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Sept. 22-23, 2006 – London

London by Night

River Thames & the London Eye by Night

Sept. 22-23, 2006

Yesterday and today were awesome! London is unreal! We met a nice guy from Philly yesterday at the hostel breakfast and took him with us to the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace… It was raining so we saw a watered down (no pun intended) version of it. We drove the car around and it was fun. It took us awhile to find the rental return, but it was cool driving around the city… we saw all the     London sites too and they’re amazing!

Big Ben by Night

Big Ben by Night

Westminster-abbey

Westminster Abbey

Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Tower of London, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, London Eye… we walked along both sides of the River Thames and across 3 different bridges… we walk a ton and don’t eat much… in fact we split a half jar of crunchy peanut butter for lunch when we drove down from Scotland :)

Last night we went to Camden to check out the nightlife and we didn’t exactly fit in, to say the least… we met some nice people… we meet a ton of people everyday and it adds so much to everything we do. We’ve discovered pre-made, nearly expired sandwiches and theyr’e golden! They’re cheap, good, healthy and relatively filling.

We’re taking a  ton of pictures and videos and coming up with a system to maximize our SD card space. We may take turns taking pictures and not have the same picture each.

Parliament-London-Big-Ben

Parliament

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

Windsor-Castle

Windsor Castle

Today we saw Wimbledon and of course successfully snuck in! We got past a number of guards and barricades and into Court One and Centre Court… It was awesome… we ducked low past the guard booth and crawled through little construction holes to get into Centre Court! We got sweet pics and had to dive into hiding at one point when a worker came in to mow the lawn… it was way fun and really cool.

We also made a journey to Windsor today and saw the Castle… it’s now day 8 and I’m sitting in Jardin des Tuileries between the Louvre and Champs Elysees/ Arc de Triomph… Jake and I are beat after getting an average of probably 5 hours of sleep, half our normal food, triple our normal walking, so we’re taking it easy for a bit but I’ll wrap up London and our start to Paris… After going to Windsor, which was absolutely huge and amazing (the Castle), we went back to Buckingham and then to River Thames and then Oxford Street… we bought shirts… We’re buying a t-shirt in every stop we go throughout the trip… We met some more people and then went back to the hostel…

Chillin' Front Row at Wimbledon's Centre Court

Chillin’ Front Row at Wimbledon’s Centre Court

We got to bed late cuz we had to do laundry plus we emailed home and met some nice girls from Germany… They were funny… at one point they, out of nowhere, got right in my face and then in Jake’s to take extreme closeup pics of us.

Tower Bridge, London

Tower Bridge, London

Anyway, we were supposed to be at the train station to take the chunnel at 7:30… we woke up at 8:30… We were supposed to originally go to Dover to see the white cliffs but heard little positive about it (other than the cliffs) and loved London so much, we changed that and were able to catch the train in London to Paris at no extra charge! Problem was, they told us DO NOT MISS YOUR TRAIN… waking up an hour after it left, we of course missed it…

Catching the Chunnel from London to Paris

Catching the Chunnel from London to Paris

I set my alarm for 6:00 but it didn’t wake me up… we got to the station and talked to the lady we had talked to the day before but she said there was no way to a new ticket for less than 50 pounds.. finally we decided to just go to the entrance and give it a shot with our tickets we had… she told us basically “fat chance, but go for it”. Well, using our sales skills we got on the train nearly question free! She told us we missed our train, we said “we know”… she referred us back to where we had come and we told her they had just referred us to her (which was true)… she started working and we asked more diversion questions and joked more than you can imagine :) Next thing we knew, we were on our way to Paris!

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Sept. 19-21, 2006 – Scotland

airplane backpacking

Sept. 19, 2006

On the plane to Scotland now chattin’ it up with the Scotland Women’s Rugby Team that just placed 6th in the world in a tournament in Canada. We barely made our flight… we walked down the jetway ourselves and they initially turned us away… but we made it… Heathrow was cool.

edinburgh-scotlandscotts-monument

Edinburgh is sweet… we’ve already seen a ton and even went on this underground ghost tour of the city and learned all sorts of crazy torture stories and stuff… I coined the phrase “Hot Scot” today and boy was there ever a Hot Scot in our tour group :)  Our hostel is right downtown near a huge sweet castle and this 300-ft. tower (Scott’s Monument) that we went up way windy stairs to the top of already.

edinburgh-castle

Sept. 20, 2006

Met tons of “Hot Scots” today and thoroughly enjoyed simply talking with all of them. The girls seriously go up 2 pts. the second they open their mouths and speak with that sweet Scottish accent! We went to Stirling today to pay homage to William Wallace :) It was cool… My brand new $100 raincoat that I haven’t used was either lost or stolen too… oh well.

