Scotland 8: Day 24, The Conclusion

03.25.20 | Home | 23:47

I woke up after about nine hours of sleep! Nine hours isn’t usually something that my body requires, but I think lugging my backpack all around London wiped me out.

I got all my things ready and checked out of the hostel. One night is not enough time to spend in London. I’ll have to make it part of the planning for my next go-round. I just hope that the next go-round won’t be cut short by any viruses.

Heathrow has no lines and no waits. It was amazing to walk right up to the ticket counter and right up to the security line. I guess there is the silver lining on this whole debacle. In no time at all, I was in the gate area, buying cookies for the crew.

When Norwegian has to cancel my original flight home, I booked my Delta flight from London to Detroit, and then to Salt Lake City. Yesterday that first flight got canceled, and so They changed me to fly from London to Atlanta to Detroit and finally to Salt Lake City. Yes, it was annoying to be given that extra leg, but I knew that they were doing their best to get me home.

About halfway from London to Atlanta, I was looking at my itinerary, and I noticed that they had me missing my Detroit flight by about an hour! This would have meant that I’d have to spend a night in Detroit, and I was hoping that this wouldn’t happen.

I started doing research, connected to the plane’s wifi and noticed that there were still at least two nonstop flights from Atlanta to Salt Lake City after we were supposed to be landing in Atlanta. I jumped in Delta’s app, and after having to wait in line for about an hour and a half, I managed to get to chat with a customer service agent.

She was able to change me to one of the nonstops to SLC. Now I’m back in my original plan of only having to take two flights to get home! I’m so thankful that my first plane had working wifi available!

I need to hand it to my first crew! The flight crews were terrific, and even though it took a long time to get through to customer service, they were able to make things right! I know that they are working their fingers to the bone to get passengers home in the wake of this coronavirus disaster- so kudos!

My second crew, on the other hand, were not as good. When I dropped off treats, the flight attendant barely even acknowledged me- no big deal, I guess. Also, they didn’t even seem like they wanted to be there. It was such a contrast from the first group. I wish I hadn’t wasted the chocolate on them.

I am now home and getting ready to fall asleep. There is no way I could adequately describe how tired I am. I have so much on my mind. What have I learned from this trip?

1. Be flexible in your travels

2. Always pay the extra price in case you need to cancel or change your plans (no penalty)

3. Always talk to strangers

4. Remember that travel is about the journey, not just the destination

And with that- I’m off to bed.

Scotland 8: Day 23

03.24.20 | London, England | 20:53

When I got to Glasgow Central Station this morning, I couldn’t see my 08:00 train listed on the board. I noticed that there had been an earlier one to London that had been canceled. I admit that I was a little bit worried that all the trains may be canceled because of the coronavirus mess.

I found an employee, and after doing some research, he told me that my train’s time was changed to 08:40, but was still running. That was a relief! He then told me there was one leaving in about 5 minutes and that if I hurried, I could catch that one instead.

As I approached the lady with my ticket, she asked me, “Is your travel absolutely necessary?” I told her that I was flying out of London, back to my home in the states, so unless she wanted to book me a plane ticket out of Glasgow, then yes, my travel was necessary. Needless to say, the train was very light. There were only five of us in this particular car. Just before we left the station, an employee came through and asked that we all remain at least two meters apart on the ride. He even separated a couple who is traveling together.

Getting all the way to Euston Station in London takes just under 5 hours if I was paying attention. I was lost in a movie for most of the ride, however. When we arrived, I was bound and determined to walk the 3.2 miles to my hostel. This was quite an accomplishment since I had my big ole pack on my back. I only stopped once to take off my coat, so I’m pretty proud of myself. When I arrived, they let me check in a bit early. I just wanted to get off my feet for a few minutes.

I didn’t spend very much time in my room. This is London, after all. I’m only here for one night, so I wanted to make the most of it. I walked to Westminster Abbey, Elizabeth Tower, and took a look at the London Eye. As expected, nothing was open. I couldn’t see Big Ben because it was hidden behind scaffolding. The London Eye isn’t turning today. I did get a few pictures while I was out and about!

It was sort of depressing. And to think that I was initially going to spend an entire week here. Sadly, it’s time to get back to the states. Tomorrow is there legs home… hoping everything is on time, and there are no cancelations. That seems to be what is happening all around the world right now.

