September Was Busy Because…

…of things like these:

scenes from London
scenes from London

and these:

scenes from York
scenes from York

and these:

scenes from the Hadrian's Wall trail
scenes from the Hadrian’s Wall trail

My husband and I spent two weeks in England on an amazing vacation. It was the first trip for both of us, and we loved every minute of it. You know how with some vacations you’re ready to come home? This was not one of them.

We completely disconnected from social media. My phone was brought along only for local calls to confirm reservations and for a second camera. I read no blogs. I didn’t look at Facebook or emails. When we had wireless access, we only checked things like the next day’s forecast. It was a wonderful feeling of freedom.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Social media has its place. I’ve “met” some wonderful folks here in the blogosphere. And without it, I would never have had the chance to meet this amazing “blog buddy” in person:

England 2014 176

Hey Vanessa—notice how the faces of the people behind us are disguised by the railing through the eyes!

Seated on my left is the lovely and multitalented Vanessa-Jane Chapman. I know many of you follow her blogs (here and here), and I’m delighted to tell you she’s as charming and witty in person as she is in her posts. As someone who is both introverted and shy, I was afraid I would be tongue-tied when we met in the British Museum’s Gallery Café.

But there was no reason to fear. Vanessa and her partner, Neil, made my husband and me feel right at home. We were all chatting away within moments. I wish we could have spent more time visiting, but our stay in London was limited. If we ever get back there again, I hope we’ll get to spend more time with Vanessa and Neil. If you ever have the opportunity to meet a good blog buddy in person, please do consider it, even if you’re as shy or introverted as I am. You have an excellent chance of having a great time.

I’m still recovering from jet lag, so this is a short post. But I should be getting back to a weekly schedule, and I’ll be writing more posts about this amazing trip, which I hope also inspired my characters to start writing again. I hope you’ll enjoy them!

72 thoughts on “September Was Busy Because…

    • The trip couldn’t have been more perfect. We only had rain in the morning on our last day walking Hadrian’s Wall. And it wouldn’t be England without some of that, right? 🙂 Everyone we met was so nice and helpful, from London to York to Northumberland and Cumbria. You can bet we want to go back again. And I hope we could meet up again and have more time to visit! 🙂

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  1. Disconnecting from the Internet can be liberating. Everyone should do it from time to time. That’s one of the things we like about cruising. There’s a forced disconnect from the outside world.

    Welcome home!

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    • I admit it—I was a bit worried that I’d go through Internet withdrawal. Now I know better. 🙂 Being able to focus on where we were and the sights around us and simply enjoy them was both relaxing and invigorating. And I know my body appreciated being away from the computer and desk and getting the chance to move the way it should. I’m hoping to establish a better system for the work days so it won’t get grumpy again. 🙂

      Thanks! And I hope I won’t bore everyone with too many England photos and stories. 😉

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    • It was a great trip, and we hope we’ll have the chance to go back someday. There’s still so much we didn’t see, and I’d love the chance to catch up with Vanessa again. I promise I’ll try not to go overboard with photos and posts about England. 😉

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    • Thanks, Phillip! I think my husband and I are ready to go back this weekend—if only there wasn’t this pesky necessity called money…. 🙂 I hope you can get back there and show young Angus the sights you enjoyed!

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    • Hands down, this has been our best vacation to date. The sights were amazing, and the people were wonderful. And getting to meet Vanessa in person was the icing on the cake. She could probably spend an entire US vacation simply visiting with blog buddies!

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    • You can bet we want there to be a next time! There were so many places we didn’t get to see, but hopefully we will before too long. The countryside is absolutely beautiful. 🙂

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    • It was a wonderful trip. Everyone we met was so friendly and helpful. Reality and preconceived notions often don’t mesh, but so many things were almost exactly how I envisioned them. I almost expected to see Miss Marple in some of those villages!

      I’ll make sure to add Hampton Court to the next trip’s places to see. We did get to see some of the monasteries that fell to Henry’s machinations….. Busy man, that one!

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  2. Looks like you had a fabulous time–thanks for letting me enjoy bits of it through your wonderful photos. Did you ride the Ferris wheel? I’ve met a blog buddy in person too (turns out she lives in my city–small world) and also really enjoyed my time with her. We even went to a concert together with our hubbies. Look forward to more of you in the blogosphere now you’re back. (BTW–I like your new avatar photo of yourself).

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    • Alas, the line for the Eye was just too long, and there were too many sights to see in such a short period of time. We knew we couldn’t do much in London, so we had to choose carefully. So, perhaps not surprising for two archaeologists, one day was devoted to the British Museum. 😉 Living in the same city as a good blog buddy must be a treat—a chance to become friends in the “real” world, too. Lucky you!

      You win the bragging rights for being the first to notice the new photo! This is a brand new cut and style, and I had my husband take some photos as soon as I got home. I knew I’d never get the look exactly right like this again. 🙂

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    • My photos won’t be anywhere as spectacular as yours, but I think you’ll get a feel for our trip from them. Now, to come up with some words to describe how wonderful everything was! 🙂

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  3. Sounds like you had a great trip JM and if only I’d known you were just a stone’s throw away! I live on the north bank of the Tyne, near where Hadrian’s Wall ends. Interestingly, the Council has just demolished an old pub and discovered the original Roman bath house at Wallsend.

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    • Maybe we can meet up on another trip—because my husband and I would both love to go back again! We walked the section of the wall between Corbridge and Brampton, not really having the time to do the entire route. The country up there was awesome. I’ve read about windswept moors and have seen so many movies and TV shows set against that backdrop, but to experience them for myself was an unforgettable experience. You live near some amazing scenery and archaeology!

