I get so excited about overseas travel I never really think much about spending time doing the same here in the UK.
One of the biggest bars is the lack of foreignness – one of my favourite bits of travel is seeing how even the most mundane things are different in other countries, which makes just walking up and down the street a new experience. Whereas I know if I go anywhere in England I’ll get the same shops, the same signs, people dressed in the same familiar way.
And then there’s the landscape – I’ve spent most of my time living in the South & East of England, where the hills, even at their hilliest, are best described as ‘gentle’ or ‘rolling’. All very pretty, and enough to move some people to poetry, but not for me – I much prefer a more dramatic landscape.
My weekend in Wales has made me think I’ve perhaps been a little harsh on my homeland: the mountains of Snowdonia may be piffling by global standards (Snowdon itself is just over 1000m) but they are still suitably bleak and imposing, and the gale-force winds and horizontal rain made getting to the summit feel like more of an expedition too.
There’s even a bit of foreignness – all the signs are of course in Welsh, which I think can easily give any Eastern European tongue a run for its money in terms of unpronounceability and vowellessness.
So I think I need to spend more time exploring the UK before I go away. Next stop Scotland?