Okay, bold statement incoming… I used to HATE England.
With every trip I took abroad, I fell more in love with travelling and dreaded the idea of coming home that little more each time. It wasn’t just the holiday blues; I had this sense that I didn’t quite belong in England. I would have very, vivid visions of myself living somewhere else – somewhere sunnier, friendlier, preferably Mediterranean-er.
But I had never really seen England. I didn’t know anywhere near enough about my home country to judge it so harshly.
Then, over the last year, 3 significant things happened…
- I travelled all across Australia, loving almost everywhere I went and meeting Australian’s who would repeatedly say to me ‘you’ve seen more of my country than I have!’
- I returned to England, only to move instantaneously to the beautiful countryside of Oxfordshire, and…
- The whole world went into lockdown and the future of travel became probably the most uncertain it’s ever been.
So, you see the 3 of those things combined have caused – for the first time ever – this total shift in my thought process. As I ventured around Australia, I started to feel that it wasn’t right – how little I had physically seen of England. I vowed to travel more in 2020, much closer to home. But now, for reasons we all understand, travel plans – and indeed, most plans – have come to a dramatic holt. We will travel again, someday.
One thing I didn’t expect was to love the countryside as much as I do.
I feel as though I’m witnessing the real England for the first time – and I don’t hate it at all. Quite the opposite actually. It feels as though perhaps I was always meant to be here, to grow up here.
I sort of envy kids growing up here (I did in Australia as well). They get to grow up with nature at their fingertips and live this fun, outdoor, simple pace of life. Such a contrast to the rat race of life in cities and large, suburban towns. Maybe I can just pretend I’m growing up all over again? Who wants to be an adult anyway?!
I’ve accepted that travel may be off the cards for quite some time but it doesn’t sting quite as much now that I have a home I really love. It seems to keep my burning desire to travel the world under control and helps me believe that as long as nature is around me, everything’s good. Even when the world’s not.
Nature is the one constant thing carrying on, when everything else is on pause. And so, I’m extreeemely grateful to be where I am. Having acres of lush, green land on my doorstep suddenly feels like everything I need. I may not be able to travel far, but I can walk for miles through fields. I can nerd out at all of the wildflowers that I’m slowly learning the names of. I can throw on my backpack and follow countless footpaths to yet more fields and hills and villages. And I can appreciate breathing in that fresh, healthy, country air.
Sometimes it surprises me that my feelings towards England and the subject of being home have changed. But it doesn’t surprise me that I like it here as much as I do. I’ve been thinking lately about some of the happiest times and memories on my travels. Really there’s one common denominator for all of those moments… Nature.
This is why I’ve concluded that being here, in the country helps to control what is usually an endless desire to get away and see more of the world. Now I see things differently and I feel that there is so much more of the UK for me to experience.