In reality I haven’t Truly driven in the UK, Darren has but not me, I’m too damn scared!
Forget the steering wheel on the right hand side and driving on the left hand side! that I can probably get figured out and get over.
What scares me to Death is the scariest, tiniest roads on the planet earth! Literally, *(like all of Europe) these are One lane streets, that in reality were really one horse cart or one horse paths, now covered in asphalt and meant to drive cars and Lorries (that’s truck in British!) and wait, drum roll, side by side meaning one in each direction!!!!
Two lane roads, one going each direction, where it was Really meant for one horse buggy not a car with side mirrors! Then they say, hey why not, lets make it two ways! Not a one way road with just one car but two directions AND drum roll again……..And, the locals park on the street as there are no garages or driveways! Now its a 3 lane road!!!!
Buses and double decker ones at that, with large delivery trucks, ALL go thru at 50-60 miles an hour. Lord help me, its white knuckles Daily to get in a car and go somewhere.
Ok now that I’ve done another one of my rants, I will add this: the English and the Europeans are the best damn drivers and make Americans look like babies! They drive doing all of the above and rarely are there wrecks. The best of them? –the crazy tour bus drivers, they drive those HUGE Rock Star buses thru these streets, turning in hair pin turns that a pony would have trouble carrying a rider, and never nick the side of a building or their bumper. Even though they make me faint and or throw up with fear as they come at us in our car, they Always make it with not even a hair breath of space between us, never hitting anyone or anything! just amazing to watch.
I don’t know if I will EVER learn to drive here, I can drive all over California at 80+mph with crazy ”Zonie” drivers, but here, its insane.
No surprise, you’ve heard all the stereo type about English food: its bland, its fried, its well, Its English!
The UK really is trying to shake that stereo type and there are great chefs and gourmet restaurants and a food awakening in jolly old England, And in some parts, they are really getting it figured out.
We had some of the best Thai food I’ve ever had in my life in London. Oh wait, but that’s not English food, that’s because the Thai chefs were cooking! hmmm that’s true. The Indian food in the UK is Awesome and wow hot! nothing bland there. Oh but that is because the Indians are cooking not the British. And yet, the Brits LOVE their Indian food the way Californians love their Mexican food.
Ok, so for the most part, the stereo type English food is well, just “ok” and very bland with no Wow factor. So my question is? Brits love Indian food for all its spices and heat, then why don’t they cook like that in their food?
We did find some REALLY good new food coming out of areas around Windsor in the country, North of London -there are some great restaurants. In fact, this is becoming the foodie area and people come from London to eat at the new restaurants and 5* chefs are opening up and creating super creative dishes.
Manchester has a small chain of private owned restaurants called The Botanists that the food was Wonderful.
But overall, I don’t quite get why England does continue having just “ok” food still. And of course don’t get me started on any menus having ORGANIC food on the menu, it just doesn’t happen ever!
My quest continues to find consistent good food and we’ll let you know as we post areas we are traveling, where we find that good tasty food. The good news is, the best quaint pubs that are old old always serve a great Pint so the meal isn’t totally lost with gorgeous atmosphere and a steady pint to quench your hunger!
“WHY would you want to move HERE??” “You’re from California? Oh I’ve always wanted to go there. Wait, why would you want to move here!?”
Those are the two sentences we hear the very most living abroad! Obviously, after they ask you where you are from, that is the immediate response by almost all. Why do you leave San Diego and America. Because we CAN? That seems to be my immediate response in my head. Because we wanted to. Because there is SO MUCH more out there that we have to see. Time is short and there are so many cultures, foods, sights, sounds and we want them all. Oh, and unknown to us, WE have accents, ha ha. For some reason people guess Canada first then America.
“1000 Places to see before you die” is my Bible and my guide. A friend bought it for me back in 2000 and I have drooled over it and carried it with me on every trip ever since! As a guideline of areas/places I would have never thought of, never even heard of; it enhanced my already wander lust and made it my burning desire to ensure I highlight every page before I die! (I use a yellow or pink highlighter and cross out destinations, each time we go somewhere in the book.) A deep sense of satisfaction comes over me with every area highlighted. Thanks to this book we have had some crazy adventures like our road trip to Oklahoma and going to “Truth or Consequences, New Mexico” because it was in the book. (pretty sure Darren tried to burn the book after that holiday. Sorry to New Mexico and the book, but that is one page/stop we can help you to skip!)
But other amazing adventures have been had due to the book leading us there. San Miguel De Allende is one of those places. Spectacular.
And Amazing New friends are met, that you would have never known if you stayed in one place.
Back to why we would leave California and San Diego specifically; really for me, its because my feet feel like a gypsy. Travel is my drug, its what gets me excited, its what got me thru the worst economic collapse where we had to Fight to stay alive and keep our houses and business going. The reward was always the trip at the end, the money to get to go on the trip. Until I realized, 2-3 weeks per year just wasn’t enough to get it all done and I wanted to get started before I couldn’t hike, sail, jump on trains, etc physically any longer. I wanted to see it all and it was always my answer when I asked the question: “If you were told you had 1 yr left to live, what would you regret the most?” My answer was always, “all the things I missed seeing, all the places I didn’t get to go”. My bucket list was HUGE for travel so I had to get started Now! There was a time that we thought we would never leave California, but with each and every destination and trip we took, we realized regardless of how nice California is, it was time for us to get going thruout the world and of course, EUROPE was our go to destination, as it is for most people. Where else can you road trip to other countries not just another state? Until we can cross off all those countries off in THE book, we are UK/Europe tethered. I want to be at a cafe talking to other ex-pats and when they say: “have you been to …….” I can say YES, and we find that common denominator for all world travelers; Great stories of those exotic places you have both been to. Fabulous stories of the locals, the food, the smells and the joy of discovering something new and being able to share those stories with others that have gypsy feet like me. We can’t wait to see what each new destination brings: people/food/experiences. You never know when you are on a random island and someone asks you to crew on a 160 foot Yacht! Never know when you find yourself at dinner in Champagne, France with an entire group of non English speaking people, using your iPhone to translate an entire dinner conversation and it works! You never know………..there are so MANY adventures awaiting and we are so excited to see what that might be.
The incredible adventure of having No Idea what is around the corner, that is really Why you leave the comforts of home, the love of family and holidays together. Those smells of a new city, the feel of a new guidebook in my hand, learning new languages and more, that is why we we left and how do you explain that in one sentence when someone asks? Why would you leave California?
You can do it too, even if you start as a one week traveler at a time, who knows when the gypsy bug will bite you and you too will say, How can I leave and do this full time? The question from us to you? Why Not? and When? Come join us at some point on the journey, we would love to see you! And the great news, if you find its not what you want to do forever, Home is always where Family is, and you can always go back!