Spend 10 days in Iceland so I don’t have to quarantine upon entry into the UK, fly to Scotland, visit Edinburgh, then Glasgow, head over to the coast, take a boat to Northern Ireland to visit Belfast, then another boat to Isle of Man, another boat back to the UK to visit Manchester, Liverpool, and London, and finally a boat to Ireland to visit Dublin and Cork; that was the plan.
You know that saying about the universe laughing at you as you make your plans… Well, lesson number 1, when there is a pandemic going on, do be sure to make sure you can actually get to and from your destinations. Honestly, the research and preplanning is the hardest. You have to know where you’re going, the date you’re going on, how you’re going to get there, where you’re going to stay, make sure there is availability for all of those things, and then book your covid stuff (depending on the requirements of the country your exiting as well as the country your entering). If you can successfully coordinate all of that, then, in my experience the actual travel is pretty seamless.
Where did I go wrong? In order to get into the UK, I had to have 10 days worth of accommodations so I booked my Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Belfast accommodations. I had my timeline all planned out so I just booked based on that, figuring I’d figure out the boat booking later. Turns out, because of covid, the boats are not running every day and can be sold out.
So, I canceled Belfast and Isle of Man, and changed the direction of my travel through the UK.
Second, third, and forth lessons I learned: -there is a fine line between having the privilege to have everything you need with you, and having to lug around your baggage -when you have luggage you don’t want to move as often -and when you need to work as well as sightsee, you need to give yourself more time in a city, and can not feel like you have to do everything every day.
Striking a balance between work and sightseeing is hard. Being in a new city instills in you this feeling like you must get out and see it, taking full advantage of your time in this new location. However, when you’re a digital nomad, you also need to work, so you must plan to give yourself that time, and then, and this is key, you can not feel guilty in either direction. This is your perfectly designed life. You’ve planned for work time and you’ve planned for fun time. Now it’s up to you to perform both without feeling guilty about the other.
I’ll write a separate blog post about sightseeing in Edinburgh and Glasgow, but fun fact about them…. They both have city center free Wifi, which is helpful, and neither are great for rolling luggage, especially Glasgow, which doesn’t have elevators (they call them lifts) or escalators in most of their subway stations, and the sidewalks do not dip to allow you to enter/exit – all in all, not very luggage accessible.