While I was living in the United Kingdom in 2008, I took a quick tour through the Highlands of Scotland with Haggis Adventures. It was three of the most beautiful days of my life. I’m eager to return one day soon to see even more of this magnificent place. For now, allow me to reminisce via this collection of photos from my trip. Enjoy!
It was rare for myself and one of my coworkers at Bodeans to have a day off at the same time. This was especially rare with my coworker and friend Martina, who worked the most out of anybody.
When the unexpected day did arise that we both had the day off, we made plans to visit Kew Gardens, London’s royal botanical gardens. Located southwest of the city, the gardens host many large greenhouses containing the world’s largest collection of plants from around the world.
The grounds also host other attractions including Queen Charlotte’s cottage, Kew Palace, and a treetop walkway. Many of these are only open during the summer months, and were thus closed on the day of our visit, but we enjoyed walking through the gardens nonetheless.
The day was overcast and chilly, but the rain held off just long enough for us to explore the grounds. I captured a large collection of photographs — these are my favorites.
Erstwhile Expeditions is an ongoing series in which I reflect on my past travel experiences. I recently wrote about the good times I spent with my amazing flatmates and shared some photos from a weekday walk along the Thames. In my last post, I showed you some photos from a day in Greenwich.
On a particularly fine Saturday in the early spring of 2008, my flatmate and I ventured out for a day trip to Greenwich.
You may be familiar with Greenwich, as it is the home of the Greenwich Meridian, the prime meridian of the world, upon which our modern time zones are based.
Greenwich is also home to the Royal Naval College, the National Maritime Museum, and the Royal Observatory. The area was a popular resort town in the 18th century, and the historic buildings have been upkept beautifully since.
I was a little surprised to discover that Greenwich lies inside the greater London area, and is accessible via London’s underground system. Perhaps due to my inability to properly read a map, I had always imagined Greenwich to be much farther outside of London.
During our visit, we ran across a strange group of costumed young adults. They seemed to be participants in some kind of race. They milled around the observatory grounds for some time before suddenly taking off running down the hill into the park below. Most of them were dressed like various foods, but we did see one man in an elaborate tin foil fork costume.
I love how crazy the British are.
Erstwhile Expeditions is an ongoing series in which I reflect on my past travel experiences. I recently wrote about my search for a new job in London and the good times I spent with my amazing flatmates. In my last post, I shared some photos from a weekday walk along the Thames.
Back when I lived in London, I found that I had an occasional day to myself. I devoted many of these days to running errands and hiding inside from bad weather, but many more I dedicated to exploring the city.
On one particularly sunny afternoon in February, I threw on my coat, grabbed my camera, and hopped on the tube, unsure where I would end up. By the time we’d arrived at Westminster Station, I’d made up my mind.
I disembarked and made my way towards the south bank of the Thames, photographing everything that caught my eye.
I enjoy looking through old photographs. Aside from the obvious nostalgia involved in revisiting the past, I notice how much my photography skills have improved. Photos that I was once proud of now make me cringe a little bit.
Thinking back on my experiences, I sometimes wonder why I didn’t photograph certain things that I would definitely capture now. Similarly, I wonder why I bothered to capture certain things at all. At the time, certain things must have stood out to me more than others. Different things were important to me.
Erstwhile Expeditions is an ongoing series in which I reflect on my past travel experiences. I recently wrote about how I left my first overseas job after only four weeks and began searching for something better. In my last post, I wrote about the good times I spent with my amazing London flatmates.
Erstwhile Expeditions is an ongoing series in which I reflect on my past travel experiences. I recently wrote about my search for my first job in London and how I left that job after only four weeks. In my last post, I wrote about the search for something better.
One of the best things about moving back to London was my new flat.
I discovered the flat through Nick, a friend that I had met upon first arriving in London. We had kept in touch during my few weeks away, and he had moved into our work abroad program’s long-term hostel. As luck would have it, just as I was returning to London, a room became available and I quickly snagged it.
The flat was a traditional-style English flat, located in West Kensington. It housed two bedrooms and one bathroom on each floor, except for the main floor which replaced one of the bedrooms with a living area.
Each bedroom had two beds and a small kitchenette. The kitchenette was a large cabinet with a few shelves, a mini-fridge, and a stovetop. It was nice for simple meals, but I didn’t cook a lot at home.
My roommate and I had a room on the second floor, overlooking the street. Our room had high ceilings and two massive windows. We had a beautiful view of an old church across the block.
Morgan, my roommate, had been living in the flat for some time before I moved in. She was Canadian, and was on a year-long work visa, thus she remained my roommate for the entirety of my stay. We got along quite well. She was working an office job with regular weekday hours, and I was waitressing with odd hours. We each got to spend a lot of personal time alone, but also had many occasions to hang out together.
The rest of my flatmates were a lot of fun, too. While a few people came and went during my stay, those of us there for a long time formed a core group of friends. We had a lot of fun together, hanging out and exploring the city.
We became regulars at a few local pubs and participated in their respective pub quizzes. We tried all kinds of food at local eateries. One warm evening, we grilled kebabs in our tiny backyard. We took day trips both around the city and even ventured out to other English towns. We wandered through Greenwich and had tea in Stratford-upon-Avon. We visited Canterbury Cathedral. We even travelled as a group to our local laundromat, lugging suitcases back and forth down the city streets.
On rainy evenings after work, we lounged in our little living room watching British television shows. Nick worked at a cupcake shop and would sometimes bring leftovers home for us to devour.
I spent much of my time traveling exploring places on my own, but there was something special about the time I spent with my flatmates. I experienced new things through the eyes of a group of friends — not just my own.
Even though we’ve since lost touch, I’m grateful for the time I spent with them in London. They enriched my experience and left me with countless memories that I could not have created alone.