Every single plan I made while I was in the UK seemed to dramatically fall apart. Seriously, there were so many times when I didn’t know where I was going to sleep the next night. Thankfully, after a lot of stressful coordinating, I finally managed to organize a visit with my friend Jess, who I’d met online years before but had never actually met in real life. When you are traveling in a strange land by yourself, you sort of have to reach out to everyone you know, online or otherwise, and I was very lucky that Jess agreed to let me stay with her and her boyfriend Joe. They live in a really cool place – just at the edge of the Yorkshire Dales – so I was blessed not only with the loveliest friends, but also with the most wonderful scenery!
I felt so lucky to be able to visit this part of England. I remember seeing the Dales in some documentary we watched in 10th grade, and it struck me as such a lonely, peaceful place. It turned out to be just like I’d imagined – rolling hills, flocks of sheep, and picturesque villages that looked like storybook illustrations come to life. The landscape was beautifully bleak in early winter.
Jess and Joe took me on a roadtrip through the Dales, where we came across Britain’s highest inn – an old, cozy pub on a lonely hilltop in a place called Swaledale. We walked through the hills and spoke to sheep – at least Jess did, as she seemed to have an uncanny ability to mimic them.
To our great dismay, Donald Trump got elected while I was staying with Jess and Joe. It was awful. I woke up early in the morning and literally could not believe my eyes when I checked my phone. I thought I was stuck in a bad dream. On a happier note, it was snowing that morning, and the English countryside had become an actual winter wonderland.
So, we did our makeup, took a few swigs of vodka, and went for an enchanting hike in the snow. Then we went back home and remembered Donald Trump was going to be president and we were really sad for the rest of the day. First Brexit, now this.
It made me genuinely depressed to process the fact that a narcissistic pathological liar was really going to take charge of my country. Before the election, everyone I met in Europe joked with me about Trump becoming president, but I don’t think any of them thought he would actually win. I felt incredibly hopeless about the whole thing.
But I still had a lot to be happy about. I was in the idyllic English countryside among ancient ruins and endless flocks of sheep, and I had Jess and Joe to keep me company. To drown our sorrows, we drank an incredible amount of wine together and watched The Mighty Boosh – which I shamefully didn’t even know about until Jess and Joe showed it to me! I couldn’t believe what I’d been missing.
But all too soon, our time together was over – Jess was starting a new job, and I was going back to Scotland to work on a B&B in the highlands. I think it’s so special that our paths crossed in real life after being distant online friends for years – and I am sure we will meet again, as life seems to be always full of surprises!