Monday, January 31, 2022

Flying Solo

 It's been an awfully long time since I've done any traveling inside the country, let alone outside of it. I am looking very forward to this trip to the UK. 

It's an extravagance for me, to be sure. It is also a time when my son-in-law and daughter are setting up housekeeping in their newly purchased home. Not the best of times to visit, I suppose, but I am anxious to see her. The timing allows plenty of time to put in a garden when I get back, although I will take my trays of baby plants to my sister to tend to until I return. We've also got a very big summer coming up. (More on that down the road). Tim will also be retired, and we will work like gangbusters finishing up that last renovation and getting that house on the market. At the same time, we will begin work on the basement of the new house at the retirement property. All these things will be keeping us close to home. 

When I tried to tie Tim down to a departure date, he kept coming up with reasons we couldn't go in March. In April. I saw that departure date being moved further and further back, and I know that he has plans for the summer. I made up my mind that I wasn't waiting for him to get on board with the plan.

 So. 

This is a different world now and I am learning about euros and pounds and exchange rates. I have a meeting tomorrow with my bank to figure out what they can do with my debit card. I am fussing about covid tests. The airline website says they are required, but the latest news says that they are not. I will have a test done anyway, just in case things change as we are driving to the airport. Tickets are purchased. I had a two hour lay over in Detroit on the way back. 48 hours later, I got an e-mail telling me that it has been changed to an eight hour layover. IN DETROIT! Wonderful (note sarcasm). 

My daughter did some fretting about the trip, that financially this is not be best time for them. I don't care about that. I'll have money too. It is not expected that the trip will be their 'treat'.  I've never been to the UK before so it will be all new to me. I said that walking the streets of London and seeing (and hearing) Big Ben would be a thrill. Touring some of the old churches and castles would be exciting, and one of those castles is quite nearly in their backyard. I want to go dig for bottles. The Sutton Hoo Treasure would be a highlight. I'd be happy to sit on a train and watch the scenery go by. It would all be a brand new experience. On someone's blog, they noted that carboot sales begin to start up in March. Perhaps I will get to attend one of those. 

I'm still wrangling with feeling guilty about leaving my husband behind for a whole month. It is the first time that I've ever done such a thing. I've explained it as best it can be explained to him. Tim has a tendency to prioritize things as they affect him. He is not at all adverse to taking a trip, however, every 't' must be crossed and every 'i' must be dotted, and when all the boxes are ticked off in his mind, the trip can be planned. The problem is that his 'to-do' list is constantly being added to. I could not get him to commit to a date. 

That is how it will come to be that I am traveling alone on the first big trip of my retirement. I wonder how long it will take me to stop feeling guilty about it. 



26 comments:

  1. When you hug your daughter all guilt will leave you. I am so excited to be a part of this trip through your eyes. Just enjoy every minute. Why is your daughter in U.K.? Are they military?

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  2. Don't feel guilty. If recent events have taught us anything it is to grab every good moment while you can.

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  3. Definitely don't feel guilty, just keep in touch with all of us so we can keep an eye on you.

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  4. You can go again sometime, with him, but it is good to do something like this when you can because you don't know about tomorrow.

    Saw a super photo of St Paul's Cathedral today. Might be worth a visit.

    When we have visited family in Vancouver, we have found that just looking around cheaply can be done and be fun.

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  5. I generally travel alone, being widowed. It is a little intimidating, especially to another country--but I've found people along the way to be extremely helpful. The time is never exactly right for these trips, is it? We have to grab the moments in spite of that.

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  6. I'm not intimidated by the fact that I'm traveling alone, really. I think that people are very helpful. The time IS right for me. I'm a bit sad that it is not right for us.

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  7. My wife travels without me from time to time. At first it annoyed me, but then I decided I would be happy for her. She is retired and she has some $$$ in the bank. I have no right to begrudge her trips she is in a position to take and I am not. So I kiss her goodbye, wish her bon-voyage and tell her I'll see her soon. And when we can travel together, all the better. But if we wait until we're "ready" and everything is in order, well, that's a recipe for having regrets if you ask me. So cast off your guilt (which is a wasted emotion anyway) and get ready for the time of your life! In London, be sure and visit the Churchill War Rooms/Museum. Not always at the top of tourists' lists, but one of the top and most interesting attractions, if you ask me. Also, sit on the steps of the National Art Gallery in Trafalgar Square and eat a "take-away" lunch as you people-watch. Oh wait . . . could I just go with you???? (Also, your bank should be able to tell you just what you need to know about the debit card. They might ask you to tell you the dates of your trip so they'll know the charges made overseas are not fraudulent. It should not be a problem. If it is, change banks!)

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  8. I suspect your hubby will have a bit of regret at his reluctance to go once you leave but I think you're doing the right thing. As someone else said, these days we are much more aware that we must grab life and enjoy it while we can. I too am taking a trip from the Uk to Australia. Given that I haven't even used public transport for the past two years because of covid my hubby was amazed I was willing to fly for 24 hours! But I need to see my son in real life. Facetime is all well and good but it doesn't come close to real life. Lets hope we all have wonderful memories to bring back with us. Safe trip.

