Over the years, a few people who know us well have made clear their views about our love of returning to places we’ve been before: they see it as ‘safe’, ‘unadventurous’, ‘boring’.
But we see it altogether differently. I’m lucky to live in a time and place where I have leisure time and freedom and enough money to travel pretty much where I want to. I choose to limit my exercise of that freedom, for a variety of reasons.
Some years ago things I read about the impact of climate change made me resolve to avoid flying. I don’t say I will never fly, but it will always be something I do very rarely and make a careful and mindful decision to do. For example, we plan to visit close friends in Canada next year, and there are good reasons for doing so. But it certainly isn’t something I do routinely or regularly. So mostly I travel to places I can get to by train, bus, bike, or car. Or even walk to.
And there are the ‘virtual journeys’ I can make: I can ‘see’ places far far away and immensely different to my home through the wealth of electronic devices at my disposal, in ways that in our childhoods, my parents, my grandparents, and even I, could never have believed would be possible.
We have access to fascinating and very beautiful TV programmes – this week I watched Wild China on BBC2, and am looking forward to seeing more episodes.
I read regularly blogs written by people in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the US, Switzerland, Norway, and Sweden, as well as in the UK, each of which give me some insight into the differences and similarities between our lives. I have learnt so, so much from them.
I listen to the radio, a lot – BBC R4 and the BBC World Service have in-depth documentaries covering all sorts of issues around the world. That was how I heard about this inspiring young woman.
There’s no way that I can see the whole world in my one short life. I know that and accept it. And I embrace and enjoy it. By going back to places again and again, we’ve been able to develop a deeper understanding of them, to look forward to seeing familiar places and faces as well as each time extending our range. Over the years we have got to know some very special places in Denmark, Wales, Germany, France, Italy, and Cornwall. We’ll be (re)visiting several of them again this year, and are so much looking forward to it.