I just got back from a wonderful #SoloRoyale trip to London – one of my favorite international cities. I spent most of my time catching up with friends, visiting food festivals and markets, going to plays and oh yeah, traveling to Windsor to watch the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle! Yes I did! There are just some events you have to experience in person, so let me explain to you this amazing #YOLO moment of mine.
A few months leading up to my trip, I realized I was going to be in town for the wedding of the season – as in the Royal Wedding!! As in the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle – a celebrity couple I didn’t mind hearing about in the news. Whoa. Talk about great timing. So my first thought in planning around this occasion was to seek out recommendations for the best watch party in town!
But then I learned Windsor Castle, where the wedding was being held, was actually in Winsdor - almost an hour outside of London by train. Eek. So I asked some of my local friends if they were down for a road trip to Windsor on Saturday. And they promptly said no, nope, and nah. Most wished me well on this adventure and hoped the lines weren't too long. Others tried to convince me to stay in town and watch the perfectly produced event on television. (After all, I did watch the royal nuptials of Prince William and Kate back in 2011. But I was in DC and well, I wasn't one-hour away from the festivities like I was this time!) Decisions. Decisions.
Well since London was a solo trip for me anyway, I did what any solo traveler would do – I traveled solo to Windsor! I’d convinced myself that even though it would be much easier to enjoy the wedding from the comfort of a London pub or a friend's home, where there were no lines mind you --traveling to Windsor was a once in a lifetime opportunity. And I knew that I wouldn’t forgive myself for staying put. I mean, YOLO, right?!
I arrived in good time. The train ride was smooth and easy to figure out. I even sat next to a young woman, about my age, who was from DC! And once we got off at the Eton and Riverside stop the lines were definitely long. But that was to be expected. You have to manage your expectations in situations like this you know! It was a gorgeous, sunny day and I was here. I embraced the crowds and even the long waiting time to get to the castle. More than 100,000 people braved the crowds that morning. Some spent the night. Others left their homes at the crack of dawn. I was the person in the middle. Left early, but not too early.
Windsor is a beautiful city that I hope to return to someday. Charming stores and restaurants lined the streets leading up to the castle. Seeing a castle up close was somewhat surreal. For about five minutes, I felt like I was going to see my prince come charging down on his white horse...okay, I know! But you can't help thinking these thoughts in a city that had this whole “once upon a time” feel to it!
After about a 90-minute walk and wait, I finally found a good spot and immediately made new friends. I half expected to run into a bunch of visitors and tourists. But everyone around me had a British accent. Everybody wanted in on this event.
The coolest part about the whole experience was being able to witness in person some of the scenes leading up to the actual ceremony that millions saw on television. Sidenote: I was so glad to be tall that day too! The first glimpse of Meghan as she rolled by in her vintage car to the castle was definitely a highlight. The carriage ride at the end, just wow! We all watched the magic and diversity of the wedding on the big screens and later agreed how lucky we were to experience this in person.
That's what travel is all about. Experiencing the moments all around the world. Meeting new people. Eating new foods. Learning new things. Creating new bucketlist adventures. So here’s to climbing that mountain, crossing that ocean, ziplining through that forest or attending that event of the year! Whatever your #YOLO adventure is, build an amazing experience around it and then enjoy every moment of it. Travel is an adventure. It sometimes forces you to feel outside of your comfort zone. But the rewards and possibilities are endless. And the best thing about travel is that it takes you right to the action.
Travel to Windsor for the Royal Wedding. CHECK. #YOLO
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