Planning your Life SUCKS!

Trip Start Aug 09, 2008
Trip End Oct 08, 2008

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

I've spent the better part of today planning my Expedition through the U.K and it sucks. I pre-purchased these vouchers to stay in B & Bs while I'm touring Britain, Scotland and Ireland. There's a website I can log into and book the B&Bs I want. I tried booking a room at the Bilbo Baggins B&B on the east coast of Britain as a first stop after getting off the ferry from mainland Europe. After that stop the plan was to head into London for a couple of days then head north.
I tried booking that B&B when I was in Amsterdam and I received an error message. I tried again once I arrived at this hotel. Still an error message. I thought that maybe the problem was that I was trying to book too soon to the date I requested. So I started planning my Expedition through the U.K.  I have vouchers for 8 nights in Britain/Scotland and 7 in Ireland. I wasn't going to use my vouchers for the 3 nights in London. I try finding accommodations in places that are no more than 300 kms from each other. I have to book single rooms or they'll make me use 2 vouchers. My first stop after London was going to be around York. Every town in the neighbourhood said it had no availability, that is, until I changed my search criteria to twin/double. Then they all had a lot of availability. That's when I realized that traveling solo and staying in B&Bs would not be a pro. It seems that most B&Bs cater to "couples", or at least people traveling together and sharing a room.
Due to the limitations of the website and it's search capabilities, I could search for availability in all of the U.K for single rooms and not limit it to specific regions. This gave a long list of B&Bs listed alphabetically by town. Where in the U.K (region wise) they were situated was not indicated on this list. Now it was a long process to determine if a specific town was located within my distance parameter of no more than 300kms from my previous stop and in the general direction I was going...north that is.
After all that I determined that I could get a single room in Helmsley (north of York-2  nights), in Edinburgh (2), Inverness (2) and then Stranraer (1-night, on the west coast of Scotland, close to where I take a ferry to Ireland). I am keeping one voucher for the southwest coast of Britain (in Torquay) for when I return from Ireland and before taking the ferry back to France. I'm still working on determining locations in Ireland (mapquest doesn't work with towns in Ireland for some reason).
So tomorrow morning I leave for Calais where I take a ferry to Dover and then ride directly to London. I'm staying at a hotel as all my couch surfing requests came back negative or I didn't receive a response. After all my trying to book myself and constantly receiving error messages I sent an email to the B&B travel company for help. They replied saying  that they were having no difficulties using my voucher number. So what gives? I sent them my list of B&Bs and dates and hopefully they will book them all.
So it's mid-afternoon and I still haven't left my room. I had planned on hanging out in Brugge. I guess I should write about yesterday and the day I arrived here.
I was exhausted when I arrived in Brugge. The wind was howling for 200kms of highway riding. I did get a little bit of rain but the Universe waited for me to be checked in before opening the taps. Then it poured all night long. That was OK. I went for supper in the hotel restaurant, watched a movie on TV and then was in bed by 9 pm, exhausted. Actually I did do something else. My cloths definitely needed washing. I was going to send it to the hotel laundry, that is, until I checked the prices. They wanted more to wash my t-shirts then they cost me. So I did what most backpackers do. Used the sink. Hand washing all your cloths isn't so bad. But hand wringing does make for wrinkly clothing. At least I smell prettier now.
Yesterday I woke up and still didn't have much energy. So I wrote a blog entry, paid some bills (actually, shuffled money around so that I can continue travelling-I don't actually have enough money to be doing both), and watched another movie. Then at 4 PM I felt like heading into town. This was perfect timing as the sky had cleared up. It had been very cloudy with a little bit of rain all day. The Universe is awesome.
Guess what? I was finally able to take some pictures of "des Moulin a Vent". Actually I saw 4 of them and took a lot of pictures. Then I wandered around town taking a lot more pictures. This is an awesome town. Then I stopped at a Cafe for supper where I met a couple of young women from Toronto on a brief holiday.
Originally my plans for today was to ride to Brussels, then I thought about just hanging out in town here (no camera, just wander and not think about anything but taking it all in), then it was suggested I take the train to Brussels, but as you can see, all the planning in the world doesn't mean any of it will happen. Then when I do try and plan ahead, as in pre-buying B&B vouchers, all I get are roadblocks and frustrations. My life seems to go better when I "wing it". But then I'm not in Britain yet. Maybe knowing exactly where I'll be for 18 nights will take the stress out of traveling. Not that I'm stressed. Though not knowing where you'll be in a couple of days is somewhat disconcerting...or NOT!
I've been thinking about my photography lately. Actually I think about it quite often.   My photography is what it is. But are the photographs of commercial quality? The weather to date hasn't really cooperated to get the best setting for my photos. Blue sky is so much nicer then dull grey. Then yesterday it seemed that every time I had a nice setting and buildings I wanted to photograph there would be some large truck parked in front of it. On a couple of occasions the trucks showed up just as I was about to take the picture. The Universe seems to be sending me a message. There is a purpose for my photography and what I'm taking pictures of, I just wish I could see the future and know what that purpose is. I am so impatient.
Then finally, I wish I was home. I think I'm all travelled out. Sleeping in my bed for a few months will be nice. I do have those thoughts on occasion. Actually I do have them most days. If I can't be home in my own bed then having a travelling companion would be a good alternative. Meeting all the people that I've met has been awesome. And seeing what I do, when I want, without having to worry about someone else's wishes is great. But having that one special person with you to experience all that there is to experience is something that I would also like.
Do I have any doubts about what I'm doing? Not at all. There is a reason for all that I feel and experience and these feelings are just part of it. When I'll be home I'll wish that I was travelling. When I'll be travelling with that special someone (you know...Alyssa) I'll wish that I was travelling alone. When I'll be travelling alone, I'll wish that I was with Alyssa. Knowing that there are choices to make in life is what life is all about. It's not that one choice is better than the other or that we are never satisfied with what we are presently experiencing.
Now that is the whole purpose of life! To learn to live in the present knowing that we have a past and a future and that we must stay aware that the past impacts the present but does not define the present. Nor does the past or the present, which becomes the past as soon as it occurs, determine the future. Only by living in the moment can we truly live life through knowing that we do have choices to make.
Wow! I haven't the faintest idea what I just wrote but what I am sure of is that I wouldn't trade what I am doing with anyone else. My life is amazing!
Think It! Feel It! Live It!
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