|| The South End + UK Captured Part 1 ||

This is part 1 of 5 of my UK series. While I was spending a month exploring many different cities, towns, and villages, it gave me enough insight to gather some tips and tricks while visiting parts of the United Kingdom.

I have recently encountered other people who are looking for some answers on how to travel, and while writing this series out I have found that I could be of help in some way. That I could produce a list of possibilities that can give more perspectives on how to travel, especially when thinking about doing so on a budget. It not only can be doable - but it can also become a lifestyle. Most times traveling is not easy, but challenges do become rewarding. Here is a short list of things I know people have done and succeeded in doing while enjoying still their time abroad.

- Teaching ESL online (or other languages as well. Good for remote work)

- Working at a hostel - (Good for room and board)

- Traveling Promotional Work (Good for IC jobs)

- House/Pet Sitting, such as https://www.trustedhousesitters.com/us/, and https://www.nomador.com/ 

Those are just some examples!

I have seen first hand how all these things above can work for someone who wants to live the traveling lifestyle. I am very fortunate to have some really great friends in my life who have done all these things above and lead by example.

These two below are a pair of individual shining examples that. Of course I was thrilled when my inspirational international traveling power couple friends, Hannah and Joseph, invited me to come to stay with them in the UK. There were SO many things to do in a month (Thus me having to split this adventure into 5 parts!).

So here I was, where I was starting was in the South. This is where I end up showing off some towns and villages that I explored. This entry includes Uckfield, Ashdown Forest, Maresfield, Lewes and Brighton.

Joseph drove us around A LOT. It takes some getting used to be on the left side of the road!

Joseph drove us around A LOT. It takes some getting used to be on the left side of the road!

- Right Side + Left Side -

It actually took me longer to adjust crossing a street then it did to the steering wheel being placed on the right side. Down on the pavement at the crosswalks, "LOOK LEFT" and "LOOK RIGHT" are painted on to remind people the obvious. I never got used to this. I almost got hit by a car about 3 times.

The street signals don't only turn yellow when it means you need to start stopping, but they also turn yellow before they turn green to warn you that you are now about to go. It was confusing yet so efficent at the same time.

- Greetings -

It could be a form of a handshake, or a kiss on the cheek, or maybe unexpectedly a double kiss to the other side. I was never really sure what the official way to greet someone was, but I feel like it was because the UK is so close to many other countries and with many different people that greeted in different ways. I never once got a fist bump though. My advice is just to go with the flow. It may turn out awkward, or it may be flattering. Just embrace what comes either way. If you have never been greeted with a kiss to the cheek before, I bet you will feel very international once it happens. I sure did.

When I went into a few stores, and I was greeted by the employee who said to me, "Are you okay?". Whereas I was used to someone saying, "How can I help you?", it caught my off guard. and threw me off the first time I heard it. I thought that maybe she had thought I looked sick or "out of sorts" - a catchphrase used here.

- Words used frequently -

Rubbish + Proper + Bloke + Mate + Cheers

A lift means an elevator. Holiday means vacation. Football means soccer, but american football means football, then air quotes come along with "American football".

Rugby and cricket are a big deal. Horse racing slips behind and comes in next.

School uniforms are required.

Most bathrooms I used had separate hot and cold water faucets or an updated automatic sprayed system, but nothing in between.

The Royals are definitely royal in the country's hearts and eyes.

Coffee is not a standard. Most times a coffee place or stand's standard of a cup of coffee is just an americano. If you want brewed coffee, you should ask if they serve filtered coffee.

Drinking tea is like a religion.

Even though England has buildings to benches older than America, most places use contactless debit and credit cards. Where if you have one of these while living in the UK, you can tap your card to their reader, and go about it without waiting on the transaction to clear. They got both worlds, living in the past and in the future.

|| Uckfield ||

Uckfield sits in the District of East Sussex (Prince Harry and Meghan Markle = the Dutch and Dutchess of Sussex), which is located in South East England. To give a reference, Uckfield is located about 40 miles South of London.

The Southern part is known for having more of a "posh" crowd. Northerners pronounce their words fuller and have perceived pronunciation and Southerners are speak with a sophisticated tongue. (This is all from I have been told by many of people, I never did a visit the North on this trip).

Uckfield is a small town. The population of 14,493 (from 2011) and has a range of shops in town, off of High St.

Instead of Main Street, like we would call it in the states, the British call it High Street.

