The last week of August, I took an 8-day vacation to Europe! Life has gotten away from me lately, after my competition, starting a new seed sales season, going on vacation and playing catch up when I returned. Now, I'm eager to share some of my experiences in each country, sights seen and lessons learned. My adventure began by being lost in London.
I mean, I was lost, but I was not. After about 12 hours flying, I arrived to the London airport at 6:30 am before meeting my GAdventures group. It was time to exchange some U.S. dollars, climb on the train and head into central London... or so I thought.
This is where I got a little bit lost. I have traveled abroad before (as you can read in some older blog posts). However, this was the first solo travel out of the U.S. I've had. Well, I thought I had prepared myself by calling my banks, credit card companies and getting it all squared away. Wrong.
My debit card would not work and got declined. No hard money for me. I walked in and out of the airport terminal about 4 times to get wifi and try contacting my bank. It was 1:00 am in the eastern time zone. That would not help anything. I had $10 cash on me, and two other credit cards that I wanted to avoid using because of international transaction fees. Well, after holding back tears and giving myself a pep talk, I tried my regular credit card to buy a one-way train ticket into London. It worked.
I jumped on the train for a half hour ride into London. In my mind, I was scolding myself.
Why did you not bring more cash on you?
How come you did not double check both cards were confirmed with the bank?
Why would you forget your PIN number for the machine?
Caroline, you are 23 years old. You cannot and will not cry in public in a foreign country.
Lucky for me, I had booked one activity for London before I left: a double-decker bus tour. So, for the next 8 hours, that was all I did. I was grateful, because it was raining on and off all day in London. I captured some scenic pictures and walked around when the rain subsided towards the late afternoon. I also indulged in some fish and chips.
|When in U.K., you must try fish and chips. Delicious!|
|The restaurant sign for my fish and chips.|
I was more figuratively lost in London than physically. However, it taught me a valuable lesson: you can never be too prepared and you must know your own self to overcome challenges. Day one of my trip proved I have some work to do in both areas.
Here are some of my favorite photos from the day.