A thought occurred to me over the weekend, and both of our readers may have noticed the same thing – we started this blog to chronicle our quest to visit 100 countries, but we never seem to go anywhere new. Fortunately, Kelly broke this trend over the weekend and checked two countries off her list, but I wanted to reassure anyone who cares that we do intend to make progress on our individual lists eventually!
In fact, Kelly and I have been hard at work planning a grand adventure that will check at least 2 countries off each of our respective lists, as well as fulfill a long-time fantasy of ours. Brace yourselves, fair readers, the plans I outline below describe a fantastic trip for a highly select group of nerdy individuals such as ourselves – the Jane Austen fanatics. We’ve long since come to terms with our obsession of Austen’s works (most specifically Pride and Prejudice, or as we like to call it as if it were a secret work worthy of acronym, “P&P”), but this weekend I was reminded that we are not alone and there are others out there who are perhaps even more dedicated than we –
In order to give us time to accrue the necessary accoutrements (£££ and nearly a fortnight of vacation days) we’re planning this trip for next year, but this also has the added benefit of giving us a year of anticipation. The core of our trip will be the annual Jane Austen Festival in Bath (Austen’s hometown for those less obsessed readers). I know, sounds intense right? It most surely will be, but the festival includes such activities as themed walking tours, afternoon teas (yay, clotted cream!), dancing lessons, and best of all – wait for it – a traditional Regency-style ball. And yes, to complete your mental picture, we do intend to dress up for this event. I mean, go big or go home.
While this festival will give us a jumpstart on the Austen tour, we don’t intend to rely on organized events for the duration. Below is a skeleton itinerary we’ve worked out so far:
- Pick up rental car in London and drive to Wiltshire (to visit sights from P&P) before continuing on to Bath. Don’t worry, Kelly won’t be doing most of the driving.
- Festival activities in Bath. While there, drive to a town near Cardiff in Wales (new country for both!) one afternoon, stay overnight
- After festival is over, drive north to Cheshire (includes the Pemberley exterior from the BBC’s production of P&P, aka the only one that counts), and Straffordshire
- Drive to Derbyshire (home of Mr. Darcy)
- Since it’s right there, drop the car off at East Midlands airport then fly to Glasgow (new country for both!) and check it out for a night and day
- Fly back to London, reflect on awesome trip
With a year to go before the trip, we have plenty of time to refine this itinerary and make it even more awesome. Any suggestions for sights to add or ones to skip? Send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!