The best part about a project is the ability to look back, summarize and learn. And in this case, grin in fond reminiscence of a hilltop, lake, valley or a bustling city center. I had a bunch of things on my mind when I set out, not knowing what route the trip was going to take or how I was going to feel. It’s now fantastic to look back see what I was right about and what I would do better to rethink. So I’m going to revisit a couple of my pre-trip posts, in retrospect.
WHAT did I want to do, and did I do it?!
- City Lights: London was the only big city that stayed alive well into the night. Even York, with a bustling theater that ended late, was dark, quiet and closed in the city center. Just as well. Slow down, lounge in PJs and do laundry was what I wanted to do, and that’s what I did.
- See the sights: An unabashed lover of monuments and museums, this time I took a book and pen with me. It was well worth it to put everything I saw into perspective and timelines to appreciate the progression of architecture and marvel at historical anecdotes (read battles and bloodshed). Remembering these is something I haven’t mastered yet. It is said that the brain only retains things that it deems important and I need to figure out if it is that or the age starting to show!
- Try to visit one off-grid spot: This was a challenge for many reasons. Locations, time of the day and no live maps to guide me back scared me a tad. But I consider two things that top a meager list of off-beat spots – the top of Mt.Snowdon, and a long walk in a far-flung pretty residential district in York.
CHALLENGES I thought I might face, and how did I measure:
- Budget: I was going to give myself a report card at the end of this trip and I am supremely happy to report that what I spent was just a tad bit within the budget that I set for myself. It wasn’t tremendously easy, but it wasn’t as hard as I imagined either. I tried a good mix of places to stay (the biggest expense) and certain travel options came with no choice; but overall it instilled in me a belief that it ain’t impossible!
- Safety: New stimuli is always an enemy to being alert, but what I learnt on the trip was that if I follow the rules I set for myself at home, then all is well. No very late night outs was the biggest rule, and everything else was easy peasy.
- Staying solo: Oh this was no problem at all. Loved every second of it throughout!
- Food and exercise: This was the most fascinating part to monitor. It’s very easy to lose track of these vectors on a vacation (and sometimes maybe even essential), but on a long haul like this it’s better not to. Apartments and hostels gave me a chance to include enough veggies in a meal, and fruits and yogurt became a staple snack. Europe is heaven for constant walking and every day that my feet were sore was a day well spent. I even threw in aerobics, weight training and Zumba in the middle at certain places and kept the adrenaline flowing. There was always a way if I wanted it bad enough :)
- Writing this blog: I was watching myself to see if I’d tire out and stop writing amidst the constant busy days and plan-a-roof-over-my-head days. It turned out that I did not :)
P.S: The pictures are in the process of being sorted out and will make an appearance sometime soon :)