For me, falling in love with a new city or country is one of my favourite parts about travelling. Sometimes it hits you as soon as you leave the airport or train station. Sometimes it takes a few days, a week, or even a few months before the undeniable love comes rushing in. It makes it that much harder to leave when it comes time, knowing you’ll be leaving a piece of your heart behind.
Every so often I get these overwhelming moments of love and appreciation for this amazing country that I’ve been lucky enough to move to. I’m not completely sure how to describe it. I’d liken it to when you’re riding a roller coaster and just slip over the top of the biggest drop. My stomach swoops and I can’t control my smile and I’m happy for the rest of the day.
This has happened quite a few times since I moved to England;
Sometimes when I’m walking into town the sun is coming through the clouds just right and the carefully sectioned fields, winding patterns of houses, and rolling hills on the horizon are hazily illuminated. I have to stop and just take it in because it’s too beautiful to not pay attention.
The train to Plymouth goes by a harbour with hundreds of boats in it. Larger boats, smaller sail boats, older fishing boats, and flashy modern boats. The tracks are right beside the water, and as the train picks up speed going around a curve it passes by a sunken boat, partially submerged in the water but the rusting top half sticks out. It’s almost tipped over, but it’s there. Every time I pass it on a train I want to stop and paddle out to it and look at it up close. I want to know whose boat it was, why it sank, how long it’s been there, and if anyone else wonders these things when they see it.
I can’t predict the moments, but when they happen, they’re fantastic.
I had another stomach-swooping moment of England love recently. Michelle and I decided we needed a break from revision and essay writing and took the train to Dawlish, which is a quintessential British seaside town if I’ve ever seen one. After wandering through the sleepy Friday evening streets we found the only open takeaway shop and took our paper-wrapped fish & chips down to the water and watched the waves, letting the salty air refresh our minds.
I told her this might be the most British thing I had done to date, and she agreed. As we sat, listening to the water roll in and out, enjoying greasy chips, and avoiding the beady stares of the gulls who wanted to share our dinner, I knew that I made the right decision coming here. Sometimes it’s too easy for me to get caught up in the thrill of the travel and I forget that the simple, happy moments are the best ones.