Well, I'm off. Which is virtually a miracle since I was still packing when the taxi driver arrived. My back pack that is supposed to weigh 25lbs max. It weighs at least 50lbs. As soon as I get to London I have to box up as much as possible and send it home or else I'll be in traction by the end of the week. Robert and the Rick Steve's Guide tried to warn me. It is amazing how you think you will desperately need something until you have to carry it on your back for a few miles. Someone on my flight suggested that as I wear clothes and as they get dirty just trash them instead of washing and carrying them. I considered it, and thought to myself (I wish I had the life where 'option 1' is wear it once then throw it away) I'll find a post office near my B&B, so I'll mail just the heavy stuff home. I made acquaintance with my first European on the flight from Charlotte to London. (actually he's Scottish and lives in Ireland - they don't consider themselves European). He gave me the cold shoulder at first, but after an hour of watching me fumble through my Rick Steve's guidebook. He finally asked if I was on holiday. That's how the conversation started. We had a cocktail. I told him that this was my first trip overseas and about my open travel plans. He thought it was brave of me to take the trip alone. But he was most impressed by the fact that I was only traveling with one backpack and 2 pairs of shoes. He said he could not imagine any woman American or European traveling for that long with one pack. He works for an engineering firm and travels several times a year to the US. He sees the best of Colombia & Camden South Carolina at least 4 times a year?? He said his dream is to take a motorcycle trip across the US. But he thinks that he is too old now and it probably won't happen. He's 53. He has 2 children an architect and a doctor. He thinks life really began at 50. He thinks it's the new 40. His 30 year wedding anniversary is next week. I congratulated him. He said don't congratulate me. My wife left me last week. He doesn't know why. He sat silent and sad for a while. He then said. "I don't know why I told you that. I am traveling with my boss and a colleagues and I have not told them or anyone else". His eyes welled up and he decided to sleep. When we were preparing to land, we spoke briefly. He never mentioned the conversation from the night before. He gave me a list of Pubs where I could go to have Bangers and Mash or Yorkshire Pudding. Then he helped me set my phone to the proper time zone and wished me well on my travels.
And with that, I made it to London.