Monthly Archives: April 2015

30/4/15 – In Transit(ish), Part II(ish)

So, I didn’t actually post on Sunday. Or the next Sunday. Or, yes, even the Sunday after that.

Don’t worry, I wasn’t struck by disaster, and this time it wasn’t because I forgot.

Something just… changed during the last couple weeks of traveling. I got to France and met up with my friend Freddy, and I barely even thought about the blog anymore, because I felt so immersedĀ in each moment that actually taking time away to write about it in a blog post seemed so… irrelevant.

Don’t get me wrong, I love writing this blog and the reflection time has been fantastic, but these past several weeks I let myself forget the need to look back or forward and just invest in the present– live in the moment (or, as I aptly mistyped the first time: love in the moment).

Traveling was… gosh I can’t even describe it. I feel so, so lucky to have had this opportunity. For some reason, the sandals I bought in Rome are popping into my head. I only bought one* article of clothing in all my travel (???) and that was a pair of sandals that have a pattern of passport stamps from different cities around the world. And I know it’s kind of silly but I got those sandals because they remind me of how important this is to me. For years I’ve dreamed of traveling around Europe, but it never seemed entirely real– I always reminded myself that it was likely this travel would never actually happen.

And now it is– I’ve been to some of the major cities in Europe, and my thirst for new places and adventures is only growing. Each time I check off one place on my list, I learn about 10 more that I have to add (Australia and Morocco are at the top right now).

So, to quickly continue travel rundown: I have flown quite a few airlines, and I wanted to give any prospective travelers an idea of my experience.

EasyJet: great for the price– worth it for quick, cheap flights, might have to put up with some delay and the strict one bag policy is a pain (literally, not even a “Personal Item”– be careful!), but overall I’d recommend for the budget traveler

Aer Lingus: liked this airline, mostly for Irish travel of course, but no complaints! Keep in mind stricter baggage allowance within Europe vs International

Vueling: would not recommend, esp if you do not have Spanish language experience. I was able to get along fine with the language, but they changed my flight time with only a week’s notice (to 6 in the morning, requiring me to catch a cab in Paris at 4), comfort was not great, and I had to pay extra to sit in the exit row with “more leg room” which actually just meant I couldn’t keep anything with me and had to stick it all in the overhead compartment. :/

British Airways: would definitely recommend. Slightly more expensive than some other airlines perhaps, but very pleasant, very clean, on time, quick and efficient service, and free drinks in flight! šŸ™‚

Mmkay so British Airways is what I took to fly back from Rome to London-Gatwick, and I have to say arriving back at Oxford was one of the happiest moments of my life. I do well in transit, as I mentioned, but there is something wonderful about returning to a place that you can call home. We got off the bus and walked past Magdalen college just as the bells chimed midnight, and the falafel truck was there like always, and I showered off the grime from traveling in our tiny shower which I love even though I bang my elbows against the wall the entire time and have to bend down to get my hair wet, and I got to say a late-night hello to my friends who were already back, and it was Just. Lovely. Ā The next day the sun was out, and I was able to wear a dress (!?!) and lay in the grass and read and make daisy chains and talk andĀ be my hippie, English/Philosophy**-major self. Mm I wish I couldĀ transfer with words that feeling of being completely at ease with myself, with where I was, with the people around me…

And since then it has pretty much just been a process of getting back into the swing of things. I’ve had my first James Joyce tutorial and it went wonderfully (wrote about the difference between pity and empathy), I’ve discovered a new walking path with a giant Willow tree that is perfect for climbing into and reading, I’ve had a lotlotlot of conversations with my friends… started watching the new season of Game of Thrones… I’m back. šŸ™‚ And I’m ready for my 2nd term at Oxford.

*my parents bought me a scarf and leather jacket; I am not counting those (thanks Mom and Dad!! I have used both a lot and love them!!

** You know you’re a Philosophy Major when: you start trying to explain to your friend what love means to you in terms of necessary and sufficient conditions. XP

9/4/15 – In Transit, Part I

Okay, I TOTALLY did not forget what day it was on Sunday. And then I happened to be traveling all day Monday, and then Tuesday couldn’t get the internet to work, and then Wednesday… um, well, anyways, it’s Thursday, so I decided to do a 2-part post, one today and one on Sunday.

