Ok so i was at hannah’s house. I say house but it’s an apartment. She hadn't moved out much before that, i think it was the 2nd time i’d hung out there for any longer than just a visit. Her tiny sign said hi mom or something like that.
She was in the bathroom or getting ready for us to leave the apartment, so of course I checked my phone. I had missed a text from my cousin Pam. This was the text.
Let me back up a bit. Pam is my cousin. She lives in London. And although this text was entirely out of the blue, this idea wasn’t. Whenever,
this was not entirely out of the blue. The previous spring she had been in ks to look at colleges for her daughter who is close to hannah’s age. The 4 of us talked some about the show. Sometime in summer of fall, after the announced it was coming, she texted to say they had gotten a virtual number to buy tickets and did i want to go if they got them.
Of course, i said. I’m always looking for an excuse to come back (true) and we all know how hamilton crazy i am. But quickly followed up with a text to say i needed to think about it realistically and i’d let her know.
of course my first thought was yes yes a thousand times yes
But then real life started making noise. Could I afford it? Could I take the time away from home and family? I was going to need to do some math and some talking to my people.
Here's the thing though - how to get back to England is always on my mind. That's the secret to making it happen. When people are jealous of my travels I remind that that I'm old and I didn't start till I was (in most cases) older than they are when they say it. And 2. STart planning. Start Learning. Start saving. Be ready so that when an opportunity shows up, even for a second, you're ready to jump on it. That's why I wear Justin's. That's the difference between a dream and a goal.
Of course danny was amazing and supportive. And i did some things to be able to afford it. This wasn’t really a determining factor but there was also the part about how soon it was. But to see hamilton? I would have left that weekend.
I have been saving. Not at lot but for a long time. I have a little travel fund and every once in a while, when i can, i toss some money onto. Because it’s a priority. Omethig about priorities and money and wanting to travel and how you should start saving because that makes it a goal instaead of a dream. Anyway. I had a pile of money - but i didn’t know if it was enough.
The thing i had in my favor was the place to stay in london. Not just a place but a lovely place. A place where my family was. I don’t know if you have family like this, but it is incredible to know you can go somewhere and have a safe warm happy place to stay with people who love you and will look out for you.
The other thing i had was my brain and a bunch of flight miles on SW. Flights from my home to london were 1700$. Flights from nyc to london are sometimes as cheap as a few hundred dollars.
I looked at prices, double checked with Danny, and texted Pam.
[image of an airplane]
I searched flight prices for a long time, and eventually found a flight that was the right combination of price and “i trust that airline”. I know a lot of things go wrong on a trip like i was planning, but one thig i didn’t want to risk was getting there - myself and my luggage. I’d be on the plane for a lot of hours, and since that sets the tone for the rest of the trip in a way, i wanted it to be as pleasant as possible.
Eventually I booked a flight into Philly, and then a flight out of NYC a week later. Because this trip had activated my super power.
We all have skills and things we kick ass at.
I am good at taking a simple trip, like going to a weddding or to see your cousin in Texas, or say, a trip to London to see Hamilton, and turning it to a longer, more complicated and much more fun trip. Usually involving at least one nearby city that i wasn’t planning to stop in but i might as well. It didn’t take long for a trip to London to turn into an epic adventure.
Ok that would be a great ending sentence but i have more to say. Maybe that’s the end of a page.
Of course I posted about this on social media. I was going to see Hamilton! AND I was going to see it in London. I mean.
And then, to my delighted surprise, two very old friends replied with invitations to visit and offers of a place to stay!
I knew them both from high school (and in case you don’t know me, that was a really really long time ago). Katheryn is a couple years younger but hung out in mostly the same crowd. She’s lived in london for a really long time now. She teaches language to school kids. She offered her place, and when I mentioned thinking about Hadrian’s Wall, she asked if she could go with me! Of course.
Sophie is British. Our senior year she came to my school as an exchange student. She lives in Devon and volunteered to be my personal tour guide of the area and offered me her mother’s extra bedroom. Wow. Even better, as we talked and i mentioned Wales was on the plan, she worked out with her friends to stay in their place in the gorgeous wilds of Wales.
At that point I knew any thought of a simple week in London to see Hamilton and visit my cousin was history and this trip was going to be epic.
I had places to stay just outside nyc, in nyc, in devon with a side trip to wales and 2 in london
So much of this trip was magic because of the love of my friends.
So what was the final plan? I’d fly to Philly on May 13, and be back to Kansas on June 2?. 39 days. Nice.