See, Taste, Move, Breathe

July 27, 2013 § Leave a comment

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A couple of years ago I did a little travelling. I had been on some pretty incredible holidays before that, but this was the first time I went away for a chunk of time and journeyed from one new place to the next, instead of home.

Our first flight took us from London Heathrow to Beijing, China. I can still see the buzzing streets of that city, the low rise stacks of buildings, the dust rising and settling, the street vendors sizzling their wares. It is already a somewhat distant feeling, though even whilst there I found the sensation unfamiliar, and so rather distant to begin with. We walked along the Great Wall and ate duck intestines in a tiny restaurant with walls of mud, we wandered along the river and we enjoyed evenings twenty stories high – overlooking the outskirts of the city as our friends introduced us to fried eel and sake. 

From Beijing to Shanghai, and from Shanghai to the Whitsundays, and Lake Taupo, and Koh Samui, and finally, home again. Sitting here now, I remember the feeling I had as the plane descended onto the tarmac of London – excited, yes, bordering on ecstatic, to be back in England. Before I had left, months prior to that plane landing in Heathrow, I had found myself bored. I lived in a great flat upstairs from a fantastic bar, with a sea view and a teaching position I grew to love. I was also in love. And yet, I wanted to leave England. I was almost desperate to! 

I wanted to taste Asia – even if just for a second – to breathe in the mountain air of New Zealand, to move through the waters of Australia, to see the beauty of Thailand. Of course, I wanted to see, taste, move and breathe every place – and a thousand more if I could. I wanted to know more of what was out there, to go beyond the realms of the familiar and explore the (for me) unexplored. 

I was only gone a few months, but coming home was, as I said, incredible. It was as though I began to see details of my home country that I hadn’t seen before, and enjoy aspects of it I had previously taken for granted. I went to Hadrian’s Wall, I explored the beautiful history of Holy Island, I walked through the rainy Peaks, I laid in {yellow} Dorset fields. I even began to venture into new areas of Brighton – a city I had known and loved for years already – suddenly more keen to seek out new pubs and find private spots in lovely parks and drink coffee reading books from a bookshop totally new to me. 

I now find myself, after a while of contentment, starting to feel my feet again. There are different places on my list: Berlin, Barcelona, Stockholm, Prague. And this time, it’s me and my husband. But I’m definitely starting to plan already – knowing, that in the gift of travel, not only do we find beauty in the unknown, but a fresh fuelling of passion for home.

And I feel that there is some truth in the words of George Moore: ‘A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.’

 
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