Stirling from Wallace Monument

Stirling from Wallace Monument

william-wallace-sword

William Wallace’s Sword

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sept. 21, 2006

Today was amazing! rental-car-scotland-england We woke up at 6:00 and rode the bus to Glasgow and then caught a train to Prestwick where we missed our flight and were abused by RyanAir.com who gave us NOTHING back and wanted to charge 160pounds (close to $300) to fly to London and even then we wouldn’t get there til 7:00pm. We told them to hang it in their ear and as we were about to go back to Glasgow and catch a 40-pound, 5-hr train… I remembered Dad always talking about renting a car and we decided to check into it… we got one for 57 pounds (plus another 80 for petrol) so for a few extra pounds we drove the length of the UK! On the wrong side of the road! It was awesome! It took me a little getting used to, but I got it. car-rental-scotland-londonAll we ate the entire day was a jar of peanut butter. We rolled into London in style and had to ask directions about 4 times before finally finding our hostel. When we arrived we were instantly offered all sorts of nasty things by American girls of all people… obviously we stood strong and told them about the Church and all… then we met some cute Aussies with killer accents and I drove us around… right to the front gate of Buckingham Palace buckingham-palace-gate-night where apparently there’s lots of cameras cuz I was there for only 20 secs. maybe and a couple mins later there was a police car following me around the city until finally I stopped and parked and he gave me the 3rd degree… asked if I was the owner of the car and why I went to the palace… I just flashed my smile and plead ignorance and we were outta there with me telling him I’d hunt him down if he gave me a ticket and Jake asking for a tea appt. with the Queen. These 3 Aussie girls were way cool and way cute… we had fun driving around… I went the wrong way once but only briefly :) australian-girls-london-england Life is good… Also, yesterday we saw Princess Ann at Stirling Castle… we were personally blocking the gate so her BMW couldn’t get in so the Scottish cops kicked us out and we saw her roll by… cool stuff… Back to today… the Aussies then treated us to fish and chips, we saw Big Ben, the London Eye and came home!

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Best Booking Websites

There’s a ton of websites out there, but here’s where I’ve had the most luck:

  • kayak.com (though they’re getting big enough, I’m starting to worry)
  • yapta.com (uses Kayak’s search engine, but adds very cool alerts and tracking)
  • cheapoair.com
  • allegiantair.com (amazingly cheap travel within the US–including Hawaii. Just be prepared to pack lightly because they’ll charge your bags as much as they charge you if you’re not careful)
  • jetblue.com (best for US and Caribbean travel–plus JetBlue has the most legroom and tv’s on every seat back!)
  • travelzoo.com (great for booking full travel package deals–not my kind of travel, but perfect for others)

Tips when using any of these sites:

  • Always allow for flexible dates for departure and return flights–it’s usually your desired date, +/- 3 days.
  • Also allow for flexible takeoff times for each flight–you’d be shocked how much a redeye or early morning flight can save you sometimes.
  • Remember to check the box to incude searching nearby airports–a good example of this is the Bay Area. San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland are all pretty close to each other, so pick the one that’s cheapest :)

I personally don’t really ever bother with the big Orbitz and Expedia’s of the travel world… Years ago I used Travelocity, but not anymore. Kayak is my go-to and it’s very rare that I find better deals elsewhere.

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This is Gonna be Epic!

cliff jumping thailand

Cliff Jumping, Tham Prah Nang Beach, Krabi, Thailand

Ever since I can remember I’ve had a passion for travel, adventure, new culture, etc. As a kid we were lucky enough to go on some pretty amazing family vacations: Hawaii, Cancun, various cruises, etc. As I got older, my friends and I would venture to San Diego, Las Vegas, Mexico, etc.

In September, 2000 I moved to Russia for two years to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That was my first time outside The Americas/Caribbean. It was an incredible experience that could take up books (in fact it did, I have hundreds of pages of journal entries), but I won’t deal with that too much here.

About 8 months after returning home, I went to Stockholm, Sweden for 8 days with some mission friends to surprise some Russian friends who were visiting the LDS Temple there. Also an incredible experience. By now, my desires to travel were getting higher and higher.

In the Spring of 2005 I moved to New York City for a couple months to do an internship with Dateline NBC. I loved every second I was there and don’t really remember a dull moment! That took me to my last semester of college at the one and only BYU and I knew I had to really get out and travel the world. I’d had tons of fun and given myself bits and pieces to taste, but I was ready to really get out and see it all.

So, in May 2006 I moved to Minneapolis, MN to sell security systems door-to-door with one of my primary goals being to make enough money to be able to, without breaking the bank, travel the world’s highlights in a 2-3 month journey… Well, I’m proud to say that in September 2006, that goal and dream became a reality!

My friend Jake Palmer and I set out for 10 weeks, hitting 13 countries on 5 Continents (Scotland, England, France, Monaco, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Egypt, Thailand, China, Australia, Tahiti)!

Since this unbelievable adventure, I’ve made several more foreign trips… But World Tour 2006 was where it really all got going… and that’s where I’ll start this blog… Get ready, cuz it’s gonna be epic!