Some shops including (but not limited) to a grocery store, a library, a pub I grew fond of (The Station), a few coffee shops.

Costa Coffee is a huge coffee chain that you will see in a lot of places here. It's the UK's version of Starbucks. However, I'm still not sure how to pronounce it - COSTah or Coasta....  

Also from what I oddly hear there is a nightclub here, but I have only heard weird things. This is from a Google review I found - "Once rated the worst nightclub in the country. Should have kept the title. Awful place, awful crowd. Avoid"

Uckfield has a train station, which is also the first and last stop on the Southern route for train service to London. But be warned, the train service can be unreliable at times. It is known to have cancellations on a whim.

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Sunday Roast Dinner 

A national treasured and most traditional meal that 99% of the Brittish folks I talked to were all about it. The only 1% is when I talked to someone who hadn't had a Sunday Roast in 20 years because he was vegetarian. He still loved the smell of a Sunday Roast cooking up because it brought his back to when he was kid. It's kind of like Thanksgiving for us Americans. It seemed like most pubs offered a Roast every Sunday on the menu.

This is how much people enjoy their roasts here - One of the waitstaff for our table even sat down with us to tell us his experience with Sunday Roast. One point in his life he would enjoy 2 roasts every Sunday. The first meal was when he would be the one to cook it in the pub while at work, enjoy some of it on his break, and the second meal was when he would go home to his family who would have also cooked the roast late in the evening.

From all the Americans I talked to about their experience with their Sunday Roast, well... I was given straightforward answers from all of them. I was told I wasn't going to hate it, but I probably wasn't going to love it. I held out until my last day in town, which happened to be a Sunday, I decided to give it a go. My opinion on the dish was just that. I'm glad I tried it, but I wasn't going to miss it.

What is a Sunday Roast?

The centerpiece of the plate is the meat. Usually, that consists of roast beef, however, sometimes there are other options as well, like roast chicken, or pork, and even sometimes lamb (which is what I went for). Depending on the meat you like, the side dishes differ from each selection. For example, Yorkshire pudding goes well with roast beef. Cracklings (Pork Rinds) go with pork (I'm still confused why you want more pork wiht pork) and mint sauce goes with the lamb. If there wasn't already enough meat for you, there also was the pigs in a blanket, which is sausage wrapped in bacon. I had two types of potatoes, mashed and cut, both on opposite sides of the plate. Now to get some greens on the plate there needs to be a vegetable medley of some sort. Traditionally root vegetables that will need to be steamed. usually, this means carrots, parsnips, and green beans, but peas were added to mine. Then to bring it all together they will not forget the gravy. I believe that this was the reason why my Sunday Roast was on the saltier side of things. My plate had been smothered and drowned in this gravy. I think that its the traditional way to go though.

- Drinking in the UK -

The States pretty much only have one place that they reference when it comes to drinking in an establishment - a bar. From karaoke bar to dive bar... there are a lot of bars. 

At first it was weird for me to see 18-year-olds not just drinking in the pubs, but also working as the bartender or barmaid. If your 16-17 you can legally drink beer, wine or cider with a meal if it is bought by an adult which they are accompanied by. I don't know how common that is, but its totally legal. If you were an adult buying anyone under 21 a drink they would get seriously punished. It would be looked down upon, and the door guy and bartender would probably get fired.

From what I gathered it seems that pubs are aimed to get people to socialize first, then the booze comes next. Bars seem to have the opposite attraction. Get as many drinks as possible in you before the socializing begins. Where I was staying the pub didn't stay open late, they closed as early as 11:00 p.m., but if you still wanted a drink late night, that's when you would go to a bar or a nightclub, aimed for the out night crowd who want to keep going.

Pubs are short for "public houses", although nobody calls them that. The beer is flatter and not as cold. You get used to it after about the 5th one. Cask ale is a thing, along with Gin bars. 

No tipping is required at a pub. It is definitely a culture difference between the Americans and the British. To add to that, some Brits find it bad-mannered and discomforting to put a numerical value on someone's service, especially when it is put on the customer to say thank you with their own money. I found out that a few people I talked to said that they do tip on occasionally, but only if they feel that the service was extraordinary and that the person who served them should feel like they did a good job, but it should never be expected.

