Well, as you know, I’ve got big ambitions to travel the world.
And, as you also probably know, I happen to live in one the most expensive cities in the world.
There is something unfortunately incompatible about that. When I came to London, I have to admit that I had a sort of “Plan B” that depended on the city being a major let down, and just deciding to put my backpack and hike my way around the rest of Europe. Fortunately, I suppose, that never came to fruition, as I absolutely love it here, despite the high cost of living… Sometimes “quality of life” is worth spending a bit more on, and, for me, this is absolutely the type of life I want to be living.
Still, I sometimes get a pang of regret– well, maybe not regret, but longing. I long to see new places, especially as so many are quite close, but it is so hard to put the money aside in a city like this, as “frugal” as I force myself to be. Everything costs so much.
So, naturally, I was excited when my parents came to me with a proposal. We try to Skype every few weeks, which has been hilarious to go through, as my parents are not exactly the best with modern technology– but they are getting really good at it! Obviously, they want to see me. I mean, they say they want me to come home, but they are clearly very proud of me for being so independent and going after the life I so boldly have chosen to go after. But, yes, they want to see me. Their proposal was that I come home for a trip in the Spring. But not home to Portland, necessarily, because they want to go on a trip, too. Even though I was born and raised in Portland, we actually have some family in South Carolina, who we are all very close to; My dad’s brother, and my Aunt, and their daughter who is very close to me in age… We all got along very well when we’d see each other during the holidays. Mom and Dad asked me if I might be interested in heading toward the south-eastern United States so that we could visit our favorite family members. Before I could tell them “I can’t afford it” they astounded me with their generosity. They said that they would pay for my flight, and that when I arrived, they would pay for my food, transportation, and everything. They also said that my cousin and I could choose the specific destination!
It meant so much to me. The next day I Skyped with my cousin, and she was excited, too. We haven’t actually spent time together in a long time, even though she is planning on coming to visit me in London sometime soon; maybe even before we do this trip! Anyway, we got to talking about possible choices in the area, and she mentioned that because her mom is deathly afraid of flying, we would be best to choose something in that corner of the United States. We began by process of elimination, which is always fun, and chose a lot of places that we DIDN’T want to go. Before long, we had it narrowed down to just a few choice, and then, it didn’t take much longer before we made a firm decision to go to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
I had always been interested in the area, since it was where the Wright Brothers first took flight, and it seems to be such a cool blend of southern culture and laid back, island living. It is not as mainstream as a lot of other tourist destinations, and the beaches and history are supposed to be great. Plus, none of us have ever been there. We consulted with our parents and they were very excited at the prospect, so the decision was made:
We are going to the Outer Banks this spring on a family vacation!
I think that I may see if I can talk my parents into letting me fly out of another city, and see if I can extend my trip by just a little bit… maybe a week. I’ve always wanted to go to Savannah, Georgia, and New Orleans, too. They’re both right there, so why not!
We’ve been looking at places to eat, which have got me salivating. Just sayin, if there’s one thing that is not the MOST exciting when it comes to living in London, it’s the food. I mean, there is great food available, but a lot of the “British people love boring food” stereotypes are pretty true. For some reason the flavor palate here is totally mild, I don’t know what it is, but it is probably the same reason that the entire nation prefers tea to coffee… Which is also ridiculous!
Anyway, eating seafood that isn’t just “Fish n’ Chips” should be great. I’ve always wanted to try southern food, specifically cajun style fried seafood; shrimp and catfish from so close to the source should be a real treat, too!
Do I miss America? Sometimes. I love living over here, but I think a beach vacation is going to be a perfect dose of what I need. We’ve been looking at all the different islands, towns, villages, and cities in the Outer Banks. It looks like there will be some great natural reserves and parks, as well as some great historical and cultural institutions. The Outer Banks were one of the first American pieces of land that the British ever tried to claim and colonize, so it seems fitting that I will go somewhere that is so connected to my new home.
Mostly, I’m looking forward to relaxing on the beach in such nice weather. The spring is apparently ideal for the Outer Banks, because the weather is warm, and everything is open, but the beaches are not insanely busy yet. I am sure that it will be a good time for our whole family, and I am very glad to have the support and love of my family, who I often end up missing by living so far away. I am very thankful for my parents, my cousin, and the rest of my extended family.
So, until then, I’ve just gotta keep on working, and work even harder at saving my money than usual, so that I can afford paying my monthly rent payments on my flat while I take a week or two off of work to visit my home country. It will be difficult, but it will be worthwhile.