Bryant Abroad

Bibliophilist Society, Classic Books and Ideas

Kit Schleifer

Among the readings for William Cullen Bryant we find Letter X. In it, he goes into much detail about his travels from Richmond to Charleston. The more I read of this, the more I wish I had written of last year’s Inklings Abroad trip.

While it didn’t have any alligators to admire, the two weeks we spent in the UK were the best moments of my life. Following in the footsteps of great writers and being part of a group that has a love for adventure is wonderful. The other wonderful part is that I literally did none of the planning. It’s all set up by leaders, yet it still feels like a freeing trip. 

Similar to Bryant, we spent a good portion of the travelling time on a “train.” (it was more like a subway) I can’t actually explain how beautiful and foreign the land seemed, but it was enough to make my pathetic little gray personality actually see color for once. The first place we arrived at was a little coastal town in Cornwall, and if it had been the only place we stayed it still would have been worth the two-thousand-dollar price tag. 

This may be a shameless plug, but you have to trust me and my background in art when I tell you that Cornwall is one of the most beautiful places on this planet. Do you ever wonder why Alabama looks like a bleak, apocalyptic wasteland? It’s because God used all the beauty on Cornwall and had to balance it out with that hideous state. (sorry Alabama but not sorry)

One day we packed our bags and headed off towards Lizard Point. The wind felt like it was at least 50 miles per hour, but the view off the cliffs made every moment worth it. I made my way to the edge of the rocks just out of range of the incoming tide, but I guess I misjudged the water. I don’t know how to perfectly explain that moment with words that I can use on this good Christian website, but I know you guys catch my drift. The dread of watching a wall of water collapse on top of me really made me regret keeping my backpack on. THREE BOOKS. I ruined three books. No, the ocean ruined three books that day. But I forgive you Cornwall.

It was also in Cornwall that I made friends with one of the other group members from Athens. That’s the other great thing about this trip to England. You really meet people that you don’t expect to, and if I can find someone I like then it should be super easy for anyone else. He and I spent the first day in the American airports just glaring at each other and coming up with random reasons to hate each other. I don’t know why I’m weird like that, but this trip brought me out of my shell and changed that a little.

There is something for everyone on this trip, and The Inklings Abroad leaders are some of the friendliest people you’ll meet. I know I spoke mostly of Cornwall as if it was where we spent the most time, but it only took up 3 days. I didn’t even cover the days we spent in Oxford where my new friend and I found old wine and gave it to the German 10th graders, I didn’t even mention the sideways rain that pelted us as we climbed the largest mountain in the UK, and I didn’t even get to the part about how I nearly lost my phone on a double-decker bus, but you should find out for yourself 🙂 

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