The UK Trip

As I’ve addressed in previous blogs, I was, and am, a voracious reader. There’s very little I won’t consume by way of fiction. It shocks me at times, how I can walk into a bookstore and identify titles I’ve read by shelf, aisle, and section. I’m not saying I’ve read everything, I am saying I’ve read a lot.

When I think about my ultimate vacation, I think about personal enrichment as being more pleasurable than say, a relaxed, do-nothing sort of vacation. I like a fruity concoction on the beach as much as anyone but I’d rather invest in my long-time love of reading by taking an author rich, pilgrim-styled tour than laying about on some beach somewhere. Boring to some perhaps, but for me, paradise.

The UK seems to me the obvious choice for such an author’s pilgrimage and for the following reasons:

Charles Dickens
William Shakespeare
Charlotte and Emily Brontë
Jane Austen
J.K. Rowling
George Orwell
J.R.R. Tolkien
Lewis Carroll
Virginia Woolf
C.S. Lewis
Salman Rushdie
Beatrix Potter
Mary Shelley
Neil Gaiman
John Milton
Graham Greene
H.G. Wells
…just to name a few…

So yeah, the destination seems pretty straightforward in my opinion.

I had meant for this trip years ago, a sort of graduation gift to myself after completing my masters degree. But that was 2008 and the economy had tanked. At the time, being anything but conservative with my funds would have been detrimental. Since then, I’ve relocated cities (Austin to San Antonio), met my future husband and married him (let’s call him “M”), had a kid, relocated cities again (San Antonio back to Austin), had a health scare, bought a house…life gets messy. A good sort of messy but messy even so.

Here we are in 2017 and things seem to have settled, for the moment at any rate. My husband knows how much I’ve “suspended” aspects of my life for the sake of our family, and a year ago M began encouraging me to think about that trip I never took. I’m planning it for the fall of 2018.

It will be a solo trip since this is all about exploring my personal interests. As much as I love the idea *ahem* (polite cough of disbelief) of dragging E, my 4-year old, around the English country side, it would likely be best if she stayed at home.

I started gathering my thoughts around an actual agenda and it looks something like this:

Day 1 & 2 – London. Just two days in London doing all the touristy stuff. Visiting St. Paul’s Cathedral, viewing the Thames, tour the Buckingham Palace, and a visit to the British Museum. The second day would be devoted to the Charles Dickens’ Museum and the British Library.

Day 3 – Oxford University – Tolkien and C.S. Lewis taught their. Some of their works were written while at Oxford. On to Stonehenge in Salisbury, 60 miles from Oxford University.

Day 4 – Bath, home of the Jane Austen Centre. Then on to the villages of the Cotswolds and Shakespeare’s hometown.

Day 5 – Haworth, home to the museum of the Brontë sisters.

Day 6 (a short, 1-hour flight from Haworth) – Back to London, specifically North London, to the Warner Bros studio to take as many Harry Potter tours and add-on’s as I can possibly stand and/or afford. For me, the books will always take precedence over the films but as I very well can’t knock on Rowling’s door for an in-depth chat, surrounding myself with as much material as possible will have to do.

There’s so much more…so, so, so much more I want to do but I must prioritize. I’ve always said: Dickens’ A Christmas Carol was one of the greatest stories ever contributed to mankind. Jane Austen portrayed women fairly rather than trapping them in outmoded ideals. The Brontë sisters provided new perspectives in writing. Tolkien gave us worlds within worlds. Rowling gave us modern wings to fly. And Shakespeare, because he’s MF’ing Shakespeare.

I’m doing my best to squeeze Edinburgh in there, somewhere. Maybe a connection from Haworth? I’m not sure.

All this is subject to change anyway. I just like to-do lists, but all my to-do lists have ever been written in pencil. In this case, metaphorically so.

Where would you go and what would you see?

ArmedWithCoffee.com
Austin, Texas
@gnrmuggle

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