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  9. I wish I was well enough to welcome you here but I have to face it that most days - with the help of my carer - I can manage but more than that is now totally beyod me

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  10. I frequently meet people travelling alone because husband (or wife) didn't want to do the trip. I wouldn't try to fit too much in and a boot sale is nothing but a heap of people selling secondhand knock offs or stolen property. You aren't likely to be buying cast offs to carry back to the US surely are you? Castles and scenery and some history yes, car boots no. Bob's recommendations above are good ones.

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  11. Well Done on your plans. Sounds exciting and yes it was me that said Car-boot sales will be starting - well the two I go to anyway - on the first weekend of March.

    London is very over-rated! There are bits of the UK much better!

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  12. Get used to pulling your shoulders in. You will never have the space in England you are used to at home.

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  13. Don't feel guilty, just go! I passed on visiting my bro in Hawaii because my husband couldn't go, though he said I should go ahead. I had plenty of reasons to later regret I hadn't gone.

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  14. You took the Tim to water, you just couldn't make Tim drink. And that's ok. It is ok for you to travel when you want to travel. It isn't like you said to him he can't go with you. :)

    My parents retired two years ago yesterday and were planning their first trip when covid hit and travel became impossible, then Dad became unwell and it became even more impossible. He regretted not travelling more while he was working. He regretted not already having that first trip planned before they left work. He is no longer with us sadly.

    Don't feel guilty about it. Enjoy every minute of it. These times are precious and we must make the most of them. :)

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  15. No Ellie, they are not military. They met years ago. Just two young people with itchy feet.

    Bob, I will keep your ideas in mind.

    Most of my month will probably be spent outside London since they do not reside near there. I have seen so much of the beautiful countryside through blogs, I am completely happy to explore there.

    Weaver, please do not give it a second thought. I understand completely. It was just a thought.

    I'm not sure where everything is, or what is possible, but if anyone would like to try to arrange a meet, just leave a comment and we will try to see what can happen in the course of a month.

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  16. Piffle. I meant to say leave a comment with your e-mail address and I will contact you (I will not publish the comment and your information will be private).

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  17. You will have a wonderful time and you will be so glad you went!

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  18. It might be wise to budget for COVID testing "just in case".

    You will have a wonderful time, I'm sure.

    Peggy

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  19. That is okay - you can bring Tim to visit us next trip :D

    Enjoy your time with your daughter and son-in-law.

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  20. I know you miss your daughter and want to see her desperately. However, if I read your blog correctly, she has tried to express to you that this is not the best time for a visit. Not just a visit, staying for a MONTH. The trip timing fits your needs, maybe not hers. You need to have a genuine heart to heart talk with her and find out if this works for her as well as you or it could be a heartbreaking disaster.

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  21. It was discussed, and carefully. It was arranged around their work schedules, the move in, commitments on both sides of the pond. Her reservations were that she wanted a knock your socks off visit, one that would guarantee I would want to come back. That was unnecessary. We discussed expectations. I think we are both very excited for the visit.

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  22. When I was in the UK this past October, my contact-less credit card was used far more often than cash to pay for things (which was not quite the case in years past). Folks did not want to handle cash due to covid, but that may be changing. If you do get cash it will be from ATM machines so make sure you have a pin number. Don't get cash at the airport--terrible exchange rates! Also, suggest you find out if your credit card company charges extra for foreign purchases (i.e. an extra percentage or more on top of price) and if so, find one that doesn't. Most purchases under £100 can be made using a contact-less credit card--your credit card should have the symbol of ever enlarging series of )))) on the front or back. All you have to do to pay for something is tap it on the store device.

    After February 11th in the UK, you no longer have to have any covid testing except to come back into the US. The test for the return to US has to be a supervised one and you will need to have a printed result for the airline (or PDF copy on your phone), but it only has to be a lateral flow test, not a PCR. You also have to fill out a passenger locator form--no biggy, but print out a copy to take with you just in case. At Heathrow, be prepared for long walk from the plane to customs/immigration (C/I)--it can be very tiring after an overnight flight that you may or may not have gotten any rest on...your body will feel like it is the middle of the night because it is to your body. Hit or miss for how long it will take to get through the C/I process. Sometimes it isn't long; other times it can be more than an hour. I'll be heading over in March (solo again--I go every year). Hope this is useful info. Happy to answer any other questions you may have. Safe travels. Enjoy!

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  23. Ooh Mary! You are validating everything I have been learning. I am flying into BHX of Heathrow though. I may have questions for you at some point.

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  24. Small point: Detroit is a huge airport, very spread out. It takes time to get from one gate to another. A lot of time. An 8-hour layby would be my preference over a 2-hour one, which can easily get compressed by connecting delays.

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  25. All my flights are Delta, which was done intentionally to save wandering time. Of course that might not be true at all, but...it was the thinking anyway. It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

    Does anyone know how customs work for the return? Do I have to go through customs at Amsterdam and then again in Detroit?

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  26. I'm proud of you (and impressed by your decisiveness) for stepping out rather than waiting on Tim. Can't wait to read all about your solo adventure! -Kate

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