Traveling, Home – It’s All Good

Finally I made it to Wales! I hadn’t been there since November of 2019.

The pandemic definitely made travel difficult. I did get on a cruise end of last year, but that had been it. I had been waiting to get back to Wales since it opened back up.

Then the cousin I stay with renovated her house, then went on several vacations herself. Fall is the time I get contract work, so that was out. I was told all projects would be a done by Thanksgiving, but found out afterward they had a project for me after Thanksgiving.

I had to turn it down. I left for Wales Thanksgiving day.

It was so great to see my family and friends in Wales. I didn’t get to see everyone I wanted to see, but I spent two days with my aunt and time with one of my mom’s oldest friends and her husband.

I spent most of the time with my cousin Kerry, she who hosts me when I visit. We have the best time together, even if it is sitting around watching TV, drinking coffee, and eating chocolate. She and her family are great companions.

Her dad is a veteran and we attended several events with the veterans. It’s inspiring to see so many events that are open to them to attend.

We spent a day at the beach, where we saw a search for a man taking place – searchers on the ground, in a lifeboat, and in a helicopter. They found the guy, but curiously I have found no details about what happened, what condition he was in, etc. You know there’s a story there – even if the story is nothing happened!

And the World Cup! It was much more fun being there when it was going on compared to the US. It’s like the South during basketball season’s ACC tournament or the NCAA’s.

Kerry came back to London with me the day before I left so we could go to the ABBA Voyage show.

Have you heard about that show? It’s an amazing display of lights and technology. The ABBA members today did the singing and movement, but there are life-size avatars of them as they were 40 years ago.

There’s nothing like a whole arena of folks belting out “Dancing Queen” together with ABBA of the late 70s and 80s. It was a time I will always remember.

I have to say something about the mechanics of travel for those of us on a budget. Dang, suitcases are awesome these days with wheels that work well, but having to take them up or down steps, or on public transportation, or from one spot to another at the airport, can still be a hassle. Still, it is so doable.

We took buses from Newport to London – one to Victoria Station and one close to our hotel. The trip was fun, especially the tour if London via bus.

Well, sort of close. It was supposed to be about an 11-minute walk. I had directions on my phone, but I think I used driving directions instead of walking directions. 🙄 Don’t make this mistake! The bus put my large suitcase underneath the bus so I didn’t have to struggle with it, but even with great wheels on my large suitcase, my backpack on my back and it purse crossbody. Anyway the supposed 11-minute walk took longer than expected (probably 30 minutes) and while it wasn’t horrible, we were so happy when we got there.

The trip from the hotel to Heathrow worked a bit better, even though Kerry and I had to part after a really quick bus ride (we only walked a few feet from our hotel to catch it), then I caught the tube and she took the buss back to Newport. Supposedly with one change I would get there. But nope, for some reason they ended up having the line to Heathrow closed.

I had to catch a bus, my first double-decker ride (though with my suitcase there was no way I could get upstairs). I was last one on at that stop, so got to stand next to the driver. He was super nice and was as surprised as us that the line was closed to Heathrow. I never found out why.

There is something so satisfying about getting to the airport and checking your bag. That left me with a purse and a backpack. My purse was too big and my backpack too small, but still they are so manageable. I wish I had put my coat in the suitcase, because it got burdensome, but I had a fear my bag would get lost and I would be coatless.

All in all, though, no complaints. My post-surgery feet did great and there were no major mishaps. I will learn to pack less one day. Maybe when I walk the Camino De Santiago with two outfits that will inspire me. Maybe.

Gee, I love to travel, but I love being home, too. That’s the sign of a great life!

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