July 9, 2014

Eurotrip: Thank You, Rebecca & Thank You, Pearl Jam

“Do you see the way that tree bends? Does it inspire? Leaning out to catch the sun’s rays, a lesson to be applied. Are you getting something out of this all-encompassing trip?” -Pearl Jam (Present Tense)

To say the last two days were better than Monday’s London disaster would not be doing them justice. For starters, waking up on a couch in Leeds with the option of a shower and a personal contact who knew the city in and out was beyond comforting. I spent the day exploring this adorable city. I checked out the free art gallery and museums and ended up waiting out the rain at a local pub having drinks and listening to terrible British karaoke with a table of strangers who were my age and also in town for the Pearl Jam concert. After the initial awkward small talk and a drink or two of Irish whiskey, we ended up having a great time in what they labeled the best pub they’ve ever been to despite being from a town less than an hour away. As a side note, I missed Le Tour de France by one day!

At 5:30 (17:30) I headed back to Rebecca’s flat for dinner before the show. She was hosting another couple that night for the concert so she cooked the three of us a delicious Spanish dish with side salad and buns. It was more than kind of her to treat three strangers to a home-cooked meal like that. With satisfied stomachs, we took off for the concert! (Rebecca ended up purchasing a ticket too – because she’s awesome.)

As always, Pearl Jam fans don’t disappoint. I had a solo ticket but ended up next to some pretty great people. Then Pearl Jam came out. From that point on, I was on a high. I always experience crazy emotions at PJ concerts, but it’s hard to articulate how different this show was for me being so far from home and coming off such a lonely and terrible day of traveling in London. It sounds corny, but they really made me feel like I was home. It was exactly what I needed. Familiarity. Even if it only lasted a few hours.

After the show, we headed back to Rebecca’s re-living how brilliant the concert was the entire walk home. I went to bed with a smile on my face and a readiness to tackle the next day.

Perhaps it was the excitement lingering from the concert or the fact that the sun already starts to make an appearance here at 3:45am, but I did not sleep well. When I got up in the morning, my first task was to figure out where I was going next, how to get there and where to stay. Rebecca recommended the city of York since it was fairly close; so I Googled bus times, booked a hostel and was ready to go shortly after. Rebecca and her guests escorted me to the bus station where she gave me a hug and kiss on the cheek goodbye. She will never know how grateful I was for everything she did for me and how much she contributed to me keeping my sanity those first two days.

Now I’m off to York! The nerves are once again settling in, but I’m sure everything will work out just fine.