An Unexpected Journey to Brighton

Brighton Pavilion ©2017 Jed Smith

I’m just returning home, after an unexpected adventure. Mind you, initially I wanted to thrown an internal hissy fit, having been catapulted off the course of my well-laid plans and expectations. But, somehow (don’t ask how) something in me relaxed, and I ended up with a very nice, one-day diversion. And, I seized the opportunity as an unplanned photo assignment.

Here’s how my unexpected trip to Brighton unfolded…

Simone and I had been in London for a three-day mini vacation. What’s so awesome about living in northern Italy is the ease and economy of being able to hop around to other countries. My easyJet round trip ticket was less,than $100, and the flight a mere one-hour-forty-five minutes. London was great, especially the annual 2017 BP Portrait Award exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery (my favorite museum in the world) and a jaw-dropping presentation of An American in Paris.

Fast forward to Monday afternoon when Simone headed off to two days of business while I took the train to Gatwick. I’ll try to make this short and as pain-free as possible. The skinny is there had been a runway “incident” involving an exploding tire. Tons of flights were cancelled, including mine. Here’s the fork in the road. Do I throw an adult temper tantrum (like many of my fellow passengers) or go with the flow?

Thankfully, I went with the flow.

I said to myself “let’s see where this leads”. I immediately rebooked my returned flight on the easyJet app, and then requested my hotel. I sat in a Gatwick coffee shop, after reclaiming my bag, and awaited further instructions from the universe (a common theme in my life now).  I was #137 in the queue for receiving a hotel room assignment. Additional deep breathing required.

Then I received the email I would be staying in Brighton – a thirty-minute train ride south. I would be in the historic Hilton Brighton Metropole, right on the seafront. My room wasn’t anything to crow about, but think about it. My flight had been cancelled, and I easily could’ve been spending 24 hours in an airport hotel. Nope, Instead, I’m at the beach. Woohoo!

When I reached my hotel, I crashed, big time.

Well, that’s sometimes the price of taking on the unexpected.

I did take a decompressing forty-five minute late evening stroll, I slept for 9 hours. I woke up, packed, gave my bag to the concierge, and headed out, camera in hand and ready for action.

And, here lies the beauty of the unexpected.

I walked to the Royal Pavilion – something I’d always wanted to see after seeing an extravagant scene in On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. Wow, talk about a fairytale setting.

Then I walked,to the Brighton Pier, ready for a lunch of fish and chips at the legendary Palm Court near the end of the pier.

My camera was ever-ready, and the cast of characters was plentiful. And, so I share my photographic musings.

As I write this post I’m enjoying a glass of red Sicilian wine at the Jamie Oliver  restaurant in the North Gatwick Terminal. I’m heading home after my dance with the unexpected. Sure, I’ll be glad to be sleeping in my own bed (with our cat children), but I’m grateful life dropped an unexpected gift in my lap.

Dare I start making this a habit?

By |2019-01-21T17:37:24+01:00July 19th, 2017|Italy's Neighbors|17 Comments

About the Author:

I’m an American expat living in Italy!


  1. mo July 26, 2018 at 2:48 am - Reply

    It was so great to see that beautiful face, and hear that voice!

    I am so very proud of you for following your dreams, the ones you spoke over the years.
    Now as I move into my phase, I think of you when doubt comes in…

    Love and miss you,

    Miss Mo

    • Jed July 27, 2018 at 1:16 pm - Reply

      Ciao Mo! So nice to hear from you and to know that we can connect with me through the magic of video! Love and miss you too! Jed

  2. Lynn Cureton August 1, 2017 at 10:09 pm - Reply

    WOW! What a wonderful adventure – and life you lead!

    • Jed August 2, 2017 at 5:27 pm - Reply

      You’re right, Lynn! And I’m indeed fortunate!

  3. elizabeth wholey July 20, 2017 at 4:32 pm - Reply

    You’re really getting into the flow, Jed! Great blog!

    • Jed July 22, 2017 at 11:32 am - Reply

      Thanks for the encouragement and support, as always, Elizabeth. Miss you!

  4. Linda walsh July 19, 2017 at 8:46 pm - Reply

    Hi Jed. I am only 15 mins from Brighton by train and it is a good day out although bad luck on getting caught up in that Gatwick mess. I am over to see Steph and Ken the first week of August if you happen to be in Umbria. Love to you and Simone. X

    • Jed July 19, 2017 at 9:24 pm - Reply

      Hi Linda, All good now. I’m home, but now Simone has been delayed. I’m heading to Umbria in a few days. Not sure if I’ll be there the first part of August, but if I am, I’ll be sure to let you know. Would be great to see you. xoxox Jed

  5. Kathy Guenther July 19, 2017 at 8:45 pm - Reply

    We’ve only visited Brighton once, but we loved the beach vibe and enjoyed perusing the shops. We would love to have a layover there!! Buon giornata from Kathy and Ed (friends of Chris Cutler).

    • Jed July 19, 2017 at 9:22 pm - Reply

      Thanks for writing, Kathy! I was lucky to be plopped down there for a night and morning!

  6. debra July 19, 2017 at 5:20 pm - Reply

    Hey Jed….i soooo love your new outlook on what life throws our way. I’m anticipating similar happenings on my solo trip to Sulmona in October, but have to confess…i cannot wait!! lol. Always look forward to your stories and pics and you never disappoint.
    Buona giornata….

    • Jed July 19, 2017 at 5:33 pm - Reply

      Hi Debra, Thanks, as always, for your kind words. Actually, I may be in Sulmona in October, so maybe our paths will cross! Jed

  7. Gloria July 19, 2017 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    Luv it!

    • Jed July 19, 2017 at 4:59 pm - Reply

      Grazie Gloria!

  8. Jim Powrie July 19, 2017 at 2:39 pm - Reply

    You should have gone to see Georgina!

    • Jed July 19, 2017 at 3:55 pm - Reply

      Duh! I think I was so brain dead by the time I checked in, I wasn’t thinking clearly!

  9. Jill July 19, 2017 at 2:13 pm - Reply


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