I’m part of a Facebook group for Bloggers run by Lorna from the Gin and Lemonade blog, who gives us writing prompts. The idea is that a bunch of you writes on a topic, and then you can see what the others wrote on the same topic.
I can get behind the idea of writing prompts – more than something like tags, which unless done really well, can feel a bit forced and dare I say pointless?
So, this week’s (or actually I think it’s last week’s prompt but I’m late) was How far have you travelled from home?
Before I could think about that, my first question was “what is home?” because I think this will be different for different people.
My home has always been an in-the-moment thing. The place I was living? That was the place I made my home. Somewhere to get away from it all. Somewhere to shut the door and know it was my space, or the space I shared with people I care about.
So for me right now, that’s the place where I live with my partner. It’s not where I was born, or where I was brought up, but it’s very much home. Unless we move somewhere else, and then I’ll make that place home.
Maybe this fluid connection to home has something to do with the fact that the house where I grew up was sold when my Granddad died and my Nan down-sized. I think people whose home where they grew up is still somewhere they can pop into from time to time, still have a kind of temporary connection to that home as well, but for me, it’s not a thing!
So, how far have I travelled? I didn’t actually know the answer to this as the crow flies, so I spent time asking Siri “How far is it from …. To ….?” So she could do the maths for me! Nothing like a bit of outsourcing for those tasks that you don’t love!
Anyway, she reliably informed me that the farthest I’ve been from home was my trip to Cuba.
That was a long time ago.
I had a real travelling bug in my 20s. Now I’ve grown up, settled down, we’ve bought a house and travelling is not high on our list of priorities. So much so that it gets kind of annoying when every time I have a week off, everyone seems to ask “where are you going?” Like you automatically have to be going somewhere every time you have some time off. But I digress…
Cuba was actually a really good couple of weeks. I went with a company called Traveleyes, which makes it possible for blind people to travel independently. Sighted travellers pay a bit less, and they act as guides for visually impaired people. I wrote more about the concept when I interviewed some sighted guides who had been on Traveleyes holidays.
Before this time, many of my trips abroad had been to German-speaking countries, and the language barrier was really a thing for me. Not in a practical sense – we got the food we wanted, had an English-speaking guide, and in the hotels people spoke English. But you couldn’t just have a chat to local people unless you spoke Spanish – which I didn’t! Also, the guy whom I was strapped to when we did the tandem sky-dive didn’t speak English. We’d had the safety briefing beforehand, but I couldn’t chat to him on the way down! I was younger and less risk-averse then! I probably wouldn’t do it now, but was glad to have had the opportunity. I preferred the floating down to Earth bit with the parachute open, rather than the crashing down to Earth bit, with the air rushing up at you like a massive hairdryer. It was Cuba, so the air was warm!
I’m still grateful to the friend who didn’t dive (I was the only girl) and who swapped out her shorts for my skirt. That would have been bad to have it flapping round my neck, especially as there was a video!
Anyway, we did have someone in the group who spoke Spanish, and one day he and I broke away from the group. You weren’t really meant to – never mind. We ended up in a street off the tourist trail – we probably weren’t meant to do that either – where we drank coffee with some people in their home. The guy that I was with acted as an interpreter and so we could get to know a bit more about the family, their lives and hopes.
That was cool. For me, visiting places isn’t just about the things you can do as a tourist. It’s about the people. You can’t always really talk to people when you’re surrounded by a load of other tourists, but fortunately we managed it that day. Possibly helped by the enormous grass-woven lizard that I’d bought and that was nearly as tall as me. I’m not very tall, but that was one big lizard! He was definitely a good starting point for conversations.
Other impressions from that time were swimming with dolphins, touching a baby crocodile, the intense humidity, dancing on the beach, the crazy amount of rum that went into each cocktail, the musicians, the very late nights, and the couple of days when the local water didn’t agree with any of us!
It was fun! I had the chance to do things that I’ll probably never get to do again! It’s definitely an interesting place to go, especially if you take some time to read a bit about the history beforehand. Of course you don’t have to do that – you could just go to enjoy the beaches, but it’s part of my trying to understand local culture, society and politics. Even on holiday I think that’s still important. Not because I have to, but because I think people are interesting.
So that’s the farthest I’ve been from home.
Maybe one day I’ll go further. When S goes on longer business trips, I sometimes accompany him. I work when he’s working, and then we explore the place together.
But the desire and need to travel is not as strong as it was when I was younger, so who knows!
How far have you travelled from home? Let me know in the comments!
More from Unseen Beauty
If you’d like to get my catch-up emails, usually once a week, you can sign up using this form.
The emails contain news of my new posts, other things that I’ve enjoyed (podcasts, posts from other bloggers, interesting articles etc), and any UK shopping information that I think my readers might like.
Don’t forget that the Autumn giveaway is open until 7th October. Click here if you want to see what you can win and how to enter.