When you spot a bench under a tree in the middle of a wide-open field overlooking some rolling English hills, you must sit. When you sit, you can’t help but listen to the birds singing, feel the cool breeze blowing, see the grass swaying. It’s the perfect spot to find inspiration in a moment of reflection. England has many of these spots:
- Sitting in a pub, drinking cider, eating fish and chips, and listening to the many accents recount their day.
- Walking along the pathways of Hyde Park, watching people picnic and dogs trot freely.
- Driving down tree-lined roads through the countryside, until they give way to sprawling yellow-flowered-fields.
- Perched on a window seat in a quaint B&B in a quiet country village, imagining a Jane Austen-like scene playing out.
When you don’t have a lot of time in a new place, it’s often hard to slow down and take it all in when there’s so much to see and do. But taking it in is so important. It’s these moments that usually stay put in the memory after all the busy bustling moments flicker away.
The latest trip to the UK had both bustling and quiet moments. Maybe it’s because I’m more than a decade older than the last time I made the trip, but I was quite content with more of the slow, low-key itinerary. Other than theater tickets, we had no definite plans upon arrival. This is definitely a more relaxing experience unless there are certain things you really want to see and do, then you should probably plan and make sure the site is open, how you’re getting there, and what to wear.
I’m usually pretty prepared for anything when I travel, but it felt like this time I was off my game. My wardrobe choices did not always match all the walking and the wind, but I made it through. A pair of my shoes did not. They have decided to retire in the English countryside. I hope they write the next greatest epic romance from the window seat of that charming guest house.
Even though I packed a little too light, it’s hard to take away from any of these experiences. Travel carries with it the strength to power through jet lag, the desire to wake at sunrise, the ability to walk miles across a park with no set destination, the inspiration to sit quietly under a tree. It’s that sense of wonder and exploration that keeps me traveling. Unlike my shoes, I never want to leave my wanderlust behind.