A little over three weeks ago, I boarded a plane in Salt Lake City, Utah. Eleven hours later I got off that plane in London, England.
While I have traveled the U.S extensively, this was the first time I had ever traveled internationally. I went to England for three weeks with a group from my university on an English Literature study abroad tour. I knew it would be amazing, I knew it would be perspective changing and life altering. Fulfilling dreams has a way of doing that. However, I had no idea just how amazing it would be, just how perspective changing, or how thoroughly life altering.
I love it when you feel yourself changing into something better as a result of something beautiful you have experienced. Of course, becoming better is a good thing even if the circumstances are less than favorable, but if something is so thoroughly wonderful that it seeps into your soul and changes who you are, then that is the most magical thing of all.
While we weren’t able to visit my ancestral homeland of Scotland, we saw so much of England and Wales, and even popped over to Ireland or a few days. I went into more cathedrals than I can count. I stood in each one of them in complete awe and reverence of the beauty surrounding me, of the hundreds of years of worship I could see with my own eyes. We were able to attend Evensong at Canterbury Cathedral as well as Salisbury Cathedral. Those are incredibly special experiences that I will always carry with me.
We saw a host of Shakespeare plays, we visited the homes of the Bronte family, William Wordsworth, and Jane Austen. We spent four magical days in London, where I left a good portion of my heart. We saw castles and manor houses. We basked in the breathtaking beauty of the countryside. I fell into a relationship with scones and hot chocolate from which I shall never recover. We visited Cambridge and went punting. We spent three glorious days in Stratford-Upon-Avon, a city that has completely and utterly stolen all of my love and then some.
I have been home now for about four days, battling the jet lag and mostly winning. But I feel so different. While I love my home very much, I would be lying if I said that I’ve come home the same person. This trip was not only a dream come true, but it felt as though a piece of me that had long been yearning had finally come home.
So my only request, England, is that you take very good care of it until I return.