Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Guide to Traveling with (Figurative) Rabbits

As per the usual MO on this blog, this was not the post I was planning on writing today. I actually wrote an entirely different post, looked at it, thought about, then decided, "Nah, Internet, you don't need to hear me talk about that." Then I tried to decide what the Internet really should hear me talk about and I was drawing a pretty solid blank. Regardless, this is a much more positive post than the angst I turned out yesterday and a more enjoyable read (I hope).

As I mentioned last summer, I'm going to London in the winter, a sort of late graduation gift/ "Oh my God I can't pass up this once in a lifetime opportunity to see two of my favorite actors in the same Shakespeare play"/ any excuse to go back across the pond. The plane tickets have been purchased and everything is a go. So this seems as good of time as any to give a rundown for my traveling companions and the world at large what to expect when journeying with rambling rabbity me.

1) I've been across the pond a couple times already: Yes, I have traveled abroad before. Yes, I have been to London before (when I was sixteen with my high school concert and marching band). I will say annoying things like, "the last time I was here" or "when I was here before" which I found out the hard way irked my traveling companion who had never traveled overseas before when I went with her to Scotland. I like to impart my traveling advice and my experience because I really, really enjoy traveling. Especially to the UK. However, this may prove annoying and if that's the case, a sound punch in the arm should do the trick.

2) There is a 100% chance I will get us lost at least once: I like to think I'm pretty good at reading maps and navigating. This is mostly true, but I am far from perfect at it. I will get things mixed up or not remember which direction we came from or get turned around and take us the wrong way. Or I will say, "Hey, what's over there?" and bound off and forget that we originally had another destination that we should be heading towards. If I get us lost, I'll admit it (probably). But prepare for lots of maps - I like maps. Even though it conflicts with the following point.

3) I like being a tourist but I don't want to look like a tourist: Because I have taken the fear of being an ugly American too much to heart, sometimes I'd prefer anyone not to know I am American. Even though once I open my mouth that's kind of impossible to avoid. I will likely grow self-conscious about looking too touristy or being perceived as rude to locals. I will gladly do touristy things (except for the duck boats considering one of them just caught on fire in the middle of the Thames) and I will totally look like a tourist while I cry over Globe Theater and dance through the streets and squee over dumb things like flowers growing in a park and store fronts and... okay, basically everything. Just keep telling me I look cool and normal. Because I most certainly won't (especially while carrying twenty maps and brochures and taking photos and dancing through the streets).

4) I left my soul in on this island and I kind of want it back: I was in Scotland in the late spring/early summer of 2011 and somehow managed to displace my soul there. In a "Harry Potter searches for horcruxes" fashion I might endeavor to find my soul. This seems futile. But I'll probably blabber out about how I'm losing even more of my soul in random places throughout London. However, I should mention, unlike Voldemort, losing parts of my soul is not the result of murder. You are welcome, United Kingdom.

5) Showers all over the world hate me: I have a problem with showers in any new place. I will stare at the apparatus, try and figure out how it works, and will likely get water everywhere. Here is a pictorial representation of me trying to figure out how a shower works:

The one thing I learned from traveling to London and Germany was this: ask how to use the shower first. Don't pretend to know what you are doing. Plumbing is weird and strange and I am not the sort of person who can figure out what knob or button or pulley or lever does what. As far as I'm concerned, plumbing fixtures are sorcery and I'm a Muggle. Even though my traveling companion in Scotland mocked me for saying, "I always have trouble with the showers," she also couldn't figure out how to make it work. This isn't just an international thing - I've been in American hotels and seriously stood in the tub for five minutes trying to figure out what did what. This is a "Gina is mystified by water fixtures" issue. Be prepared.

6) I bring a lot of stuff with me. And I don't mean just luggage: The last time I was in the UK (see what I just did there? Point #1 in action) I was on a study abroad trip and my companion was a high school friend with whom I have since lost connection with. Our friendship was on the rocks when we left and headed to drama central, and when we returned, things got exponentially weird. I'm not sure how many of the issues from this experience and unresolved problems I still have exactly and I'm afraid some that I didn't expect to see again will reappear when I travel abroad once more. My mind may have some unfinished business and some ruminating it will think it needs to do and I'll do my best to keep any deep, dark revelations at bay. What's past is prologue, as Shakespeare said, and it's time to move on to a better beginning.


7) I eat like a hobbit: I like food. I like tea and coffee. I like drinks. Despite my rather short stature, I can eat quite a bit and I eat often. I am basically a hobbit - especially when being very active, as one generally is when traveling. I will want to eat all the things.

(Also, does hobbit sound like a mash-up of hedgehog and rabbit or is that just me?)

And pudding - did I mention I like pudding?

8) I will want to see all of the things: Baker Street? Gotta go. British Museum? Oh hell yes. National Gallery? Duh. Harrods? Sure. That one place where the filmed that one scene in that one movie? Absolutely. Did I see it the last time I was here? Maybe. Do I want to see it again? Um, yeah. I will not be able to see everything - I know this. But keep telling me there are more hours in the day than there actually are and I'll be placated. I'll also do my best to not be creepy and hope that I actually run into a celebrity. Because as cool and smooth as I'd like to think I'd be, it'd go something much more like this:

Which segues nicely in point #9:

9) This is going to be awkward: I mean, I'm going to go see two of my favorite actors in a Shakespeare play in one of my favorite cities in the world in January. If I'm not a total fangirly wreck by the end of December, it will be a miracle. I'm worried that I'm going to get all day dreamy and have my experiences skewed by impossible dreams instead of enjoying the city I'm in and letting my adventures take their own course. But I'm sort of living off of those day dreams right now and it's hard to get focus and clarity when you're living on a day-to-day basis of, "Do I work today? When do I start classes? What errands do I need to run? What phone calls do I need to make? Did I ever tell that person that one thing?"

Also did I mention that my favorite actor ever is in the play? And that I keep getting bombarded with things like this:



My ability to function like a normal human being is completely in jeopardy and will be for the rest of my life. Also, we're dealing with Shakespeare here and not just any Shakespeare but a Shakespeare tragedy. And a very timely one that deals with a lot of interesting political stuff. I imagine the whole thing will feel a little something like this:


If I manage to not turn into a gelatinous mass of human-wumany goop after this trip, it'll be a miracle.

10) When I am not overcome by feels, I will likely be acting like a kid in a candy store. Continue to treat me as if I were a mature adult anyway: Self-explanatory. My reactions will be, but are not limited to:

So there you have it: a short guide to traveling with rabbits. TL;DR? Watch this video:

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