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'Leaving... On A Jet Plane'
June 01, 2003

Today I left the continent of North America for the first time, beginning a month long journey across Europe. By the end of it all I hope to have visited approximately 12 countries, sampled at least 50 varieties of alcohol and experienced countless sights and new culture.

As usual, there was a lot of last-minute preparation involved with my departure, and it wasnīt until I was half-way over the Atlantic that it sunk in that I was headed for London.

The flight over was fairly uneventful, which is desirable for air travel. The guy sitting next to me was from the Midlands, which is about 2 hours south of London, and he had plenty to tell me about the city.

The in-flight movie was "Catch Me If You Can", which is about a young con man who impersonates, among other things, an airline pilot. Just another special touch from Air Canada to make you feel safer in the sky.

The flight is about 8 hours, so you need to keep yourself entertained. I started by learning to the combination to my padlock, which I planned to use to secure my backpack in hostels. However, I quickly learned a valuable lesson: You should never purchase a combination lock from the $1-and-under store if you are looking for function and reliability.

After opening it twice I couldnīt get the damn thing closed, so I decided to test the mettle of itīs metal. In about 5 minutes I had the sucker completely torn apart and likely scared a few passengers in the process. Ever since the shoebomber tried to light up his Reebokīs you canīt do anything on a jet without getting suspicious glances.

Finally we touched down in London and it was pretty much exactly how I imagined it to be. ĻThe TubeĻ, Londónīs massive underground subway system, can take you anywhere youīd like to go.

The people in London are very friendly and every man, woman and child owns a cell phone, and they enjoy text-messaging each other constantly. I saw a baby text message his mother and request a diaper change.

I was pretty exhausted since I had been awake for 24 hours so I just walked around to some of Londons more famous parks. Everywhere you look residents are playing pick-up games of football (soccer) and I was amazed at the skill-level all the little kids seemed to possess.

All in all I was pretty exhausted and I passed out quite early. I really didnīt plan on seeing much of London because early tomorrow I will be heading out on a ferry from Dover towards Paris.