There seems to be a newfound love in Britain of the ‘staycation’ (those who like to globe trot look away now and continue reading your Rough Guide book collection, all is well).
For some, a holiday on home shores tallies perfectly alongside a foreign jaunt, discovering new places in Britain being just as challenging and exciting as the annual getaway to distant lands….well, maybe just a fortnight in Fuengirola but you get my drift. For others, the decision to ditch the short motorway dash to an airport of choice and subsequent flight to a chosen destination has derived from the numerous documentaries showing our island/s in all their glory; from narrow boat holidays on waterways to camping, forest villas (I know, more ‘Scandinavian breezeblock dwelling’ but they’re fab all the same) to yurts, the diversity is there and there is definitely something for everyone. If hotels are more your style – bespoke boutique B&Bs, five star luxury or country pubs cater for every kind of traveller. We really have got it all.
Apart from the weather. That as the saying goes, is in the lap of the Gods. I think we must have several weather gods given the unpredictability of something everyone talks about. The one topic of conversation in every bus stop, bar, department store and high street newsagents up and down the land is The Weather. If I have never set eyes on you before our chance encounter at a random location and may never again, you can guarantee there’s good odds on us discussing the current rain/sun/snow during our brief spell spent together waiting at the bus stop/checkout queue/waiting room. It’s not unfair to say we are a little obsessed with The Weather.
That intensifies during a Staycation. Investing a good portion of our holiday fund (perhaps even all of it) on our chosen accommodation, we feel justified in expecting our summer holiday to be spent basking in warm (hot, if you’re particularly optimistic) sunlight. I’ve enjoyed many sun soaked vacations in Britain and there is nothing more glorious. It’s like hitting the jackpot. You know it’s possible but can’t hide the europhoria when you realize the high pressure is there to stay. For a week, at least!
I’ve had a couple of rain lashed weeks away too. Weeks spent convincing myself I really could muster the courage to engage in overseas travel (anxiety creates feelings of dread akin to major surgery in my irrational brain when I think about being so far away from home shores…..but that’s another subject) in order to partake in a little guaranteed Mediterranean sun. Plodding through rain puddles in flip flops you are determined to wear ‘because you’re on your summer holiday’ and expertly diving between shop awnings, mingling with the hardy Bermuda shorts tribe and annoyingly well prepared Berghaus brigade (and fitting rather too snugly somewhere between the two) as you all snake along an impossibly narrow sidewalk to window shop is a character building exercise, make no mistake.
When the clouds disperse, there is nothing quite like the sight of a sunlit valley in Wales, or a glistening lake in Cumbria; the world looks squeaky clean, washed by rain and maintaining the lushness of our green and pleasant land. It’s at those times you kind of forgive Britain for its unpredictability, weather wise. Without those narrow isobars and Atlantic fronts we most certainly wouldn’t have the beautiful scenery so admired and envied across the world.
Global travel is definitely here to stay and humans in general will always have an inbuilt desire to explore foreign shores. For those privileged enough to be able to indulge in travel, it’s important that as countries are ticked off the ‘to do’ list, time is also spent enjoying all that our own beautiful country has to offer. Recent devastating floods have left some of the most beautiful locations that rely heavily on tourism, struggling to keep their businesses open as the unrelenting rain swelled the rivers, bursting the banks and destroying idyllic villages and picture postcard town centres. So if you are one of the ‘jetset’, try to set a little bit of cash aside too for even just a weekend in Britain.
I’ve just had my passport photos done and as soul destroying as it was (do I really look like THAT?) my renewal application will be getting completed soon. Will I use it? Who knows. I have a few more destinations at home to see first…………Northumbria, anyone?