I arrived in Canterbury, a little later than expected and a little poorer than planned. I waited at the wrong bus stop so long I missed my bus. I relied on the online map which clearly marked the bus stop I was waiting at. What I didn't realise was that was for buses going to London and there was a different stop for buses coming from London that was not so clearly marked on their online map.
I spent 20 minutes walking up, down and around Lewisham High Street attempting to find the right bus stop which wasn't easy for someone who does not know the area. Close to tears I contemplated giving in for the day, calling Viv to pick me and trying again tomorrow. But I'm not a quitter.
Eventually I found the stop and eventually got on a bus that wasn't full and arrived in Canterbury almost 2 hours later than expected and 17 quid poorer.
I can't help but laugh at how today turned out. I thought getting here by bus was going to be the easy bit but now I am wondering exactly what unexpected challenges await me on this journey. I think God is already trying to tell me to get over my ideas of how things are going to work and be prepared for curve balls and the unexpected.
Now I am here, everything is perfect.
I have a small, crooked, sloping room at the Cathedral Gate Hotel, an original Pilgrim Hotel, with an amazing view of the Canterbury Cathedral illuminated pale amber against the clear midnight sky. The church bells are chiming at some interval I haven't yet determined. Each chime vibrates audibly into the next chime and into my heart.
I have met with Canon Clare for my Pilgrim Blessing ceremony. She lead me into a chapel in the crypt of the Cathedral where we lit candles. She prayed for me and my journey, recited the beautiful Pilgrim's Prayer by Macrina Wiederkehr and then we recited The Lord's Prayer together.
I found a cute and quiet restaurant, Mrs Jones Kitchen, where I ate a delicious dinner of beer battered haddock with English chips and salad and a glass of Rosé.
I am feeling blessed and grateful and an absolute certainty that I am exactly where I am meant to be.
I am ready to begin.