Scotland 8: Day 1

03.02.20 | London, England | 14:00

I’m happy to report that I got about an hour of sleep. You may think this is not a significant accomplishment, but it, in fact, is. This is coming from a guy who can’t sleep on planes. It is such an uncomfortable sleeping position, even if I’m able to get the seatback reclined. How cool would it be to fly on a flatbed?

Upon landing at Gatwick, I had about two and a half hours to get from the south terminal to the north. I notticed when I was going through customs and passport control that Gatwick is doing it all automatically. You line up and make your way to this machine that scans your passport, and a camera looks at your own face to make sure they match. I had to do it a couple times since my new glasses look nothing like the glasses in my passport picture.

Now I am waiting for my third plane- this one will take me to Scotland! A Swedish lady just asked me for help finding her gate. Thank goodness for Google Translator! I took the time to explain that she hasn’t yet received a gate assignment and that she needed to check the monitor in about 10 more minutes. She thanked me, pretended to understand, and then left me- only to go ask another man the exact same thing.

London Gatwick

When he explained it, precisely as I had, she wandered off, I’m guessing so that she could ask a third person. I walked over to the man and told him that I had just told her the exact same thing that he had, but I’m guessing that she didn’t trust me.

The guy had an American accent, and he told me that he was from Chicago. I told him that I had been to Chicago for work, and we talked about pizza. This is a subject that I am fond of, what can I say? He told me that his name is Billy Branch and that he is in London singing. I googled him, and sure enough!

I have added one of his albums to my Apple Music and will check him out the next time I feel like listening to the Blues. He was very kind and great to chat with. This is what travel is all about: The lives you touch or are touched by along the journey.

Edinburgh, Scotland | 17:55

After traveling for over 24 hours, I really didn’t have the desire to deal with public transportation. It cost me £25 to get an Uber from the airport to the flat. Had I chose public transit, it probably would have cost me under £6, if I remember correctly. I didn’t have the strength, however. By this point, I really wanted a bed.

The problem I was faced with: I didn’t know how to get into the apartment. When I’d booked with AirBnb in the past, I’d receive a message from the owner/manager about 24 hours before check-in explaining how I get into the place. Usually, it’s a lockbox with a key, or there is a code on the door or something. This is my first time using, and I received no such message.

After about 15 minutes on the phone with the property management company, I’m inside the most awesome little flat! Location is everything, and I have the most fantastic view of Edinburgh Castle! This place is up on the 4th floor (the 3rd floor, if you’re from this side of the pond), and there is no elevator in the building, so I get to lug my bags up the stairs. When I walk in, it’s totally worth it!

I’m so tired, but I need to go grab something to eat. I went to Pret and grabbed some soup and a sandwich, swing by Boots to grab some shampoo and body wash and head back. I’ll head out in the morning. I need food and sleep.

Three Letters To My U.S. Passports

Dear First Passport,

I wish I had a picture of you to include in this letter. You’re in a drawer or a box somewhere, but when I come across you, I will be sure to scan you and update this entry. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for having been a wonderful part of my life. You first came to me back in 2007, when one of my best friends, Marcus, and I auditioned, and were ultimately selected to spend an autumn and winter in Taiwan, singing and entertaining tourists at an American-themed amusement park.

I remember the park directors coming to Eastern Arizona College to hold the auditions and asking us if we knew how to rollerblade (for you see, roller-blading Santa Clauses were all the rage in Taiwan back then, and that was part of the gig). I answered, ‘Yes’, but at the time I had never even put on a pair of rollerblades. It’s true I lied, but it got me the job (well, that and all my other awesome talents). How hard can roller-blading be? I remember being sad when I learned that the amusement park had gone bankrupt and this particular adventure was canceled. I now had you, my first passport. At that time, however, I had no place to go.

The first time I actually got to use you was after I’d moved up to Logan, Utah and was attending classes at Utah State University. This was the trip when my roommates James (a family member and another bestie), Paul, and Matt got together with our neighbors, Christy (Paul’s sister) and Marie and drove up to go camping at Banff National Park in Canada. I was disappointed that the Canadian border patrol didn’t stamp you. This trip, however, gave me a taste for the beautiful north and left me hungry, wanting more.

James had told me how awesome his trip Germany had been and then I got to meet Stefan, a boy from Germany who had once lived with James’ family as part of a foreign exchange student program. Stefan was so kind and told us we should plan a visit to visit his home. One night I was surfing the net, and what started out as simply checking how much it would cost to fly to western Europe, suddenly turned into purchasing two non-refundable, roundtrip tickets from Los Angeles to Paris.

