500 Miles - My Family Travels
London Eye
View of the City from the London Eye
Conwy Harbor View from Conwy Castle
Lake in Wales
Conwy Castle

I would walk five hundred miles

“Welcome to London.”

Over a ten-mile trek through the city, I tripped on cobbled sidewalks and absorbed the sights around me—double-decker buses, towering Big Ben, red telephone booths, and majestic remnants history found in buildings around the corner. Through the kaleidoscopic view of the London Eye, I saw the city as a jigsaw puzzle, a beautiful disarray of the past and the present. Narrow pathways from centuries ago became dim alleys between skyscrapers and historic landmarks. The bright lights of billboards advertising musicals in the West End blurred like colors of a carousel ride as our bus streaked by.

After the curtains fell and the audience gave a standing ovation for the marvelous cast of Wicked, I was swept out of the theater by a tide of work suits, cocktail dresses, and school uniforms. I couldn’t help but lose myself in a breathless conversation with a stranger about the show. Every encounter, whether with a fellow audience member or a toddler pulling at his mother’s skirt, left me starving for a deeper connection with humanity. The thought kept pulling at me that I was just another living being passing through the city that night, riding the Tube through the underground network. Connected. Anonymous. Free.

And I would walk five hundred more

The carpeted velvety stair boards creaked as I lugged my suitcase up the narrow spiral staircase. After three flights of stairs passing cobwebs clustered in the windowpane corners, I came face-to-face with a red door with a fancy plaque. I was to sleep in the “Hanging Room” of St. Briavel’s Castle.

I left my fingerprints in the dust and took some of history’s soot with me that day. My tennis shoes traversed over castle grounds where King John once fine-tuned his hunting skills. In the prison, my eyes roamed the outline of a windmill that a young man carved into the wall, a symbol of home. Others graffitied their names, and I was tempted to leave a carving behind, letters spelling, “I was here.”

Just to be the man who walked a thousand miles

I climbed up a dimly lit tower to the top of Conwy Castle, where a family of seagulls had made their nest. The flag of Wales with the blood red dragon against a green background flapped in the wind above me, and I peaked over the edge of the stoned fortress. Ships bobbed like toys in the harbor and white cottages adorned with red tiled roofs dotted the landscape. I embraced the view, feeling exhilarated like I was standing on Earth’s apex.

While hiking up the lush emerald hills in Wales, I found some of nature’s secrets hidden in miniature waterfalls and rocky slopes. The minty flavor of an Altoid lingered in my throat, further sharpening the taste of fresh mountain breeze that kissed my face. At the lake, I learned to skip my first rock across the rippling mirror of sky and clouds. When I looked back at the trail, my muscles turned to jelly but a quiet voice inside reminded me that there was still the journey home.

I knew I’d be back for more.

To fall down at your door

Miles traveled, days gone, still living in bright watercolor memories of the countries I roamed. I’m now a girl consumed by Wanderlust, forever chasing across horizons of our cyan marble to find what it truly means to be alive.

Song Lyrics: “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by The Proclaimers

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