First of all, before you start reading, go here and play this for some background music:


IĀ do have a good excuse for being distracted– my parents are here! šŸ™‚ We’ve spent the last 10 days traveling all throughout England and Ireland, and it has been a blast.

After taking EasyJet (would recommend) to Gatwick and EasyBus (would NOT recommend) toĀ London to meet up with my parentsĀ on Monday, we haveĀ since explored all over the city of London, done a day trip to Oxford, went on pilgrimage to Canterbury, flew to Dublin, took a bus around Wicklow country, taken a coach to Galway, and toured along the coast to the Cliffs of Moher.

So, just a little bit of traveling. šŸ˜›

I’ve found that in fact my favorite part of traveling isn’t actually being in the place, but rather being in transit. Ā When I arrive in each place, there is always a great deal toĀ do— find food, go see the sights, soak in languages and accents, architecture, fashion, landscapes, music, sounds, smells (and, of course, plan for the next stage of my journey). Each place requires adjustment, and before I’ve really had time to feel at ease, it’s time to move on again (it took me at least 2 weeks to feel comfortably moved in at Oxford; I haven’t stayed anywhere since leaving that room for more than 5 nights straight).

With my parents, I acted as tour guide around London (slightly ironic, considering I spent a total of maybe 5 days ever in London before I met up with them…), helping navigate the tube and organizing day trips to Oxford and Canterbury. We stayed in a London flat through Airbnb and apparently cemeteries are just a thing for me; our flat happened to be about 3 minutes away from Brompton Cemetery, another really really awesome cemetery (where they filmed parts of the RDJ Sherlock Holmes!!):

Brompton Cemetery

Brompton Cemetery

Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote / The droughte of March hath perced to the roote...

Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote / The droughte of March hath perced to the roote…

Outside the gates of Parliament...

Outside the gates of Parliament…

In Oxford, we stopped by Catz so that I could switch out my clothes– I needed to make sure I had enough variety in 4 outfits to account for the climates ofĀ Ireland, Paris, and Rome… a bit of a challenge. šŸ˜›

We also met up with one of my fellow Oxford Visiting Students, who happened to be around with her dad! I think that was one of my favorite parts of a trip– I can only show my parents so much about my life by taking them around to the different places; it’s the people who really make the experience.

Finally, on Easter Sunday– which, of course, is also a marker of the Rising– we arrived in Ireland. I have wanted to get to Ireland for years, as badly as I wanted to go to Oxford, and it has been absolutely lovely. Apparently the sun decided to come out just for us, and we have had uncharacteristically gorgeous weather. We got to see the Book of Kells (as;dlfkj???? LIke actually I was 5 inches away from it thatissoawesome), some gorgeous Irish countryside, and old castles and monasteries:

Mountains near Ireland Literally too beautiful

Mountains near Ireland
Literally too beautiful

Monastery (+ more graveyard!)

Monastery (+ more graveyard!)

View from the Ha'penny bridge, right outside our Dublin flat

View from the Ha’penny bridge, right outside our Dublin flat

Lizzy's personal heaven

Lizzy’s personal heaven

We visited Galways and saw the Cliffs of Moher, which was possibly the highlight of my break so far:



Galway seaside

Galway seaside

Bunch o' cuties in front of the Cliffs

Bunch o’ cuties in front of the Cliffs

We saw a lot. But it’s when I sit in an enclosed space, on a bus, train, or plane, that I am actually able to process. I spent the bus ridesĀ alternating between listening to Mumford & Sons, staring out at the beautiful Irish countryside, and readingĀ The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Oh- and, of course, resting my head on my mom’s shoulder and falling asleep.

There may be one last reason that I decided to post today and not Sunday, and that’s because today is my mom’s birthday. My mom is one of the most hard-working, selfless, and loving people I know. As I drifted in and out of sleep against her shoulder on the bus, I thought about what an intimate gesture that is, to lean against someone and let them carry your weight.Ā My mom and I have many differences, but she always gives her support (whether I ask for it or not šŸ˜› ), and for that I am so grateful.

On Sunday, I’ll write a bit more about traveling, but I’d like to end this post thanking my mom for everything– for doing laundry for me on her break, for carrying bushels of my stuff back home with her despite an already full bag,Ā and for really truly inspiring me to be the best person I can be.