That was an amazing adventure (and another excuse to use you, my first passport). As you no doubt remember, our roommate Jason joined us for that incredible trip! By this point, the love of travel was fast becoming part of my D.N.A. That seed had been planted and I desperately hoped to nourish it.

I used you when another James (a.k.a Zuka), Dave, Dave’s friend Jessica and another roommate, Jeremy, went on a road trip to see Dave’s parents’ who were serving as LDS mission presidents in Monterrey, Mexico. This was yet another trip where you weren’t stamped. If border patrol agents would only stamp you, this world would be a happier place!

I used you, yet again when I went with some dear friends to the United Kingdom in 2002. This was the trip with my dear friends’ James (Zuka), Julie, Colee, Dave, Dominoe and Makaylee. We spend just over a week visiting this land of some of my [and some of their] forefathers. Finally, another stamp! A few years later, you would be well used when I’d become a flight attendant. Even though at the time, the airline was only domestic flights, you came in quite handy for all of those T.S.A. lines and security checks.

I miss you and hope you show up one of these days! I am blessed that you helped me to discover this love I now possess.

Love, Dav

Dear Second Passport,

I apologize that you got so worn out! A few of your security features had even started to fade, resulting in additional questioning- but wow! We’ve had a blast! You have taken me back to the United Kingdom on a few different vacation trips, in and out of Iceland, you’ve allowed me to spend two amazing weeks in Ireland, in and out of Mexico and Canada a few times, all over the United States and even let me spend five weeks exploring some of western and southern Australia, in part to visit my dear friends, Arron and Brendan! I already had this growing love of travel, but with you, I really learned how to travel. I’m grateful to have known you!

Love, Dav


Dear Third Passport,

Since you just arrived in my mailbox this past week, I really haven’t gotten to know you yet, but am looking forward to the opportunity. Now, If you’ll go over and take a look at my bucket list, you’ll agree that this is going to be a blast! I look forward to using you at the end of this month on our first adventure together! I even had them add extra pages to you!

Love, Dav


It’s time for some family history! I don’t remember if I told you in the past, but one of the reasons that I’m obsessed with Scotland is that this is one of the places where my ancestors are from. I grew up in a family that is very much into genealogy and knowing where we came from. My dream of seeing Scotland with my own eyes finally came true in December of 2002 when my friends David Hammond, Dominoe Reed, James Jenkins, Nicole Hayes, Makaylee Jensen, Julie Linton and myself went on a little vacation to the United Kingdom.

Years later, these are the memories that I still hold from this trip:

  1. Staying at the Amsterdam Hotel in London, not too far from Hyde Park
  2. Eating my first “proper” fish & chips
  3. Visiting the mission home (Dave had recently returned home from serving in London as a full-time missionary.
  4. Eating a battered Mars Bar at the Maid Miriam Cafe’ in Nottingham (close to the statue of Robin Hood)
  5. Seeing Westminster Abbey and Big Ben for the first time
  6. Learning that Tower Bridge is not London Bridge and that the original London Bridge had been sold so some guy in Arizona
  7. Strutting down the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Walk
  8. Seeing the Tower of London and the Queen Jewels

Since there were seven of us, and we were in the U.K. for seven days, each of us chose what we wanted to do for the day. I remember Julie’s day was going to see Wimbledon since she is very much into playing tennis. On James’ day, we took the rental car down to Wales, since that’s one of the places where his ancestors came from. I remember going to Stonehenge on somebody’s day and trying to figure out how those people lifted those heavy stones, so many years ago.

On my day, we drove the rental car up to Scotland and stood on the bank of Loch Lomond, and this was where Dave and I even sang the song, Loch Lomond.


On my dad’s side of the family, I have a lot of the surname Wallace. I thought it would be cool if I could find some link to William Wallace (of Braveheart fame). Sadly, there’s no record of William Wallace ever having children. Odds are he had illegitimate offspring, though. Back then, a favorite past time for the young men was to shag any girl who would let you (or didn’t necessarily let you).

On my mother’s side of the family, I have always been told that the surname Lee comes from Ireland. Sure enough, I followed their chart into Ireland as far as I could. I soon discovered that before Ireland, many of them also came over from Scotland (just like my dad’s side of the family). If the records I’ve seen are correct, I have links to royalty (James II of Scotland and Robert the Bruce), it is quite possible that my dad’s ancestors actually paid taxes to my mom’s ancestors!

I have found a line that links me to kings’ of England, Scotland, France, Prussia, and Wessex!