Freedom Tour | Not an Empty Nester
[These posts act as much as a diary for me as blog posts about life. I don't want to forget certain things plus it's a way to catch up on my meanderings.]
Not an Empty Nest - More like Free Birds
It hit me exactly a year ago, in March of 2016. What hit me like a ton of bricks is I would have an "empty nest" come fall. That's when I began to make some plans. I knew I needed to be engaged, busy and doing my own thing. Even though my kids didn't really "need" me like they used to for years, there would be a big difference coming back to a near-empty home.
One of the major things I did was write a business plan for a job that didn't even exist. For the past 4 years I have been working with several venture firms in the valley. I developed some great relationships with one team in particular and dreamed up a position that I thought would be perfect. I decided to do something about it. What was there to lose? I wrote a business plan as if there was a position and even developed a 30-day plan. I presented it to my contact in May, we negotiated in June and July, and by November I had my dream job. I've been doing it for 5 months now and I absolutely love it. It's the perfect role for me, LOVE IT.
But there was still an adventure waiting for me and my husband. I booked some flights to Europe which my friends soon dubbed our "Freedom Tour." It's not about being an empty nester as much as it is being free to explore what our next phase will look like. We plan to live overseas at some point in the future.
Originally we wanted to go to Scotland and Ireland. But after doing some research we decided Ireland should be a vacation all its own, there's so much to do. We added Paris to our plans as it is one of my favorite cities. Normandy has always been on my husband's bucket list so we added a few days there.
London acted as our time-adjustment city. Getting around was familiar to us as we've been several times. This was one of the few places we booked a Marriott Hotel, something familiar and reliable. We stayed at the Marriott Grosvenor Square London which was convenient to the US Embassy in London. We were able to schedule our Global Entry appointments in London sooner than we were able to in San Francisco so that proximity was key. (A huge benefit of our Chase Sapphire Reserved credit card is $100 back for something like Global Entry.) Score!
I had a few Must Do's on my London list. The BIG deal was the purchase of my handmade Penelope Chilvers Long Tassel boots. Wahoo! With the exchange rate I got a great deal. Another SWOOSH off my bucket list!
Our goal was to see the changing of the guard. We heard that this institution may be curtailed in the summer due to heightened security. So we wanted to be sure to see it firsthand. So glad we did. Fortunately for us we struck up a conversation with our first 5 minute friend, from Lancaster, PA. She gave us the best tip for London, the name of a taxi driver who would take us on our custom tour of the city. Score!!!
The changing of the guard was epic. To see such a long-lived tradition was memorable. The rest of our day and custom taxi tour are highlighted below.
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