Allie White, second-year member on the Symetra Tour, will be sharing her adventures throughout the 2014 season. If you, the fans, have a question or topic you'd like Allie to cover just e-mail us at Symetra Tour. Be sure to take a look back at her blogs from her 2013 Rookie season.
Journey to the Home of Golf and Shakespeare
For the last month I have been cruising around Europe in coaches, trains, and automobiles. I would like to tell you that during this journey I fearlessly flew over to Scotland (golfed it up McIlroy style), then without a second glance skipped down to check out London, and finally with no stress I hopped on a Contiki Tour coach and road the mainland for two weeks with 50 other restless travelers…HOWEVER, although most of that is true… it would be a lie to tell you that I was a fearless, anxiety-free voyager.
Nope. It was more like playing a big golf tournament where you have a good chance to win. First come the flutters at the first tee and then as the tournament progresses, you inevitably have some little shots that creep into your mind as not your favorite. Overall, the golf tournament is a rush to the senses, and when you are in the zone... even with a worry or two… you wouldn’t be anywhere else.
Thus, are my thoughts on traveling. For starters, the first tee is like an airplane. You just have to get there on time and get off the ground. Speaking of on time, the reason why I have the time to write you this blog is because I have shown up four hours early to my flight home from London to Raleigh (after security). My grandfather always used to say, “The best place to wait for an airplane is at the airport.” Haha… yep, took that one seriously Pops.
After the first tee… you have some other hazards along the way… don’t miss the train, don’t miss the coach, don’t lose your passport, don’t wander into the wrong part of Amsterdam’s red light district, don’t lose your passport, don’t get pickpocketed in Italy, don’t disrespect the Pope or the Mafia for that matter, don’t watch the movie Taken on your drive to France, and for pete’s sake don’t catch Ebola or think of the T word, and don’t lose your passport!
Most people I know are afraid of a few things. Rightfully so I’d say. Like golf… sometimes you really should lay up in front of the water because you are afraid that you don’t have 240 to get it over and you are right. Other times, like my traveling, you need to rationalize with Old Man Fear, and ask Him, “are you legit and is this worth it?” He’s not so bad to talk to.
My trip to the home of: Golf, Shakespeare and so much more was totally worth the traveling worries.
My trek began in Scotland. Old Caledonia is rugged… whiskey, golf, hikin, and breezy kilts. My kinda place. A good friend of mine from summer camp, Hannah Henderson picked me up at the airport. With the promise of golf and fun she was definitely a huge motivator in getting me going on this trip. She told me before I came that when I landed we were “going on a big hike and then to a dance party so I should sleep on the plane”. I kindly messaged her back that “I was a professional golfer and I would be able to handle the little hike no prob… and that furthermore I was a world class dancer so no worries”.
Hahaha… obviously I was being cheeky and after my less than amazing sleep on the plane… the five hour round trip hike up Ben Lomond was pretty challenging with its chilling 50mph Scottish winds. But I made it, and after a little nap… I swigged some Rum Coffee and found myself at a Caleigh, a traditional folk Scottish dance party, with a bunch of energetic college students (20 years olds… geez). It was too fun. But I barely survived that one… I only fell on my bum dancing once :)
And that was the easy day in Scotland. You see, Hannah’s dad is a tough avid golfer (with an occasionally faulty back). And I, on the other hand, was a post Ryder Cup American on a windy links course (at beautiful Craile Golf Club right on the North Sea) with rental clubs giving my opponent four strokes. Not only did I have to hear about America’s humiliating Ryder Cup loss to McIlroy and his European cronies… I also had to explain to my friend Hannah how I, the so called “professional golfer”, lost to her dad with the bad back. Never mind that he made everything and ham and egged it like a lottery winner… or that my rental putter deserved to be thrown into the North Sea. Haha… sorry America.
Onward from Scotland… I would continue down into London where I would venture to Wimbledon Park, Big Ben, the Globe theatre and lots of other great sights. My English friends Jenna, Jess, and Jimmy kindly fed me everything English from tea to crumpets. In London, I met up with my Contiki Tour group ready to take on France, Italy and more. We were blessed to see some amazing sights (those stories will have to come another day!). For my good Australian travel mate Alex, seeing a squirrel for the first time was a major highlight.
All in all, the biggest thing I took away from the trip is to not beat yourself up for having worries. You just have to accept your thoughts and do your best. When I was a kid I would always listen to my Dad’s crazy adventure stories (getting shot at, swung at with axes, hiking this mountain, and going to that hippie shin-dig), and I knew that I wanted lots of cool stories of my own. Well, I got a few, and maybe some day my stories will inspire my kids to put their worries aside and go get some adventure tales!