live your life, not a fake one: a final farewell to England

"Live your life, not a fake one."

I saw that written in graffiti on a stone wall on the train to Bath and I can't stop thinking about it. 

I cannot believe my three weeks in England are already up. It's such a weird feeling. On one hand I feel like I was there for a year, and on the other I feel like it was just yesterday that I was packing my suitcase. Traveling is like one giant time continuum vortex. Every time I say that I just think of the BEST episode of Boy Meets World of all time (see here).

My last few days in Axminster I spent with the family; working for Debbie, walking around town, and eating amazing food that isn't always easy to get in the states. We went to my final yoga class Thursday with Barbara while the sun was shining bright through the big windows. I seriously wish I could have packed Barbara in my suitcase and brought her here to be my yoga instructor in Atlanta. I absolutely loved her classes and her practice. I tried to soak in everything I could my last few days.

Stopped by the Axminster market one more time for a fish pie. So so yummy.

Had some wonderful last working days and dinners with Debbie (and Ted). I really loved watching Debbie interact with her animals. She cuddles with her cats by the fire in the morning and calls the oldest, "old friend" and the dogs her "skunks". She really has such a big heart.

Took the dogs on a final walk in the fields, where Ben found his biggest stick yet! He was such a proud pup.

Had a final dinner with the family at the Indian restaurant down the street where we took cute but cheesy mirror pics and had far too much wine. Side note: curry in England is freaking RIDICULOUS. 

Said goodbye to this AMAZING view.

And this one.

And this one. OK seriously, why did I leave?

And, of course, said goodbye to the sweet & cozy caravan.

I cannot thank Debbie, her husband, and her family enough. They truly made me feel like a part of their family and I already miss them. But it was time to take on London for the weekend and head back home. 

I took the train to London on Friday and booked an Airbnb for the night. And I'm not going to lie to you friends, as much as I loved the caravan it was really nice to have a giant bed and giant TV and giant shower. I can only glamp for so long (glamorous camping). I met up with my friend Sara who lives in Camden (PS: this is also the town that Amy Winehouse is from...call it what you will but I call it fate).

Sara used to work with my sister in the US and she moved to London with her now wife, Marie. I had only hung out with Sara a couple of times with my sister but never spent much time with her one on one. Luckily, she is one of those people that immediately makes you feel like her best friend. It seemed like we had already been friends for years. She's one of those really naturally beautiful people with a great personality and the best (and LOUDEST) laugh that I've only heard one other time in my life (yes Brooke, I'm talking to you).

Friday night Sara made risotto for me, Marie, and her friend Sophia. Sophia is adorable and informed us that Americans always throw in extra words that are unnecessary like instead of "riding" we say "horse back riding" or "tuna" is "tuna fish" and "glasses" are "eye glasses". Never noticed that before!

Saturday morning I had a chocolate croissant, and drank tea in bed while I watched TV. Pretty lovely actually. I headed over to Sara and Marie's and we got ready to DO THE DAY. In the rain. And cold. Shocking. 

So off we went into the rain with Sara's GIANT umbrella that she kept running into everything with. Our first stop: Borough Market. This market was kind of similar to the Axminster market. If the Axminster market WAS ON CRACK AND ADDERALL AND DRANK 6 RED BULL. I was basically about to pass out from the excitement of all of it. I'm talkin' cheeses, 12 different kinds of mustards, soaps, veggies, juices, bags, lotions, fruits, food stands, wine stands, IT GOES ON AND ON. 

Marie almost immediately targeted the stand with cheese. Marie is French and from what I know of French women she definitely fits the profile. Beautiful, confident, and a huge lover of meat, cheese, and wine. I was starting to get hangry and very indecisively decided on what to eat. A huge market full of amazing food on my last day? How would anyone decide ever? 

I finally chose the duck confit salad and I have zero regrets. 

We walked around for a while, occasionally stopping somewhere for a drink or a snack and to escape the cold.

Westminster Abbey....swoon. 

Westminster Abbey....swoon. 

And my favorite part of London.....

The London Eye. From far away it looks like any other ferris wheel, but the closer you get you realize how INSANELY huge it is. It also takes about an hour to get through the whole thing. Sounds cool, but only if I had wine in there amiright?

We had dinner at this amazing restaurant in Camden. By the end of Saturday we were soaked from rain, cold, exhausted, full of wine and food, and content. The four of us spent the night talking and laughing in Sara and Marie's upstairs loft until we tired ourselves out. 

The next morning I carried my stupidly large and heavy luggage to the tube, hopped on the plane and headed home.

I can honestly say that this trip was more I could have asked for. I faced one of my biggest fears, I met people from different backgrounds and cultures that I never would have met before, I experienced a whole new country all on my own where I had a lot of time to really think about what I want to do and where I want to go in life. I'm feeling incredibly lucky and full of ideas and goals and plans and I can't wait to share every single one of them with all of you.

So for now, it's back to your regular scheduled programming of food and cocktails and furniture, but I think I'll continue to throw in some personal posts as well.

England, I love you.