One upshot of having such a wonderful time in the UK is that it inevitably raises questions about the future. I will never regret the decision to move to New Zealand because it has given so many wonderful experiences which I would never otherwise have had but there is suddenly a pull on yourself from a number of sources when you return home for the first time.
There is the emotional pull of missing friends and family (though of course moving somewhere based on someone else being there would most likely be a huge mistake in the making), a cultural pull of missing certain things from your homeland, a pull from the countryside (not really from the cities!) and a pull of missing the British humour and the feeling that everyone generally understands you. All of these things (plus a good few others) seem to club together to raise doubts, especially when so many good feelings are crammed into a euphoric, short timespan.
However, leaving a booming economy, vibrant multicultural environment, conservation experiences and the wonderful countryside of NZ would be tough in its own right. It takes a long time to establish yourself in a new place and maybe a true regret would be to throw in the towel after just a few years and go back to something which I left behind for good reasons in the past. Add to that the upshot of Brexit (plus the divisive ignorance it has given rise to in the British culture), its potentially negative impact on the economic future of the UK and you begin to think that a wait-and-see approach is much more sensible. It seems more sensible to think about moving forwards instead of moving backwards.
The key question seems to be this…what kind of life do you want? It is also the hardest to answer. One thing has become clear, sometimes you have to change yourself and not just the place you live, because if you move to a new place, you will eventually revert to the same basic routine.
Has anyone had similar doubts or experiences themselves that they would like to share?
I do not have children, nor do I really want them, but during my trip to the UK I found that for the first two weeks I was staying in places where children of various ages were part of the scenery, from 18 months to 9 years old.
You might think that this would be a concern but it was great fun! Interacting with the kids, playing games and being a little part of their lives was great. They are often natural comedians and do things that we, as inhibited adults, would never do. They seem to have so few cares and you can only wish that life stayed that way. I even met my two-year-old niece for the first time which was brilliant!
To those who thought that the answer to every “I Spy” clue was “cake”, to those who would have me trampoline whether I won or lost at a family game of croquet (trampolining sure takes it toll on your knees, by the way!), to those who spontaneously started pole dancing at the age of two, I give thanks. These experiences are ones to be treasured and really helped make the UK trip a fabulous time that will be long-remembered.
Returning to the UK, I was a little concerned of how it might feel to meet up with friends for the first time in over three years. In some cases, keeping in touch has not been easy, and I was concerned as to how the relationship might stand up to time.
I either stayed with (some for the first time) or met up with numerous friends while in the country and I must say that without exception it felt like I hadn’t been away. It was a total joy for me and pointed to the fact that these were friends that in many cases would indeed last for a long time. What a relief!
In every case, the first few minutes reflected on the past before we started to create a few new memories to take into the future.
And for those friends (and family) with whom I stayed, it really was a very humbling experience to see how much they went out of their way to help with the trip and in ensuring that a good time was had by all. Most of our hosts were even happy to drive us to places despite our having a car which was fab also. To them (they know who they are) I say a massive THANK YOU.
Before returning to the UK, I was surprised to read in a BBC article about how sales of all types of alcoholic beverage in Britain had been declining during the previous year with the exception of gin.
On first entering a pub, I was interested to see the number of types of gin that were available. So many! They all look the same! But they don’t all taste the same! As I toured around I passed a number of boutique distilleries which made me wonder if they’d always been there or not. I was told that the market had been flooded with variants and that people were lapping it up.
I decided to partake just once and attempted a Yorkshire Tea gin (I kid you not). The barman suggested having it over ice was the best way to indulge and thus I did. It did taste slightly of tea, and of gin, but I doubt I’ll be rushing back…because there is a reason that gin and tonic has been around for a long time…tried and tested is often best.
“Mother’s ruin” is another historic name for gin…I wonder if the latest craze will ruin more mothers in the modern era…perhaps not if it retains a boutique price.
There are few things, for me at least, quite so quintessentially English as a lovely country pub. A place for the local community to meet, somewhere for passers-by to visit and meet the locals (and maybe make new friends), somewhere to engage in small talk about the world outside, somewhere with a real sense of history; and somewhere to delight in good British real ale!
It is fair to say that in my 3.5 weeks of UK travel I visited my fair share of good country pubs and here are some beautiful photos of some of them…and a nice pint of Tribute and a pack of Scampi Fries!
After nearly 3.5 years away from my native shores, I recently returned for a 3.5 week trip. Everyone in a similar situation who I had spoken to before expressed their dislike of taking a trip back to the UK and the constant travelling round visiting family and friends, they related their blatant dislike of the country, its weather, big population, aspects of its culture and the places.
The media (doom-mongering muppets that they are) is constantly painting the UK in various shades of doom and gloom following Brexit, the various terrorist attrocities and the recent general election…so how did I find it?
Well, the following series of posts will delve in further detail but let me just say this, those of whom I spoke earlier must either visit bad places, have dubious friends and family, really dislike their homeland or just generally be miserable because I had a fantastic holiday! And as for the media…well as usual, if you look beneath the surface, you generally find that the truth is rather different.
Here is just one photograph to illustrate the delight of the UK…the history!
Just to the south of the Coromandel Peninsula, on the main road towards Tauranga and Gisborne on New Zealand’s North Island, lies the Karangahake Gorge, a former area of gold mining. In many ways it is a relief that this practice doesn’t occur in such a beautiful place any more, along with all of the destruction and dubious chemical processes it brings but it does make for a fascinating place to walk (including in some of the old tunnels so make sure you take a torch) and witness abandoned engineering which in many ways looks like fortification.
I got an impression of what the world might look like one day after humanity has perished and forest reclaims land for its own. Interesting. I do wonder why it is that we hold gold in such high regard?