It’s been a year since we left the states.
We were equally confused about how to navigate English street signs as we were about how to properly use the fifteen-hundred different types of coins. The British still had a noticeable accent.
I remember what happened – we hadn’t planned how we were going to travel around, for better or worse, so made a quick decision to hitchhike out of London. On day 3 of our tour, we landed in Reading where at 6 pm the wind was so strong and cold that we curled up next to a tree stump to try and keep warm. We practiced a little, but our hands were unresponsively stiff. We hadn’t bought a saw yet.
Neither of us had a proper jacket because we hadn’t thought of that. Our feet were a little sore from walking long miles in converse and dress shoes.
That night in Reading we slept behind the parks maintenance building next to 500 ml beer cans and disposed needles. We went to bed when the sun was out to try and stay warm, it must have been around 8 pm. We woke up early in the morning when it started drizzling but we were too tired to find shelter. We just covered ourselves with the sleeping bags and crossed our fingers and managed to sleep in until the dogs found us and started jumping all over our sleeping bags.
It rains a lot in England but, as we learned that night, it doesn’t really pour. Just drips and drizzles all through the morning. It’s cold, no it’s freezing, but you can sort of ignore it if you cover yourself, close your eyes and daydream about your next academy award.
It’s not pleasant – it’s like a migraine headache. You keep turning from side to side, hoping that if you arrange your body just right it’ll all go away.
I couldn’t tell you what it’s doing now. Now I’m living in a house and so I can’t be bothered to wake up at 6 am just because it’s raining! We’ve come a long way…
Does that story sound crazy to you? It does to me … I’d almost forgot about it all, but out on a walk this evening I felt those frozen bites on my skin again and I remembered…
Bristol, where I finally had to abandon my down sleeping bag around 9 am because it was irreversibly wet.
Birmingham, where we woke up in a field next to the elementary school bus stop (and under rain, always under rain).
Glasgow where we fearlessly played under an overhang while small pools of water ran down the edges of our guitar case.
This year, we’ll start tour in May. Closer to dry.
We won’t be doing anymore sleeping outside without a tent. We won’t be expecting too much out of England. We’ll bring proper coats. We’ll start out with all our equipment.
We will be conquering all of Europe. We can’t promise more than that – we know it would be ridiculous. But we can conquer all of Europe. This tour is loosely plotted in a loop: through Paris, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, Albania, Serbia, Croatia, Austria, Italy, and last but not least, the Netherlands.