The traditional summer drink, a Pimms Cup. When I first heard of it I felt like it sort of sounded like a sangria, but soon enough I was told I was wrong. A Pimms cup is a gin-based alcohol, which is 2 oz Pimm's No. 1, two parts lemonade, (you can sub ginger ale or sparkling water). Fill with ice, and garnish with fruit slices, cucumber, and mint. This had to be one of my favorite drinks with a meal.



|| Ashdown Forest ||

If that name sounds familiar to you, then you might know it is because the Hundred Acre Wood was the forest in Winnie the Pooh that was published 92 years ago, in 1926. The Ashdown forest (which is really 6,500 acres) has roughly one million visitors every year. Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit, and Tigger were characters created by A.A.Milne for his son Christopher Robin.

There are no huge spectacles, structures or statues of Winnie the Pooh but there are beautiful paths to walk on that loops around and spectacular views over the Sussex countryside.

"Christopher Robin believes it to be enchanted because no one can count whether there are 63 or 64 trees.
 Kate Samuelson—TIME"



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|| Maresfield ||

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The next village over is a bike ride away, only 1.5 miles from Uckfield. Parts of Ashdown Forest all lie within Maresfield parish. An even smaller population of 3,656.

I explored the area on bike and took my camera out and did some small town things, like explored a graveyard and a church at the same time. Sat with my thoughts on how old everything was here. How the very bench I was sitting on felt older than anything in America. How that you had to be very successful, have good royal blood or have a lot of money to be buried in a churchyard.

When the sun started to go down I did what any sensible person would do here, I went to the pub across the street (and the only one in the villiage) and had me some gin (A very trendy Britian drink) The pub is actually an Inn called Chequers. In the middle of the pub there sits a well that goes 75 feet down, and a bit above the water is a tunnel that goes under and across the street to the church. I never got the story to why that was put there though. There is history in every pub.

Chequers Inn

|| Lewes ||

The population around here is 17,000, and Lewes is considered a town. 

Lewes Castle, which is 51 years shy of being 1,000 years old (built in 1069). It holds the lumpiest bowling lawn in all of England. Thomas Paine (The Father of the American Revolution,) had lived in Lewes and played lawn bowling here.

City Status - To become a city status in the UK, the monarch would have to grant to a select group of communities. So far, there are 69 cities across the United Kingdom. 51 in England, 6 in Wales, 7 in Scotland, and 5 in Northern Ireland. The holding of city status gives a settlement no special rights other than that of calling itself a city.
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There are a few famous homes here, one being the bull house which was lived in by Thomas Paine, (One of the Founding Fathers of the United States) and the Anne of Cleves House. She was the 3rd wife of King Henry VIII, until he had made sure that the marriage was declared unconsummated due to him not finding her attractive. Following the annulment, she was given a generous settlement by the King, and thereafter referred to as the King's Beloved Sister. So technically speaking King Henry VIII didn't even want us to acknowledge that Anne of Cleves was his 3rd wife, but that what went down in the history books.

Anne of Cleves was granted this 15th-century house bearing her name in Lewes when her marriage to Henry VIII was annulled in 1541. What baffles me is that she never actually lived in Lewes, but only collected rent at the spot until she died at the 41 in 1557. She had never lived there but collected the rent until her death.

This is a place where The Battle of Lewes took place, along with Lewes Martyrs that were a group of 17 Protestants who were burned at the stake in Lewes, East Sussex, England between 1555 and 1557. This made it the largest single bonfire of people that ever took place in England. Every year an event takes places called the Lewes Bonfire, where it marks the demise of the 17 Lewes Martyrs, 17 burning crosses are carried through the town, and a wreath-laying ceremony occurs at the War Memorial in the center of town along with a firework show at the end. It's kinda like a mini town Burning Man, but which has been going on for longer and less to do with drugs. There also is some controversy over politics, and not just from the UK standpoint. As you can see in this video, there are a few Donald Trump pieces that are hoisted into the air and carried along the parade.  

|| Brighton ||

On the South seaside of East Sussex lays a beach town, and it's called Brighton. A whole population of 300,000, a large LGBT community leading to the recognition as the "unofficial gay capital of the UK", and alleyways of shops that give the feeling as if I was in another foreign country.

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- Fringe Festival -

When arriving into Brighton, the first thing that happened was we unexpectedly came stumbling upon a fringe festival. What is a fringe festival you ask? I didn't know when entering into it, but soon found out.

