There are so many things I’m thankful to have experienced in this life, but near the top of the list is the incredible gift of being able to travel and see so much of the world. I was born a wanderlust at heart. My father has always loved to travel and even on a very low-budget and with five kids in tow, he would share the world with us. As a child, I learned to endure museums and historical markers along the highways and byways of this great land we call America.
Thankfully, I married a man who shares my love of travel. We have stayed in quaint bed-and-breakfasts all over the northeast, and graceful inns of the south. We have enjoyed the California coast and great plains. We have driven on virtually every highway and many back roads across this country. I love to see the gifts of nature and beauty that God has given us to enjoy.
International travel is another thing altogether. One only has to leave this country to realize again how blessed we are to live in America. The old adage holds true…there’s no place like home. The first time I left the country and returned through customs, I cried when the immigration officer said, “welcome home.”
I do so love to see the world. Recently, I was discussing travel with a friend and I was reminded of all the reasons I love the journey of a journey abroad. My heart is drawn to Europe. I adore French food and Italian furniture. I admire the architecture in Amsterdam and left my heart in the coal mining regions of Ukraine. I love the waters of the Caribbean and miss the Kuna Indians of the San Blas Islands. I saw the salt mines on Grand Turk and thought the Caicos Islands were unspeakably beautiful.
However, I must say the place on earth that always calls me back to its shores is Great Britain. I treasure all things
English. Tea, china, flowers, cathedrals, sheep, and stone walls are woven into the fabric of my heart. I love the English moors, the Lake District and literary rich countryside, the fishing villages of Wales and the castles of Scotland. I even love the rainy, foggy, London weather. The small, walled gardens that speak of beauty in a dreary land bring grace to a soul. The majestic homes and country manors speak of money that often was used to separate people into social classes.
I enjoy the chatter over heard at a local pub while enjoying Shepherds Pie. Fish-n-chips doused in malt vinegar (the only way to eat it according to my husband) tastes so much better on English soil. Scones, biscuits, clotted creme, and tea in a beautiful china cup minister to my soul. A walk through the Portobello Road flea market on Saturday morning, a drive through the Lake District, a hike across the moors…what treasures to the mind and body. And literature…wow, what the English have given us in terms of literature and theatre. Often when my husband is coming back from an international trip, he will say “meet me in England.” That is music to my ears. I don’t do it often enough, but treasure it when I can.
Is there anything better at the end of a stressful day than lighting a candle and listening to the soundtrack from Pride and Prejudice? Reading the classics by fireside, surrounded by people you love always warms the heart and challenges the mind.
Just some musings today from my home in North Carolina, while my heart is drawn to England.