Upon arriving at Heysham Port, England, I knew I had a quest to fulfill: get to Lancaster as cheaply as possible. My next contacts, Matjaz and Dolores Kljun, were in this town. After enquiring as to how on Earth I get out of the port and into town (I believe my exact words were “How the hell do I get out of here,” directed at a backpacking couple waiting for a taxi), I began my trek. Lancaster is only 7.5 miles from Heysham Port, via the motorway, and I had all day to get to the Kljun residence. So, in the spirit of budget travel, I began to walk. Apparently it’s illegal to walk along the motorway. While my story would be much more interesting if I told you I had been arrested for pedestrianizing along said motorway, I must remain true to the facts (heh) and report that I remained wholly unmolested for the duration of my walk. Which, by the way, did not last for 7.5 miles, for a gentleman out for a test drive in a new (used) car pulled over and offered me a lift. Jack seemed a gentle soul of about 70 years of age and happened to be driving by Lancaster. After a short drive (it would have been a long walk; that backpack gets really heavy after a while) Jack left me off at the edge of town and directed me toward my destination. Ten minutes later I found myself on a street corner with a dumb look on my face (this seems to be a common theme). Lucky me, a local happened to be walking by and took pity on me.
“How do I get to (insert confidential address here)?”
“Hmm, I don’t know, but I know somebody who does! Follow me.”
This “local” is a girl named Rose, a free-spirited, artistic individual getting through school with aspirations to travel (go for it, Rose!). Rose led me to her parents’ house where her mother, Gill, was busy sitting in the garden enjoying the rare sunlight and warmth that had blessed England on this particular day.
“Mom, this is Bryson. He’s trying to get to (insert confidential address here). Do you know where that is?”
“We’ll look it up! Bryson, would you like to come in for a cup of tea?”
I do love the British.
So, I found myself sitting in the garden with Gill and Rose, drinking tea and enjoying the sunshine, listening to the birds and talking about travel and life.
“Do you need to leave soon? If you stay around for another hour or so, Rose’s dad will be home and he can give you a lift to (insert confident… you get the picture). I’ll get lunch ready! Do you like homemade chili?”
Needless to say, I passed the afternoon eating and drinking tea in the garden while enjoying the company of this lovely family. In the course of our visit, I mentioned that I was going to London in a few days, after paying a visit to Edinburgh. Wouldn’t you know it, Gill has a daughter, Lauren, who lives in London! Should I need a place to stay… After a great afternoon of chatting and eating, Rose’s dad gave me a lift to where I had been trying to get.
Matjaz and Dolores Kljun and family – they have three adorable children – are a pleasure to be with. I was only able to stay with them one night, for I needed to get to Edinburgh to meet Neale before he drove up to the Isle of Skye, but I wish I could have spent more time with the family. The kids and I had a great time playing together, and we even watched Pokemon in the morning before going to school! My parents never let me do that…
Once again, I found myself on a bus, moving away from new friends I had made but looking forward to the friends I have yet to meet. England, farewell for now, but I’ll be back!