"Focused on the performing arts: At its core, Fringe gives a spotlight to theater, dance, puppetry, music, visual arts, and spoken word. Fringes don't have a focus on one single discipline or genre, but are a performing-arts smörgåsbord "


" In London, the fringe are small-scale theatres, many of them located above pubs, and the equivalent to New York's Off-Off-Broadway theatres and Europe's "free theater" groups."

This place had containers that were used as the performing spaces and were all circled in so that the middle was an open space for seating, for food vendors and some chill out spots. We did get ourselves something to eat before a show we were about to see. We got a drink and a toastie.

A toastie is like a grilled cheese, with other ingredients of your choice. So like a warm sandwich that has been grilled, with cheese of course.

We then saw a small comedy group consisting of 3 young men, all in their mid 20's. I caught onto most of the humor until they got too British with it. 30 minutes of a show, a drink and a toastie and that was all I needed to experience my first fringe!

- Brighton Pavillion -

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This palace is also known as Royal Pavilion.

This used to be a huge place for former royals residence, but now it's in the hands of the municipality of Brighton who bought it from the Royals back in 1850. 

In 1787 George, Prince of Wales built this palace in three stages as it was used as a seaside retreat for himself and stayed here until his death in 1830. Then his successor King William IV would stay at the Pavilion when he would frequent Brighton. Queen Victoria would stay there but began to dislike the Pavillion more and more as Londoners could now take a train rail to Brighton stating in 1841. 

Famously, Queen Victoria disliked the constant attention she attracted in Brighton, saying "the people here are very indiscreet and troublesome" 

In the First World War the Royals had turned the Pavillion into a military hospital for the Indian Army.

"The Pavilion hospital was set up with two operating theatres and over 720 beds. Over 2,300 men were treated at the hospital. Elaborate arrangements were made to cater for the patients' variety of religious and cultural needs. Nine different kitchens were set up in the grounds of the hospital, so that food could be cooked by the soldiers' fellow caste members and co-religionists. Muslims were given space on the eastern lawns to pray facing towards Mecca, while Sikhs were provided with a tented gurdwara in the grounds."

The inside of the Pavillion is richly decorated and holds inspiration for Indian and Chinese art inspired art and architecture. Generally filming and photography is not permitted inside. (BBC Video of inside exploration of the Pavilion here) Many of the items in the palace are on loan, in particular from her Majesty, The Queen, and one condition of the loans is that the items cannot be photographed or reproduced without prior written permission.

- Brighton Waterfront -

The waterfront consists of 2 main piers, but technically you can only go onto one of them now. 

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- Brighton Palace Pier -

This pier was built in 1899, 119 years ago. With many controversies around it, and many name changes, its the only one still in operation to this day.

In the middle of this pier sits a huge indoor section. At first, I wasn't aware of what was in it until I walked onto the pier, and then got closer to the middle. When I walked into this big building, I was majorly thrown off. It was a kids gaming area, where the sound of token coins hitting the metal chambers and all the music from the machines play, very very loudly. I had never been a huge fan of that Chucky Cheese type of outing, so when I stepped inside, all I wanted to do what get out. I kept my stride on to get towards the end of the pier and out of that building. Once out of this arcade space, and at the end of the pier what the best of the best amusement park rides anyone could ask for.

Quid is a slang word used for pounds, just like bucks are to dollars.
{{Tip. - If you want to ride the rides, its way more worth it to purchase an all-day wristband for 25 quid. Also, prices go down if you have 4 or more to a group. To go on the rides individually were priced around 7 pounds per ride, which didn't seem worth it. Wristband all the way. }}

- West Pier -

Also famously known as the pier that burnt down in 2003. The West Pier has a lot history to it (Like most everything in England). It was built in 1866, where at the time it was a great attraction for the town and its visitors. There was concert hall that was added to the pier in 1916. In 1975 the pier parts of the pier were crumbling away and it seemed unsafe so it was closed to the public. It went untouched for nearly a quarter of a century before natural disasters kept tearing it apart. In 2003 there had been 3 big disasters that took place at the closed pier. Two of them had to do with a number of main supports being washed away from under the structure after a couple bad storms that came through. This caused the Pavillion to split in two and that meant some of the concert hall swept into the ocean. If that wasn't enough, there had been a huge fire that broke out on the pier and the rest of the concert hall was engulfed by flames. Arson is suspected to be the cause of it, but nobody knows for sure though. Firefighters couldn't make it out because of how unsafe it was, and they couldn't go by boat because of all the fallen debris that had collected into the water below. It remains a myserty. 

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Next up - London!