Full UK Review, Part I: Overview/Travel

July 11, 2009 in On Writing, Travel by pacejmiller

UK

[Note: I started this post on my final night in Cambridge and ended up with only a brief summary, but didn’t get to flesh it out until I was on the plane – here it is in full, split into parts]

Overview

The last 9 months of my life has been like a dream. My wife and I put our jobs on hold to come to the UK so I could pursue my masters in law at the University of Cambridge. At the time, I was at a crossroads in my life. I had worked for 3 years as a lawyer, but I wasn’t particularly happy, and I was constantly more stressed than necessary. There was also this dream of completing my first novel (my shitty horror novella more than 10 years ago doesn’t count), but I wasn’t sure how it fit into the grand scheme of things. All I knew was that I needed a break.

And so, the days came and went with frightening speed. We lived a simple but blissful life- travelled all around Europe, watched a lot of movies and TV shows we didn’t have time to watch before, read the odd book (other than textbooks), and I poured hours into my first serious effort at completing my fantasy novel. I even started this blog and it soon became a mini-obsession. Oh, and I studied occasionally too.

Yesterday, as my wife and I made that final bike ride down to my College to hand back the keys, donate our bikes and finally ‘sign out’ of Cambridge, these wonderful times came flooding back to me. Sure, the UK can be bloody awful sometimes. A lot of the time, actually. Prices can be criminal, especially dining out. Efficiency is definitely not a strength here (you get shocked how ‘behind’ this supposedly ‘advanced’ country is), and it can get ridiculously cold in the winter; and don’t even get me started on the schizophrenic weather and the Tube in London. But as I signed my name on college paper, it hit me that I was going to miss this place.

And fittingly, as we walked out of my college for the very last time, rain started bucketing down. It marked the end of 9 of the best months of my life (though I also rate my 6 months in Japan as right up there!).

Okay. Now I got the corny stuff out of the way, it’s time to review what the heck I did with my time in the UK. Here goes: visited 15 countries and 38 cities/towns/villages/islands, watched 79 movies and 17 seasons of 11 TV series, read 9 novels and 1 non-fiction book + 1 audio book, wrote 100,000+ words on novel and 170 blog posts…oh, and obtained ONE masters level law degree.

Travel

Visited 15 countries and 38 cities, towns, villages and islands around Europe.  For the full list of places and a round-up of the best and worst, see my Ultimate European Adventure Round-Up.