Grace Cavanaugh ~ Staff Writer

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Airplane Picture by Grace Cavanaugh 

Over winter break, I took a little trip to visit friends in Northern Ireland and Wales. The trip was a lot of fun, and I am certainly planning on returning as soon as the next winter break is here, bank account willing.

We did a lot of touring. After the first day my feet were killing me, but nevertheless we prevailed! A bunch of the things we did were Game of Thrones themed, which was definitely interesting at the very least.

What I came away with most of all, after I was back home and jetlagged, was that I wanted to travel more. Even this brief 10 day, respite from the normalcy of Virginia, was exciting and fun. Even the tedious things, like walking miles between spots during tours, were full of picturesque moments and chatting with other interesting people.

However, it was also one of the most stressful times in my life. International flights are long and very, very excruciating if you fail to get a good flight. In my first ever overnight international flight from Atlanta, GA, to London, I was 8 hours stuck on a place. I specifically booked a window seat so I could fall asleep, but when I boarded the plane, the person I was sitting beside had taken the window seat.

I am not a confrontational person, so I just told her to keep the seat and figured I would simply stay up the whole flight. I ended up snoozing a little, but I was not comfortable and there was always a crying child whenever I had really started to doze off. More than once I regretted my decision to fly couch and not pay extra for business or first class.

Then, getting into the UK was a nightmare. My flight to Belfast, Northern Ireland, was within an hour of landing at Heathrow Airport in London, and the customs line was absolutely gigantic. I tried and failed multiple times to get the attention of one of the helpers, and by the time I did, it was too late. I missed my flight and nearly broke down in the middle of this huge, foreign airport.

My flights home were a lot quicker and easier. I did end up running through an airport in Amsterdam, but I watched 5 movies on my flight from Amsterdam to Atlanta, so that is a win in my books.

In the end, it was a great trip, even with the stress. I would 100% recommend Northern Ireland and Wales to anyone who wants large expanses of green, hikes, and gorgeous sceneries. It is truly a magical place.

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