Advertising
Advertising

3 Tips for Your First Trip to England From the U.S.

3 Tips for Your First Trip to England From the U.S.

England is a marvelous and diverse place. I recently took my first trip there and this list of tips is gleaned from an admittedly limited two-week experience. That being said, my husband and I did travel quite a bit within the country, from Stratford through Bristol, to Exmoor, and to London. We got to see rural, suburban, and metro areas, as well as a seaside town in a lush national park.

England rural area
    Image by Julia Travers

    1. Sleeping is Good

    Jet lag is natural and is not a failing or weakness. Let yourself sleep at the beginning of your trip so that you can enjoy the rest of it. When we arrived in England in the morning, having flown through the night, I was quite a zombie. My plan to sleep on the plane had not worked out, even though I had taken a sleeping pill. I had to nap hard that day, even though I was excited to look around.

    Advertising

    I was still able to sleep that night and felt fairly refreshed the next day. On the way home to the U.S. we flew during the day, and while I know travelling west through time zones is generally accepted to be easier anyway, I found day travel to be preferable over all. If you are an absolute pro at sleeping on a plane, the overnight may work for you. Regardless, I recommend embracing your body’s need to catch up on sleep so you can start your trip on the right foot.

    2. You May Have A Stronger Accent Than You Think

    While London is full of a marvelous mix of individuals and cultures, there was less cultural and linguistic diversity out in the country (as is the case in many nations). So, our American accents stood out in the small towns. I had prepared myself to possibly not always understand the English accents I encountered, but, naively, did not realize my accent might be so strong as to be unintelligible at times.

    Advertising

    I have a mild Southern U.S. accent in Virginia but in rural England, it was clearly quite strong. I learned to expect this and just speak purposefully clearly or repeat myself when asked, which locals did for me as well. Overall, everyone we encountered was very kind and often wanted to know about our trip and where we were from. We spent some time in the quiet, charming small town of Bidford on Avon.

    Bidford on Avon
      Bidford-on-Avon Parish. Image by Julia Travers

      In more urban areas, our accents were almost completely overlooked.

      Advertising

      London Bridge
        London. Image by Julia Travers

        3. Slow Down and Absorb

        Warwick Castle
          Warwick Castle. Image by Julia Travers

          So much of a culture can be experienced in the off-moments of a vacation. While I did find that having a few sight-seeing destinations, such as Warwick Castle, and other explorations booked ahead of time helped the planning to feel less daunting, some of my favorite moments were when we were un-scheduled.

          A good dose of local life can be absorbed subliminally and through opening up to the ambient, subtle environmental information all around you. Sitting in a pub, hearing local banter, resting my hands on the smooth, dark, aged wood of the bar, and feeling the fresh air come in from the open window, was lovely. I only saw one mosquito during our two week July trip and most buildings we visited kept the windows open.

          Advertising

          One of my favorite places to take it easy and absorb was a small town called Porlock, below, which was very Brigadoon-ish (yes, there is a boat in the harbor named Brigadoon).

            Image by Julia Travers

            Many winding roads had to be traversed (on the left!) to get to this hide-away. By the way, driving on the left takes increased concentration and produces some anxiety, but is very possible. I’m not a huge fan of the word quaint, but Porlock was quaint in the best way possible.

            Here’s a shot of our sumptuous Porlock morning tea.
              Here’s a shot of our sumptuous Porlock morning tea. Image by Julia Travers

              I loved England, and can’t wait to go back. England has so many wonderful small towns and vibrant, bustling cities, so I know there is much more for me to see. If you’re heading out on your first trip to England, hopefully these tips will be helpful.

