No classes last week because it was ‘reading’ week. The purpose of this is that everybody catches up with their reading, the reality is that literally everyone goes on holiday. I was invited for a couple of trips, but I finally decided to go on a trip by myself. This was something I always wanted to try. Lots of people, including me, think it’s pretty scary to be alone. But I wanted to overcome this fear and just go.
The plan was to go couch surfing (will explain concept later) in York, and sleep in a hostel in Birmingham. It started already a bit crazy: barely missed my train. I booked a ticket at Mega Bus and therefore expected to travel by bus. However, after running like a ‘chicken without a head’ (Dutch saying I guess) to different places and asking a lot of people it turned out to be first two hours by train and another two hours by bus.
In the train I couldn’t help to feel a little bit gloomy. Last year everything was so different and now here I am, all alone in the train to York. What do I do when I’m in York? The place where I stayed could only receive me after 22.30 PM. Why did I leave so early again?
Fortunately I met a nice girl from Michigan in the bus, the second part of the way. She was travelling through Europe and very nice to talk to. With her I walked around York, and I got some new interesting perspectives on the American culture. The city York is really cute: it’s like walking into a Harry Potter movie. Everything is so old and there are little streets, churches and Christmas lights everywhere. In the evening I had dinner together with the American girl, she left around 19.30 PM. I stayed in the pub where we ate and had a tea until 10 o’clock.
Then it was time to walk to my couch surf address. Couch surfing is a really cool concept where people put their couch available to sleep on for free (this is the site). During the way to my couch I was thinking about all kinds of excuses why I shouldn’t go and just sleep in a hostel, but I convinced myself to keep walking. Fortunately the people where I stayed were really nice and not creepy at all. The couch was really comfortable. They were vegans and there were apples everywhere (they wanted to make cider from them). All with all a nice experience.
Next morning I continued my way to Birmingham by train. Birmingham was kind of nice, there was a nice Christmas market, some nice old buildings (even though most of the city was bombarded in WW2) and a place called the Goustard Factory was really interesting. However, it was such a big contrast with cute, cozy, little York that it took me some time to adapt.
The hostel had a pretty nice first impression. However, when I wanted to shower, both of the shower doors where too big for the door opening. Therefore, I had to shower in the men shower that was really dirty and a lot less luxurious. I was really tired from all the experiences, so I wanted to sleep early. However, where I had to sleep was like a battery cage and you could hear every single person’s sleeping noises, I heard: farts, coughing, groaning and snoring alllllll night long. And believe it or not in the middle of the night the person sleeping above me dropped his underpants on my head. I don’t know how he managed to do that so I hope I dreamt it.
The next morning I was really happy to go on my way to my own comfortable bed in my own room. But despite the bad night, I really enjoyed my holiday alone and am really proud that I conquered my fear of being alone!