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      • I think you could live there to be 100 and never get to all of it. Being there- actually being where all the stuff you read about and see pictures of is an unforgettable experience.
        Unplugging sounds wonderful…you can actually focus on experiencing what’s right there in front of you. No selfies required. Really.
        Sounds like a great adventure! More pix!

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        • More pix will be forthcoming! I suspect I’ll have at least two posts about the trip, maybe more if I still have some aspects I want to share. I just don’t want to turn them into those endless slide shows that some folks are notorious for inflicting on others. 😉 I must admit—we did take some “couplies.” But only when there wasn’t anyone nearby to ask for help with a proper photo. And I won’t inflict those on anyone because I can’t stand the way I look in them!

          Sigh. I’m still having trouble readjusting to a “normal” routine. Work, errands, … It was so nice to set them aside like we did. 🙂

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  4. Ha, I live in the UK and have barely seen those lovely places you’ve put in those pics. I should spend more time mooching around and appreciating the amazing history we have here. Ho hum. I still have time.

    Glad you enjoyed your trip! x

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  5. Hi JM – great photos, they made me homesick for England! How brilliant that you could meet up with a fellow blogger with your partners and all get on so well. It’s amazing how much we can gauge from a person through their blog. Good to have you back (I’ve been very slack myself lately…).

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    • I know there must be bloggers and other social media types who present a “public” facade that runs counter to their true natures. But I really think that the people I interact with show a true side of themselves, and that’s what made it so easy to “connect” with Vanessa. Of course, I’m not saying we know everything about each other, but we had a solid starting point in place when we met at the British Museum. And so we could skip over those potentially awkward silences we have when first meeting someone. 🙂

      England was absolutely beautiful, and I hope we’ll be able to get back there before too many years go by. It’s hard to get back into the swing of things after such a fun trip, but it’s time to get serious about blogging and writing again!

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  6. When I opened your blog I wasn’t expecting to see familiar places! I’m glad you had a lovely time. It’s quite a few years since I’ve been to York – I love that city. Hadrian’s Wall is still on my list of places to visit.

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    • As an archaeologist, I’m probably biased, but the scenery and Roman sites around Hadrian’s Wall were spectacular. If you go, make sure you visit the Vindolanda fort. It’s the best one for really seeing the layout of the forts and surrounding “vicus” (an adjacent civilian settlement), and the museum is state of the art with incredible artifacts—including wooden tablets on which letters and documents were written. We don’t find things like that very often!

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  7. Oh, weee, how fun. You’re the second blog I read this week who met a blog buddy. I’m sooo jealous. I’m not introverted, so I’d be a bouncy ball of excited energy if I met one of you guys. England. Wow! How fantastic. Take a rest and I’ll look forward to you getting back.

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    • This was truly the best vacation we’ve ever taken. Thankfully, that volcano in Iceland was ejecting a lava flow and not an ash cloud. We really didn’t want the flights to be cancelled! I’m hoping we can make it back there someday to see even more of the sights.

      Getting to meet Vanessa was the icing on the cake. If you find yourself with the chance to meet a blog buddy, go for it. It’s a real treat! 🙂

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    • Definitely let Vanessa know when you’ll be there—she and Neil were an absolute delight to meet and visit with! Meeting up in the British Museum was one of the top highlights of a trip that was full of amazing sights and sounds. I’m ready to go back now. 🙂

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    • Thanks, Margarita! I decided it was time to stop hiding behind the sunglasses. 🙂 So when I had my stylist chop off 6+ inches and give me a more modern style, I had my husband take some photos while my hair still looked good. 😉 It’s good to be back, but it’s also hard to get back into a routine!

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  8. So glad to hear you had an awesome and trouble-free vacation, JM! And, isn’t it fantastic to unplug like that for two weeks? I always enjoy that part of going away, even if it’s for a short period.

    I feel bad that I’ve never been brave enough to connect with blog buddies here in the States, let alone those overseas. So many of my best-loved bloggers are right here in the mid-Atlantic! I guess we get caught up in our daily lives that just getting in the car to grab some takeaway feels like an endeavor. So glad I read your post and got to welcome you back from a gorgeous time, to remind me to remember the important bits of connecting with people on my own vacations.

    Take your time with catching us up. Sounds like you have some catching up on sleep and rest from all that adventure!

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    • I’m not only an introvert—I’m also very shy (and have been all my life). But I’m okay if someone else can get the conversational ball rolling. And both Vanessa last month and Kourtney Heintz last year were very good at that. So it was easier for me to get comfortable and enjoy the camaraderie. And I had a wonderful time meeting both of them. But I know how daunting it can be to meet new people—even those we’ve formed relationships with in cyberspace. Will the other person be anything like their online persona? Will they be disappointed in our “real-life” personality?

      I suspect, though, that the people we enjoy blogging with the most are those who present a realistic image online. Of course, most of us don’t share everything, but what we do show really is part of us. And I think meeting those favorite bloggers usually goes very well.

      We’ll see how long it takes me to get back to a weekly schedule. The day job’s work load didn’t magically get itself done while we were away! 🙂

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    • I can’t say that we’ll be there too soon, but I’d love to go back! I haven’t been there since high school, which is far too long. And meeting an expert on the local wines would be such a cool thing to do…. 🙂

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    • I have to admit—that break from social media and email and everything “interconnected” was a wonderful feeling. I have to find a way to schedule “minibreaks” like that more regularly. I think my sanity — and writing — would benefit immensely! 🙂

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