It's August 2019-I'm arriving at my latest pet sit in Cobham; a village 17 miles south of London. It's not just raining, it's pouring! (VIDEO) There's lightning, wind, and madness as passengers chaotically dash from train car to shelter. There's bulging eyes, universal swearing, and facial expressions reflecting getting slapped by Mother Nature's watery prank.
My youthful hostess is collecting me at the station. There was my usual "watch for a confused lady with a green backpack looking lost" spiel. I'm searching for a dark, compact car. In England during a rainstorm, that doesn't narrow the field much.
Remember, I don't use a SIM card so texting/phone calling are out. Breaking my dependence on technology and relying on my brain to navigate-learning curve. Try it sometime in a foreign country; it'll scare the #%*$ outta you. In spite of weather that would make the Hounds Of Baskerville whimper, we find each other. We head off in her dark, compact car, wipers flapping, windows steaming, and me...resembling a soggy Taco. I'm grateful to be in a car verses walking.
Taking care of pets and homes so people can jaunt off to vacation with confidence is a joy. In Cobham, my charge is Sasha; a "I want nothing to do with you" cat. Still, my host was delighted (and shocked) when Sasha warmed up to me. Just call me the cat whisperer. 😻Similar to pet sitting the DIVA IN WANTAGE ENGLAND (VIDEO), my time was devoted to Sasha and tutoring English verses a lot of day trips.
One day, while it was raining (again), I had a little emotional breakdown. I felt a wave of sadness come over me like a rolling pin on soft dough. I cried- then cried some more. Then scolded myself; then cried some more. Whatever it was, I let it out. Was this some ancient emotion coming up from my knee caps? Was it just the rain? This has happened before and I've come to the conclusion that the stress of traveling alone in foreign countries, coupled with a lack of community, no familiarity and no physical touch will shake any hard core traveler to your floor. And, don't give me that "oh, you'll make so many international friends bullshit"...at the end of the day, you're alone in a foreign country. No one knows your name or cares. Over time, I've created a "to do" list to help process these moments. Hmm, note to self, create a post on how to cure the blues and blahs with long-term travel.
But it wasn't all drab and dullsville, I enjoyed many new adventures in Cobham; like TEA WITH A ROBOT (VIDEO). An afternoon Creamed Tea at The Tea Terrace was a staple of my day along with a come-rain-or-shine midday walk. Here, I met Theresa; the robot that not only delivers tea to your table, but chats with a lovely British accent. The ambience was very girly and I felt like a princess. It's full of life-size Cinderella carriages, more pink than a Mary Kay convention, and delicate porcelain that would bring forth table manners from a caveman. Tinkling ivories from the player piano dance in the background.
Once, while strolling through town, bored with my rag tag clothing, I prayed out loud, "Lord, I would just love to have a black blazer, wrinkle free, 3/4 length sleeve, washable, and a little dressy." Literally, within seconds, a monstrous black Bentley whisked by and a stunning black blazer fell off the trunk. There, sitting in the road, was my Law of Attraction.
I tried to flag down the driver, even looked for the car in town. No luck. So, I inherited a stunning designer piece that checked all the boxes, plus. We've been BFF's ever since!
TRAVEL TIP: In England, make time to visit the plethora of "Charity Shops"- what we call Thrift Stores. They're packed with delicious bargains, European trinkets, and "very British" volunteers who have mastered the art of chit chat. Think Mrs. Doubtfire.
My last escapade was a reminder of tenacity, and once again, choosing peace, knowing everything will work out. The situation- I'm ready to leave Cobham, need to catch the bus so I can catch the train, so I can switch trains (twice), so I can arrive in West Wickham at a designated time for my next house/pet sit host to pick me up. No bus!! Picture me sitting on the side of the road with my belongings, wondering what to do. Should I leave to investigate and possibly miss the only bus? I had checked the bus schedule 74 times,🤣 so I knew something was wrong. After about 45 minutes, a man wearing a suave Aussie hat moseyed up to the bus stop and coolly sat down. I asked about the bus and he blandly stated it had broken down; but another would be along shortly. Fwehh! I still made the train(s) and arrived on time with sun-a-blazin'.😎 The reminder; patience, flexibility, and confidence that everything will work out. It's part and parcel for a successful traveler.
I've decided to rename this village, Cool Head Cobham; for this is where I applied equanimity, deepened my self-reliance, and felt plucky for choosing a life most only dream about. I re-ignited my courage and wanted to howl at the moon. Or, at least grunt and devour meat. What's your brave moment? I'd love to hear your stories. Up next, London!