My Theoretical Vacation to England

I wrote over in LiveJournal (since that’s where most of my friends relevant to the subject hang out) that I won’t be going to WisCon this year. And in addition to not seeing my Madison friends, I’m bummed that I won’t get to see my British friends, whom I don’t really have much hope of ever seeing aside from at WisCon, until and unless I go on my Theoretical Vacation to England.

Naturally, the TVtE seems like a good topic for a journal entry.

I’ve been to England twice before, once with each of my parents, back in the mid-1980s. I had a terrific time, I loved the Underground, loved the parks in London, loved the comic book stores in London, loved what I saw of the British Museum, and was mostly bored silly at the Tower of London and the couple of castles we went to. This was a peculiar time in my life (my mid-teens) to go travelling, as I was starting to become a little more interested in the world around me on its own terms, but I was still very much wrapped up in my own hobbies (I spent a bunch of time perusing rules books for the Champions role-playing game, for instance). In other words, as much as I enjoyed it, I surely didn’t get nearly as much out of it as I could have.

One of the biggest disappointments for me was Stonehenge, which was roped off so you couldn’t get within, oh, 50 feet (17 meters) of it. Actually I have no idea what the actual distance was, but it was far enough that I just found it an unrewarding experience. Of course, it’s roped off because tourists had been chipping little bits off the stones for years as souvenirs, thus the stones were gradually eroding. It makes sense, but I was still disappointed.

Some years later I learned that there are actually hundreds of stone circles throughout England, and many of them, although local landmarks, don’t have the celebrity of Stonehenge. But many of them are interesting and cool in their individual ways.

So for some years now I’ve had the notion of making a two-week trip to England, and spending the first week (or maybe slightly less) in London, seeing the sights there, and then renting a car and driving around the countryside seeing various stone circles, as well as the towns and landscape of England.

If this sounds like a half-baked plan, well, you’re exactly right: I’ve never done any research as to where the other circles are, which ones I should visit, how easy they are to reach, whether it’s easy to find sleeping space nearby, or for that matter how easy it would be to rent a car in England. Heck, 7 or 8 or 9 days might not be enough time to make such an expedition worthwhile. But I figure until I have even a half-formed idea of when I (and Debbi!) might go on this trip, it doesn’t make sense to spend a whole lot of time working out the details. I’m hoping it’s not a completely infeasible idea, though.

It’d be fun to see my British friends in their native habitat, too!

I’m not much of a traveller, though, so I don’t know when I might try to make this trip a reality. Debbi and I still haven’t gotten back to Hawaii in nearly four years since our first trip. I admit it: I’m a stay-at-home kind of guy. I worry about leaving the cats when we go away, I worry about the flight going wrong, or some government-related stupidity that might leave me (or maybe just my laptop) stranded in a far-away land for some unknown period of time.

But, maybe someday. I’m probably not going to stay here forever. After all, for all my sluggishness, I’ve never stayed anywhere else forever, either…

4 thoughts on “My Theoretical Vacation to England”

  1. If you’re going to rent a car, book it from the states. In my (limited) experience it will be much cheaper and will also be a nicer car.

    It will probably also be automatic as opposed to manual. I’ve got nothing against manual, but (for me) shifting with my left hand took a higher percentage of available concentration than I would have liked.

    My last visit to the U.K. was about a decade ago, so YMMV.

  2. So set a date: say June 2008.

    All the usual suspects rent cars over here – Hertz, Avis, Alamo etc etc.

    I find Travelodge ( a reasonable chain – they won’t surprise you in either a good or bad way, and they are prone to cheap offers. For example, we’re touring in Wales and Dorset in August, so we’ve got a room in the Travelodge in Bath, in the centre of town, for £26 for one night. They’re reasonably widespread as well…

    (And now you’ll have to work out why June 2008 isn’t the answer…)

  3. Susan and I have pushed an England trip to the top of our list-of-places-to-go-before-we-die. My own vague thoughts are much like yours, except that I’m almost convinced I don’t want to rent a car (that whole driving on the wrong side of the road, and English traffic in general).

    On the other hand, it seems pretty likely to me that if you make plans and get tickets, the rest will sort itself out :

  4. That is one of my ideal vacation plans.

    Of course, I love Stonehenge and whenever (not too often I’m afraid) I do go to London I am sure to go out to Stonehenge and just look at it and walk around it and think pre-historic thoughts. I do know someone who has toured England and seen some of the many stone circles that are around and about, no pun intended.

    If you really want to go, you will go–an old saying of mine. And it applies to me also, if I really want to go to England, I should just get the tickets and go.

    Isn’t it odd that you say you didn’t appreciate Stonehenge as a teenager and here you are an adult wanting to see it and other stone circles. Some of the magic must have rubbed off.

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