: WILD PONIES at a little watering hole.
It’s an understatement to say that the wild life is at your fingertips. Walking the trails off of Lyndhurst village, you have wild horses grazing the fields and possibly standing in front of your car until they please. If you’re as lucky as us, you’ll have a herd of cattle stop traffic for a good 5 minutes on the way back home!
DURDLE DOOR/MAN O’WAR BEACH
Ok. As a Florida girl who has never been to a beach thats not flat, this place was magical to me. The 180 degree view of the ocean from the cliffs never seems to be the same, no matter where you look. Water crashing through the door and against the grain of the rocks. I was actually shocked when I walked onto the beachfront and it wasn’t sand – it’s a mixture of smooth and weathered pebbles. My absolute favorite was the sound the waves made when they kissed the pebbles. It gave me goosebumps throughout my whole body, like experiencing your last first kiss.
I honestly did not know what to expect from Bath. All I knew what to look forward to was the Roman baths and that’s about it. I couldn’t picture the scenery in my head no matter how many times Jack would explain it to me… Yet his explanation was correct. Bath feels more like a college town fixed in an old neoclassical era, thanks to it’s beautiful architecture. There’s a light yellow wash on all of the buildings and everything is in walking distance (basically like all major cities in Europe – come on ‘Merica, step up your game). Being settled in a main city flat made that much easier as well 😉
When life gives you lemons, eat them. When life gives you raw, genuine, and unique friendships, keep and cultivate them with every ounce of your being.
While I enjoy that stomach-dropping feeling from turbulence, it was time for me to get off the plane and onto AUSTRALIA land. 28 hours in flights, 2 calendar days later, and lots of love from my Au Pair family, I have made it to Oz. Adventures to come xx