Escape


When we get out of the glass bottles of our ego,
and when we escape like squirrels turning in the
cages of our personality
and get into the forests again,
we shall shiver with cold and fright
but things will happen to us
so that we don't know ourselves.

Cool, unlying life will rush in,
and passion will make our bodies taut with power,
we shall stamp our feet with new power
and old things will fall down,
we shall laugh, and institutions will curl up like
burnt paper.
~D.H. Lawrence


I make no secret of the fact that I feel stagnant in my life at the moment. It is difficult, having spent my formative years in a state of perpetual motion, to find contentment in a single place or situation… especially when things are as small and suffocating as they are now. Frustration increases when all attempts at escaping, be it a weekend to get away or a return to school in order to better oneself and breathe life into the same-o same-o, are thwarted.

As the primary provider for my family, I haven’t had anything resembling a true vacation or holiday in many years. Yes, I have been blessed enough to take a little bit of time off work; I simply haven’t had the means to do anything with that time. Driving trips to see my parents or, when I was married, the in-laws, have been the extent of my so-called vacations. Two kids. One car. Lots of driving. It isn’t relaxing and, more importantly, there is nothing particularly stimulating about it either. No inspiration. Just more of the aforementioned same-o. I had hoped to attend a school reunion this year in Myrtle Beach, SC. Old friends. New place. I was excited but many different factors prevented that trip from taking place and I felt crushed… more than anyone around me truly realized. And, now, I have another chance to escape.

A friend has decided to treat herself to a trip to England in January. I was astonished and thrilled when she asked me to tag along. Not only would I get out of this country (and I absolutely adore England), but I would also get the chance to meet my friend. That’s right. I have never met her in person. Don’t judge. Knowing how difficult it would be for me, “Now don't shoot me down right away…” was included in her invitation. Still, my first thought was, “There is no way in hell.” I just didn’t see how it would be possible. Then I realized… I would have to accept and ask for help. Help. I rarely ask anyone for help, with the exception of my parents, who I am quite sure wish I could go a year without asking. And, when super rare unsolicited help actually comes my way, I have an even more difficult time accepting it; however, my ego was going to need shattering if I had any hope of escaping this cage.

My friend has already rented a villa and she hasn’t asked for a penny (or pence) from me in regard to accommodations. I am responsible for getting myself there, covering the cost of food and in-country travel and activities. I used to be a travel agent and I know how expensive England can be… especially any time spent in and around London. When I made the decision that I wanted to do this, that I needed to do this for me, I immediately popped online to research airfare options. Ouch. Fare watching was not going to help me. It was clear that I would never save the money for airfare and in-country expenses in six months. So, I turned to the only people I could: my parents. Again. Email: “Dear Dad, Do you have any frequent flyer miles? Blah. Blah. Blah.” When I didn’t get an immediate response, I mentioned it to my mother over the phone and told her that, if the answer was “no”, then I would deal with it. I just needed to know one way or the other. The answer came. My dad, understandably, wanted to hang onto his miles. My mom (I hadn’t even thought about my mom having miles. Duh.) was less likely to travel soon. They could transfer me her frequent flyer miles and, believe it or not, she had the EXACT number of miles I would need. Then… on top of all this help happening… my boss, unsolicited, offered to pay the expenses for me to renew my long unused passport. What? I know! Gasp! I could actually make this happen!

I’m not delusional. I know this is still not going to be easy. The more I think about it, the more I realize I will need beyond the day-to-day expenses: adapters, luggage, etc. Every time I try to build up a savings something major happens and… Poof! It’s gone. For the next six months my life has to drastically change. My poor attempts at following a strict budget have to be sharpened and maintained. If I can eliminate an expense… it’s gone. Even then, I’ve thought about trying to pick up a second job, just for a month or two, to get the money I need. If I can do this… If I am successful… I will have given myself a far greater gift than a trip. I will prove to myself that tightening the buckle here can give me freedom elsewhere. And, if I can earn that freedom, then life can come rushing back in to alleviate my stagnation more than once every ten or fifteen years. Of course, now that I’m accepting help, feel free to donate to the “Get Beth Out of the Country” fund because I’m doing this. I have to. For me.

And, yes, I know how c-c-c-cold England will be in January. Coat? Check. Gloves? Check. Check. Boots? Check. Check. Check. While we would be lucky to witness a scene like the one above… odds are it will just be cold, dreary and wet. Ask me if I care? I have an umbrella.
Photo credit: Jim_Higham via Flickr.

10 comments:

  1. Do you see me jumping up and down for you? Because I am. Go... go. You can do this. You are meant to do this. You deserve this.

    P.S. - Take me with you... ;)

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  2. I am incredibly happy for you Beth, you completely deserve this trip! It sounds like things are falling into place for this to happen for you.

    You've got my prayers and good wishes that you'll be sending Twitpics from merry ole' England come January.

    Lis

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  3. This is very good news, Beth. It is impossible to tell if January will be cold or not. We don't have predictable weather here. This year it was exceptionally cold and we had snow but compared with parts of US our winters are very mild. I Don't know that you would find it expensive either.

    Where are you going to stay?

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  4. Thank you ladies! I do think I deserve this. I definitely deserve something... so why not this?

    Vincent: We'll be staying in Canterbury, actually. I didn't specify but it's the reason I chose the photo you see. I've never been to Kent so that's exciting for me. We have a week and then I'll jaunt off to Manchester for a weekend to stay with a most beloved friend from university.

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  5. I hope you have a great trip.
    It's brave of you to take the opportunity. One great advantage of coming in January of course is that the museums, galleries etc will not be packed with tourists.

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  6. OH beth...what fun you will have! You do deserve this and you will do it! I am black and blue with envy!!!!

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  7. Rob ~ I know it will be great. My friend has never been so that will be fun for me to witness.

    joemamma ~ Fun! Yes! I need it! =)

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  8. England's an interesting place in the winter. I've been to London in December just before Christmas. And you'll be there just after, so hopefully holiday spirit and Dickensian trappings will still abound. Congratulations on your trip! Very happy for you!

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  9. This sounds like it was just meant to be. You'll have a wonderful time with your friend in England. And - you'll see - it will come together for you perfectly! I'm keeping my fingers crossed! : ) Silke

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  10. Do it. Don't let anything stop you. fill your suitcase of ramen noodles and live on that.

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"Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?" ~Walt Whitman

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