When my wife asked me what I wanted for my fiftieth birthday, I started dreaming of the places I could go. Maybe a backpack trip around Europe? Or perhaps a trip to South America to explore a continent I hadn’t visited. But at the end of the day, there could be only one destination I wanted to visit, and that was to go see my club Swansea City play in Wales.

Checking the calendar, I had to good fortune to learn that Swansea would be playing at home just four days before my actual birthday. That good luck continued when I was able to find a roundtrip airfare from Orlando to London Gatwick Airport for the very affordable rate of $382 via British Airways.

Flying to Great Britain is easier and more affordable than it’s ever been. And finding a rate of $180 for a week-long car rental with unlimited mileage helped keep costs low. Plus, with the exchange rate between Great Britain and the United States being the best it’s been in years for Americans heading to the United Kingdom, the trip made sense to both my wallet and my ability to splurge on an important milestone in my life.

Without taking too much away from the video that I recorded of my journey (see below), my weeklong journey to the country where I was born couldn’t have been better. The weather was exceptional (sunny days with 70-degree highs and 40-degree lows). Plus, every single meal we had was delicious. And every town we visited along the way for some extra sightseeing was such a joy to visit (we made it to Bath, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Welshpool, Blockley, Windsor and Crawley, as well as villages in Wales and England where I spent a lot of my youth).

At the end of the journey, while the actual match result was not what I wanted, I think you can see by the smile on my face in the video below that I had such a wonderful time. My life is my family and soccer, so by combining my two greatest loves, I was able to cherish the journey. And I can’t wait to do it all again hopefully in the near future.