              Featured photo credit: Julia Travers via jtravers.journoportfolio.com

              More by this author

              3 Tips for Your First Trip to England From the U.S.

              Trending in Culture

              1 18 Dating Ideas with Breathtaking Scenery in the East of England 2 18 Things You Need To Know Before You Get Your First Tattoo 3 7 Tools to Optimize Your Next Long-Term Traveling Experience 4 30 Free Dating Ideas For Landscape-Lovers In Ireland 5 5 Vital Steps to Starve the Ego and Feed the Soul

              Read Next

              Advertising
              Advertising
              Advertising

              Last Updated on August 13, 2020

              12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

              12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

              As a mediation teacher, I am constantly confronted with these two questions regarding the benefits of meditation:

              1. Why can’t I enjoy the benefits of meditation continuously?

              I ask back: Is it maybe because you see mediation as a technique, performance, or some exclusive activity? The answer is: yes!

              Or, because your mind is constantly evolving on the past negative attachments and traditional habits? After careful thinking they answer: yes, probably!

              Although meditation is very simple and challenging at the same time, in the above mentioned case, it’s not easy to benefit from meditation, especially when approached with the idea that it has to be learned, studied, or applied. Meditation is to be seen as a natural, mental cleansing process that happens on a basis of awareness on a moment-to-moment experience. When that takes place, the benefits of meditation are continuous.

              2. What is the purpose of meditation?

              The purpose of meditation is to accomplish a level of consciousness for mastering the mind and uniting with the finest, deepest, and subtlest part of yourself as a being.

              It is a conscious process of observation of the mind—helping the meditator to understand the structure of its mind and the quality of its content. During this process, countless benefits of a physical, mental, and spiritual/philosophical nature arise for the meditator.

              Advertising

              Meditation as a Fixer and Benefactor

              In this article we’ll have a look at the primary and the ultimate benefits of mediation, which improve your body and mind at the same time. For the sake of clarity, readability, and tangible experience, I have separated the benefits into three groups.

              You can change just about anything you don’t like about yourself (psychologically, as well as physically) through meditation. However, this is only possible with a specific approach, when your brain allows the benefits of meditation to do their work.

              This means not to interrupt the benefit with other thoughts, but to let their effect implement itself in your body and mind. This approach is crucial.

              The following exercises will make you feel the benefits of meditation instantly, but the continuity of the benefits of meditation on your body and mind depend on the discipline of your brain, how you manage external stimuli and your thoughts.

              Less Physical, More Psychological

              Even though the practice of meditation is more psychological and less physical, the first benefit we’re going to experience is both physical as well as mental.

              This benefit happens literally immediately, right at the moment of meditation. It is the essence of mediation basically.

              The First Benefit of Meditation

              The first benefit of meditation is twofold:

              1. Improving inward attention (sharpening the mind)
              2. Relaxation of the body

              Let’s do it right now. This benefit consists of only one step, and it is very simple to perform. It goes like this:

              Advertising

              Sit still and pay attention to your exhalation.

              That’s it! Technically, the whole journey into the world of mediation begins here and nowhere else. And right here, you benefit from this step in the following way:

              When you pay attention to the flow of your exhalation (gentle, deep, effortless exhalation), your body begins with the process of relaxation instantly (your heart rate slows down, your nervous system calms, and tension in your muscles is relieved).

              When the nervous system calms, your mind calms down, and, more specifically, less thoughts are produced by your mind. How, exactly? By applying one of the most valuable mental skills—attention—the mind follows the breathing and has no space and time to generate any other thoughts. Only when the attention goes off the breath, other thoughts are constructed, and the mind is accelerating with thought production again.

              Keeping the First Benefit Effective and Ongoing

              Here you apply the approach of not letting the relaxation and attention process get interrupted; rather let the effects of these benefits implant in your body and mind as deeply as possible.

              This is to say, the instant relaxation and inward attention happen at the same time when you follow the flow of your breath. Repeating this process—creating a constant rhythm out of the breathing and the attention—you create a process of meditation.

              Keep your attention on the flow of your breath and see how the calmness of body and mind begin to rule your present moment. The longer you stay connected to your breathing, the stronger you’ll feel the benefit. Start with 3-5 minutes at a time without doing anything else, and increase to 10-20 minutes and onwards.

              Can you think of a better, simpler and quicker exercise that can relax the body and improve attention in this way, at this speed?

