Sunday, 27 January 2013

Following in the Footsteps of Druids

I've been in England for two weeks now, and it truly has been one of the most exciting experiences in my life so far.  Which would explain why I haven't updated in a while!  But I heard that reflection is a great way to really appreciate things, so here goes ---

Two days after my arrival in England, Sebastian and I embarked on an adventure to the West country.  That morning, Sebastian woke me around 5 a.m., which nearly deterred me from going on the trip at all (it's sacrilegious to get up that early). Jet-lagged and almost nearly comatose, I managed to drag myself out of bed, mostly because a surprise had been promised.  Nothing like anticipation to get you up in the morning (or coffee... there may have been some of that involved)! For the past few days I had been desperately trying to extract clues out of Sebastian, but, damn, that guy is pretty good at keeping a secret.

photo by Sebastian Anthony

We had been driving in the dark for a few hours, and just as the sun started to spill over the horizon, I caught glimpse of a very familiar structure - a circular cluster of upright stones silhouetted in the distance.  "STONEHENGE!"  My jet-lag faded.  Now I was giddy -- really giddy, like I'm-about-to meet-a-celebrity giddy.  So this is the surprise, I thought.  Well, almost.

If you know about Stonehenge, you can't really go inside the circle anymore.  For preservation purposes, there are ropes keeping you a good distance away.  As we drove into the practically deserted parking lot, the surprise was revealed.  Sebastian had gotten special permission to go inside the monument.  "Really?!" My jaw dropped.  Really.  What an incredible experience - seeing Stonehenge up close at dawn!  And we were basically alone, aside from a security guard, who acted mostly as a tour guide anyhow. He pointed out the earliest prehistoric graffiti, a primitive carving of a dagger.  That kind of arcane stuff really fascinates me.

photo by Sebastian Anthony

When he wasn't looking, we did manage to touch the stones.  For me, that was probably the best part. Being somewhat of a druidophile (yes, I may have just made that word up), that instant in time was pretty magical.  While the true purpose of Stonehenge has been lost with time,  some have said that it was a place of healing.  In my last entry, I discussed the feelings of unrest that instigated this whole trip.    Since I've been here, and especially after Stonehenge, I've felt more at peace.  I feel good about where I'm going.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Somewhat of a New Beginning

So here I sit in bed, too nervous to sleep.  Tomorrow I board a plane to London.  I've never been to England before, but I've never even left the country before either.  That's not to say that I don't travel; I've seen most of the States, more than most I'd guess.  California and Hawaii were definitely my favorites, probably because the weather rarely drops below 60 degrees.  Which makes England sort of an odd first overseas experience.  To be honest, it wasn't my first choice, or even my second.  Just a few months ago I was dreaming of bungee jumping in New Zealand.  But life has a funny tendency to never work out the way I planned.

Okay, so that sounded a little like disappointment.  It isn't though.  You see, I met someone in a hostel in Asheville, NC this past September.  This someone is from England, and I'm sure you'll be hearing more about him later.  But, yeah, it seemed like a good excuse to visit somewhere I've never been before.  I'll still jump off things in New Zealand someday. For now, this is where my life is taking me, and I couldn't be more excited.

I didn't want this first post to be so much of an obligatory introduction, but I suppose I should say a little about myself.  I'm Shannon.  I'm an illustrator, and a working one, too.  Post college, I found my life had slowly become stagnant.  It was a pleasant life, that's for sure.  I mean, I was living in Savannah, GA, and there's definitely a reason they call it the Hostess City.   It's the type of city that sucks you in and keeps you there.  Although, deep down inside me, there was this growing feeling of unrest.  I've never liked routine (probably why I chose to become a freelancer), and every part of me was saying Go! Get out!  And that's what I did.

Now we're back to me sitting here in bed.  I get goosebumps when I think that in a little over 24 hours, I'll be stepping onto foreign soil for the first time.  This trip is going to have a lot of firsts. These thoughts are the things that reassure me.

See you tomorrow, England!