East, west, home’s best
Holidays are a funny thing. You spend ages thinking about them, dreaming about them, fantasising about where you’re going to go and what you’re going to do. I had images of my bronzed (much slimmer in my head) body lying on a white sandy beach in beautiful sunshine with just enough wind to keep me cool but not so much that I need a wind breaker – a common sight on the beaches of the UK.
There’s no sunburn in a fantasy, no mosquito bites and your iPod never needs recharging. Add to that the fact that it’s your honeymoon and you haven’t had a break in over a year, nothing less than perfection could meet expectations.
Danny and I were on holiday for 6 weeks and before we left we were talking about extending the trip when we were out there… “We could make it 7 weeks… or even 8, and still have time to do the things we need to do when we get back” we said on numerous occasions. As it was, by the time we boarded the British Airways flight home from Buenos Aires we were excited about coming back and hadn’t discussed extending the trip since we’d landed in Santiago early January.
Please don’t get me wrong, we had a phenomenal time, we saw and experienced things that will stay with us forever – glaciers the size of Bermuda and penguins in Chilean Patagonia, seeing the gas rings around Jupiter through a telescope in Northern Chile, Iguazu falls in Argentina (and Brazil); we swam in a natural (warm) geyser in the driest desert in the world and ate the best steak of our lives in Buenos Aires. It’s just a lot harder than we thought it would be to do nothing all day except decide where to go next.
Working without a day off from early April through to mid October meant that this holiday had done it’s job before we even left the UK. It gave us a point at which we knew, no matter what, we would be able to lie in, eat someone else’s breakfast and not have to clean up after ourselves for a significantly wonderful amount of time. It was vital to have it on the horizon; however, being the first holiday we’d had where we would be coming back to St Ives as opposed to London, we completely underestimated the joy of returning home.
No more coming back to office chaos or thousands of emails (we were dealing with these on holiday and it was fine because it was time invested in our own business and didn’t feel like ‘work’). No more coming back to a commute, a hectic city and a hamster wheel that we had to get back on. For the first time coming home didn’t feel like a punishment.
Travel does broaden the mind and I believe that some of that breadth is about helping you see where you live through different eyes. I have certainly come home with a greater appreciation of what we have here and it’s not just about what we can see, it’s a greater appreciation of a nation which understands the importance of keeping our countryside and cities clean; because when you see beaches where no one cares about that it detracts from any stunning scenery which might surround them. It’s a greater appreciation of our service culture and even our health and safety regulations that we love to moan about. It’s an appreciation for organisations like the National Trust and English Heritage (among others) that maintain our heritage sites and keep them accessible.
Weather aside we have a lot to love about the UK and even more to love about living in as beautiful place as St Ives with a city like London just around the corner (and compared to the distances we were travelling in South America it really is ‘just around the corner’); after all, without sounding arrogant, we didn’t see a single beach that even compares to those in Cornwall.
As I write this there’s a little part of me that knows I would have forgotten all this by the time September comes around because, despite living in St Ives, a season is bloomin’ hard work.
However, that’s September and now is now. Our time away has been wonderful – we had a spectacular wedding day and an awesome holiday – but it’s lovely to be home and we’re excited about welcoming our first guests of 2012 on 30th March.