one for the books

It’s been exactly one month since I left for my eurotrip around Europe. And, don’t worry I’ve been writing everyday so that I can share my experiences and some funny stories that happened along the way. But, before I do that I wanted to take some time to reflect on what it was like living out of one bag for a month and always having to go go go.

I’m not quite sure how long the longest vacation I’ve taken was, but I know for sure I never been gone from my home, in this case Leeds, for an entire month. There was much anticipation for this trip as to what it would be like, what we would do, what we would wear, where we’d stay, how we’d get there and if there would be any issues along the way. I’m glad to report that we had no major problems or issues along the way. No missed trains, no stolen passports, and relatively few major injuries aside from an allergy to Italy, a lost toe nail, a smokers cough and a muscle spasm that lead to a fall.

Of course there were many things I learned along the way. Living out of one bag you start to care less about your appearance or the slight smell that just sort of stays with you. You begin to wear a slight variation of the same outfit everyday because you realized you weren’t realistic in your packing and you develop a makeup routine that takes less than 5 mins to put on even though you brought your entire makeup bag. There were also a few things that had to get left behind in the end including my beloved combat boots, my hot chocolate stained scarf, a pair of leggings and 3 tank tops because having enough space in my bag was a luxury I could not afford

Let me tell you, traveling for a month straight is hard…it’s no Sunday morning stroll in the park. And, yes there were many times when I wanted to just get on a plane and fly back to Leeds because I was so exhausted. But, I know I’m strong and I just had to keep telling myself (and my mom had to keep telling me) that not only did I/do I have the strength to see it through but also that it’s a trip of a lifetime. And, it really was.

It was a month full of adventures, surprises and the excitement that came from going one place to the next. Yes, there were times when I felt weak and discouraged…. but together, the four of us, we carried each other through….whether it be from laughing uncontrollably for minutes over nothing in particular or having a dance party in our train car, it was these moments of relief that kept us, or at least me, going.

I can’t wait to begin to share my experiences from each place with you all & check in later to see a list of all the places I visited on my month long eurotrip. x

Cheers.

~meesh

And bonus, I finally figured out the whole flickr situation so my Ireland photos are finally up see them here and here.

getting there….

Oh my gosh…I can’t believe that I’m really here.

After a quick flight to Philly we (as in the other U of I students I traveled with 🙂 ) were anxious to get on the plane and head to Manchester. Although I almost had a panic attack after we were FORCED, literally forced to have our carry-ons checked on the flight to Philly because it was full. And because we got stuck in boarding zone 5, we had no choice….I was basically in tears while I was getting on the plane…(all my luggage it made it so it’s fine).

gt7Photo: Sky Mall mag…I couldn’t resist, it’s just too funny

In Philly we happened to come across a group of Wisconsin students heading to Leeds as well, small world! But let me tell you this was the longest journey of my life. The plane was suppose to take off around 9, but was delayed due to a mechanical issue, lucky for us the let us board before the repair had been logged aka we had to wait for it to be logged before take off. So finally we get the go ahead, but wait….the plane had been sitting at the gate all day and was all icy due to the weather there….so then we had to wait for the plane to be de-iced. By the time we finally took off it was an hour and a half later.

gt5 gt6Photos: The plane being de-iced and our flight journey map

Since it was a night flight I had hoped to get a little sleep, I knew I wasn’t going to get a lot but I figured I’d be able to sleep off and on….but of course I get stuck in front of an old man who apparently doesn’t need sleep and was playing a game on the screen that was attached to the back of mine. And because it was a touch screen every time he touched the screen I could feel it…so much for sleeping.

gt4Photo: The food was actually pretty good, and you got a decent portion.

Ok, so we finally land, finally and we are all anxious and tired to get off the plane but had to wait AGAIN because the jet air way wouldn’t attach to the plane properly for us to walk from the plane into the terminal. We waited another half hour for them to attach a stairway. All in the flight was supposed to be about 6 hours from Philly and we ended up being on that plane for close to eight. Needless to say we were ready to get our feet back on the ground literally.

gt2 gt3Photos: The clouds looked like the trees from the Lorax, idk why I made that connection and our ending flight journey map.

Lucky for us the journey didn’t end there, we still had to get a train from Manchester to Leeds. And as luck would have it the station connected to the airport was temporary closed because it’s getting a new platform, so we had to be bused from the airport over to the station in the city. The ride wasn’t too bad, it was nice to get to see a bit of Manchester but we stood out like sore thumbs when we got off the bus to walk over into the station because we had all this luggage…

gt1Photo: Train ticket, it says airport because the bus fee was included in the ticket price.

We finally got on the train headed for Leeds and were relieve to be on the last leg of the journey. It happened to be an express train and took less than an hour to get there. We got to see a lot of the country side and hillside towns. It was so picturesque, there was a bit of snow too, so everything looked that much more beautiful under a little blanket of pure white snow.

FINALLY we arrived in Leeds from there we split a taxi over to our residence hall, and I have to say it’s much prettier than I thought it would be. Then again everything here looks like it’s straight out of Harry Potter, there’s red brick everywhere.

gtPhoto: The view from my room, I’m slightly obsessed.

My room is just fine, has everything that I need including a sink and mirror. My flatmates are cool to…one is actually one of the people we had met from Wisconsin on the flight so really same world, one girl is from Holland, there’s another girl whom I only met quickly in passing and another guy from Singapore that I have yet to meet.

gt8Photo: Unknown, but pretty campus building.

It sure did take a while but I got here safe and sound and I’m starting to get all settled in. I have another post in works that should be pretty funny and I can’t wait to see what else Leeds has in store for me and my new U of I mates!

Enjoy.

~meesh

P.S. I will be uploading some picture I took today to my flickr in a bit.