This post has arisen from a reply I was writing to @alexandermichaelcrow in response to his “See the World” post today. And since tumblr quickly whisks messages away, never to be seen again, I wanted to make a note of it!
As a child, my dad became a proud campervan owner, and my sister, mother and I were driven, endlessly, through European countries: Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg. I’ve been to Italy and France, and when we were little, we even lived in Massachusetts for about a year. I was lucky, as all this took place in a time when not many kids got to see different countries.
And yet, I don’t think I really experienced these places, and what it meant to BE in them. This is mostly true for the campervan touring; we were never permitted to dwell anywhere, and remained only in each location for the evening and night before moving on again, constantly travelling through the day. Most of our food was taken with us on the journey in the form of “staples” like tins of soup, baked beans, Spam (horror), instant mash, tinned veg and meat and “just add water” rice meals.
Embarrassingly, my father would speak, loudly and slowly in English to people, as if they were a bit stupid.
We very rarely had to interact with local people in shops, restaurants or cafes because we took our own bubble of independence along with us, and existed within it. Hence, I have very few memories of these times, these places and cultures.
Ironically, it is only since I began to venture either on solitary trips, or to the North, and the islands, that I’ve really begun to understand what all the fuss of being elsewhere was really all about. Actually, no; now I think of it, I know that the first place I became really immersed in as an adult was when I stayed with my children on the Isle of Anglesey, with its ubiquitous Neolithic and Celtic culture echoing. It was a place I have never ceased to want to revisit, to find old places and new. And now, with Matt, poring over maps and being willing to get to know small areas really well, rather than seeing *allthethings* and missing the detail, the nuance, the essence of a place and its people. Oh, and my developing habit of speaking at length with strangers! 😉
I love this piece.
Seeing things like this validates every moment I spend on my blog – if I can make one person think and add to the discussion, then I am very happy.