              Advertising

              This benefit takes you to the second one.

              The Second Benefit of Meditation

              While still working with the first benefit of mediation, you slowly start to see the second benefit of mediation, which is fourfold. I call it the major value of mediation:

              1. Energy (physical and mental strength)
              2. Observance
              3. Peacefulness (stillness, and space of mind for deeper observation)
              4. Patience

              Peacefulness is the source of a blissful life. The energy is the fuel to express that blissfulness. Whatever we want to accomplish in life we need: 1) Physical and mental strength, 2) Observance of that energy, 3) Peacefulness—the calmness and stillness that creates space for freedom of being and creative thinking, and 4) Patience for the process of accomplishment.

              You can only get creative in thinking and boosted with physical and mental energy when you get in touch with the deepest levels of yourself—when you harmonize your mental and physiological activities. How do you do that? Let’s try it right now:

              This step involves the observation of the two separate movements of your breath. After paying attention on your exhalation, you have prepared your body and mind to really see and feel what true peacefulness and true energy means.

              1. Energy

              Keep your attention on your inhalation (inhaling gently, deeply and lightly) and feel the new energy (new oxygen) flowing in your body. The inhalation is the symbol for aliveness and vitality. It is the the primary act that connects the baby’s body with the outside world after coming out of the womb[1]. Each inhalation is a new opportunity for your body to revive, regenerate, and renew itself.

              2. Observance

              The observance comes during the process of meditation, enabling you to see the physiological benefits of introducing new energy to your body. Use that benefit by utilizing its effects, and create deeper observation into yourself. With every single inhalation, this observation will enable you to generate even more energy, mentally and physically.

              3. Peacefulness

              Keep your attention on your exhalation, and feel how, out of the relaxation, peacefulness is spreading throughout your whole body. The exhalation is the symbol for relaxation and peacefulness. Only through meditation can you realize what absolute peacefulness means.

              Advertising

              4. Patience

              The meditation delivers the previous benefits to you immediately and opens up the possibility for many other benefits and great virtues. A specific one to mention, which is essential for reaching the ultimate benefits of meditation, is patience. If you have experienced the aforementioned benefits, it means that you have invested a certain amount of patience into mastering yourself and your mind.

              The Ultimate Benefits of Meditation

              Patience is a key quality when it comes to the ultimate benefits of meditation.

              Since the mind is the tool that reveals everything, mediation is the method for the proper utility of the tool.

              The above mentioned benefits of mediation lead to the ultimate benefits of mediation—qualities that depict what makes a human being human. As you dwell in a meditative state of being, the following benefits begin to emanate:

              • Diligence: the persistence for righteous effort to reach an intrinsic value; inner strength.
              • Temperance: to express self-control and show excellence in managing the physio-biological and mental necessities
              • Courage: using righteous effort and braveness to look into the weaknesses of yourself and at the hardship of your life, endure it and patiently overcome the obstacles
              • Loving kindness and Compassion – a capacity to care, understand, and tolerate other people’s state of being, wishing them freedom from suffering.
              • Wisdom: the moment when you feel that mediation gives you the feeling and the knowledge that what you do relating to life and practical affairs is just.
              • Equanimity: that puts you in a state of composure, and you experience an ongoing blissful state of being.

              These are the 6 ultimate benefits of meditation that put your body and mind in a state of health and balance.

              Final Thoughts

              Mediation exists to put order in your mind and awaken the best of you, to reconnect you to your goodness and your inborn intelligent capabilities.

              Meditation is the window to your true Self. It gives you a panoramic view of your heart’s greatness. It shows you the true meaning of love, freeing you from the dungeons of ignorance and despair. The power of meditation dismantles the evil that’s trying to cloud the beauty of your heart.

              Your heart, body, and soul are the bridge over which the challenges of life frequently carry their heavy load. Meditation is the support of that bridge. Make use of that support.

              More on Meditation

              Featured photo credit: Mor Shani via unsplash.com

              Reference

              [1] Medline Plus: Changes in the newborn at birth

              Read Next