Well, we’re ready.
Our bags are packed. Our clothes are clean. We’re at the point where we wait not-so-patiently to head out the door. At 2:30pm today we’ll board the famous Queen Mary 2 and set off on a Transatlantic journey. We’ll disembark in Southampton, UK, and travel on until we end up in Groningen, Netherlands.
I’ll tell you the truth – I’m freaking out. I’ve been planning this, jumping through hoops, and working out obstacles towards this goal for the past six months. It feels insane to finally be living it. I can only imagine what it feels like for those of you who have planned a big trip for a year or more to get to this point. Crazy, right?
Will is using the time to draw and chill out. I thought I’d use it to update you on the events of the last week and the week to come. It’s been a wild ride, guys.
Last week, Will and I traveled from Canada down to Ohio. It was a 27 hour bus trip… never again. In Ohio, we had almost all of his family and extended family together to celebrate the life of Mike Wellman and to hold his funeral. It was my first funeral, Will’s too. I won’t speak about it much here except to say that it was very tasteful and healing for all and it couldn’t have been more perfect. There was a strangely bittersweet air about the few days we spent with the whole family. It had been years since everyone had seen each other, so the mourning mixed with the joy of reunion. We had a memorial service and then laser tag. Burial and then Cedar Point. The celebration of old memories alongside the creation of new ones. It was a beautiful way to honor Mike’s life and I was honored to be included.
From Ohio we took a night bus to NYC. What was originally supposed to be an 11 hour trip morphed into a 20 hour one, thanks to the complete incompetence of Greyhound. Ugh. NEVER again. There were tears of frustration. I think I’ll puke if I have to look at another bus. The idea of traveling from Canada, through the States, across the Atlantic, and over part of Europe without ever leaving the ground seemed romantic at first. I think I’ll probably just fly next time. Ha.
We’ve spent the last two days in NYC. This isn’t my first visit. I think I was maybe 7 the first time I came here. Dad was often in NYC on work back when he had an office job and was gone multiple weeks of the year. We came with him one time, or something like that. I actually lived here for a few weeks as a teenager while studying a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course. At any rate, I’ve been here a few times, but the magic hasn’t quite worn off yet. I’m always blown away by the history and the importance of this place.
It is Will’s first time here, so of course we’ve spent the last two days doing all the tourist things. We spent most of one day at the Natural History Museum and walking Central Park. We made a mild political protest at Trump Tower (check out my Instagram if you want to know… hehe). We saw the Empire State Building from afar. We pretended we were rich at a fashion outlet where the price tags were in the 5-6 digit range. We took pictures of murals in Brooklyn. We wandered China Town and had the most adorable ice cream cones I’ve ever seen in my life. We walked the Brooklyn Bridge and watched street performers. We got lost on the subway. We shopped a little at Times Square. To be honest, I don’t know how we fit it all in. It wasn’t planned at all. We just wandered and the city came to us.
I’ll be offline for the next week as we churn our way across the stormy Atlantic. There won’t be internet access on the Queen Mary. Hooray for a week of enforced unplugging! I promise I’ll still write and take pictures, you’ll see it all as soon as I get back. For now, here are some interesting facts about the Queen Mary 2:
- The QM2 is the world’s last true ocean liner. Unlike cruise ships, she’s built to tackle heavy seas and can even sail around Cape Horn fearlessly.
- The QM2 is HUGE, weighing in at 149,215 tons, 236.2 ft tall, with 18 decks (14 for passengers). If you stood her upright from end to end, she would be as tall as the Eiffel Tower.
- The QM2’s home shipyard had to practically reinvent ship-building to create a ship as sophisticated and large as this.
- Capacity: 2,695 passengers, 1,253 officers and crew.
- Desalination plants on board create 170,000 gallons of fresh water every day.
- Annual tea consumption on board would fill an Olympic size swimming pool.
- The QM2 takes the same route that the Titanic took. We will cruise over the Titanic’s wreckage! Thankfully, the QM2 has a reinforced hull built to take on icebergs, as well as a sophisticated radar system that will see everything coming miles in advance. I checked.
Photos of the last two weeks: