Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Journey To England Part I

In late spring of 2008, at the age of 22, I took a trip to the UK and points beyond. But for now I’m only going to talk about my time in the UK.

Ah, Europe! That place where every white kid out of college goes to experience new sights and sounds!

New tastes!

And of course, Culture!

So basically to hit some tourist hot spots and enjoy the accents. Fuck you it’s something different! It builds character and independence! You’re only really living when unfamiliarity is your constant companion and god dammit, I was ready for some of that shit. I even planned for my journey to be slightly off the beaten path, because I was traveling with my friend Mike, who was an English NATIVE. 

And Local Magician.

He had been travelling there for several weeks before I arrived, plus he'd lived there for 14 years before he moved to the states. We planned to meet at the Gatwick North Terminal, but other than that we’d been out of contact basically since the start of his journey, so I didn’t know what he’d already done, or what the next step was. Why weren’t we in contact? He wasn’t using his cell phone overseas, and I didn't bring mine either.

This should do the trick.

To me this only added to the adventure, but for the very beginning of the trip it proved to be a huge pain in the ass. After a couple bus rides and flights, I landed at the Gatwick Airport South Terminal, to be met by my first foe, customs. The conversation with the agent basically went like this.

“Ok on your card you didn’t write down the address you’ll be staying at?”
“Yeah, I’ll be staying at hostels and my friend’s grandparent’s place and I don’t know the addresses”
“Ok, which hostels?”
“I don’t know yet.”
“Well what’s the phone number at the grandparent’s place?”
“I..don’t know”
“Ok..well what are you doing here?”
“Just plan to travel around with my friend basically..he’s uh..he’s from here.”
“Ok what's his phone number?
"He doesn't have one, he's been living in the States, and didn't bring a phone here."

"I see....."

“So when are you leaving?"
“June 10th.”
“Do you have your return ticket?”
“No, I’m going to print it at the kiosk when I leave”
“So let me get this straight….you don’t know exactly what you’ll be doing here, don’t know where you’re staying, don’t have any contact info, and can’t prove when you’ll be leaving”
"..yyyyes...but my friend should have a lot of information for you! He's waiting for me at the North Terminal!"
"Well why's he meeting you at the North Terminal?!"
"We thought international flights arrived at the North Terminal!!"

I think at this point this guy simultaneously realized “I don’t get paid enough for this job” and “This kid probably isn't a spy”.

The face of international espionage.

So we ended our pleasant conversation with:

"Alright..I'm gonna let you through, but TRY to have a little more information next time!"
"...K Thanks!"

So feeling a bit foolish, but also awesome, I grabbed my bags and then began my search for Mike. He had told me where to meet him in the north terminal, but I couldn’t remember. I thought “ok, so he’s in the other terminal, but I’m sure I’ll find him." Well it turns out Gatwick is a HUGE FUCKING AIRPORT, and NEITHER OF US HAD A FUCKING PHONE. I realized there’s no way I’d just chance upon him even if we were the only two people in the airport, so I had to get on the internet and sort through a few old emails. Voila! Found the email with the meeting spot, so off I went, and there he was. 


To be continued..


  1. This totally makes me want to go back!