Back in early March I set off on a trip back to the States. I needed to answer the question, "Where is home?" I hate to travel by plane. I develop motion sickness easily. I suffered from it as a kid in automobiles, on escalators, elevators, Ferris Wheel, merry-go-rounds and even swings. So you can imagine my horror of traveling by plane. Add to this my need to maintain control over me and my immediate space, and the appalling manner in which airlines treat paying customers and it really is a recipe for acute tension and anxiety at the very least. Finally, I used to clean airplanes for a living and at one point I was trained to search for bombs on board planes. I know way too much about what goes on behind the scenes to be comfortable with current airport safety procedures.
Add to this the fact that I am an emotional empath. I have been able to pick up and read the emotions of people around me since I was very small. This is the main reason I hate crowds; too much energy swirling around--a lot of it negative and ungoverned by the people generating it. Airports are vortices of human energy. If I have to go out to a crowded place I have to shield myself and this takes an immense of amount of energy to maintain for any lengthy amount of time.
This trip back to America required I fly out of Heathrow--Europe's busiest airport and one that is huge and spread out. I was terrified I would not be able to find the actual gate, given that I am dyslexic and the more stressed I am, the more pronounced my symptoms become. Numbers and letters transpose themselves. I lose my peripheral vision and my hearing drops in and out. Les had been dead six weeks and I was a stew of overwhelming emotions, sleeping two to four hours a night maximum, and my new right knee was only four months along in the healing process. I made sure to get to Terminal 5 early--about three hours early. I checked in, checked my bags through with assistance from airport personnel, and made my way to a restaurant to put some decent food in my stomach far enough out from the actual flight that it would have no chance of coming back up again.
As I sat waiting for my meal to arrive, a woman was escorted to the table next to me. We began to chat and I discovered her name is Marie and she is a retired teacher. She travels a fair bit, lives in London and has an amazing bucket list blog. Her blog title says it all very succinctly: After60--thenext10: The bucket lists have been written. How much can be achieved in the next 10 years - from the mundane (baking an edible cake) to the ridiculous (kayaking through the rain forest).
Marie's company during lunch helped me to forget my anxiety and focus on something and someone else. She is interesting and funny, and I like how she divides her list up by tabs labeled, "Around London," "Around the UK," "Around the World," "Around Home." Within each tab are Marie's lists and those she has accomplished are indicated in red print and some have links to her posts about her experiences. She has visited the London Bank of England museum and lifted a gold bar worth £144,000, taken a tour of Lloyd's of London, gone fossil hunting on the Jurassic coast in Dorset, and visited the Holy Island of Lindisfarne.
Marie's blog is a great resource if one is looking for new things to find, do, and experience. For example her visit to the Hunterian Museum provides a link to the London Museums of Health and Medicine site offering links to twenty four different museums in London all having to do with health and medicine. Marie visited the old Roman Baths in the town of Bath and then went one better; she booked in for the Twilight Package at Thermae Bath Spa which uses the same waters as the Roman baths. I checked out their web site and WOW! The prices are amazingly reasonable and you get a lot for your money. I have now added this item to my bucket list!
|Marie enjoying a cocktail at Raffles in Singapore, China|
Closer to home his intrepid explorer has conquered more mundane goals: worked as a volunteer at the London Olympics, swam a Km doing the front crawl, tried Zumba and baked an edible cake! Marie still has loads of goals left to complete on her bucket lists and I look forward with great relish to reading about them as she does.