I have nearly always lived in the south of England so I feel like I have quite a boring voice. There’s no distinctive Scouse twang or Geordie lilt. There is nothing that sets me apart from the people that I work and live with; not vocally anyway.
However, there was a year and a half back in the early naughties when I lived in South Africa, and for once in my life, I was different. I remember working in a bar and all of the other waitresses would ask me to say ‘please can I have a glass of water’ over and over.
They would then laugh and look at me wide eyed, as though I had just landed from a new planet. It was a very strange experience, but one that I actually quite liked.
I really enjoyed feeling different. I liked it when customers stopped me and asked me where I was from and then seemed impressed. Back then, everyone wanted a British passport so it was quite the magnet for South African boys!
I don’t understand why people would ever get upset about their differences and I keep thinking that maybe I should move up north so that I can sound ‘dead posh’. Maybe I’m just craving some attention after being stuck in a tiny radius for so long.
For me, accents are the most amazing thing and we are so lucky to have such varying accents within the UK. I just miss the travels within my country and hearing all the lovely different people. One day I dream of meeting a Scottish person in their natural habitat. Wouldn’t that be nice?
I spent two hours dropping the little man with no face
Into various places around the world, places I’d been
With parents when I was small, and those I’d been to
On my own. Where I’d done bad things, kissed the boys
And made them cry. Where I got drunk and vomited
Into a flower pot. Where I disappeared into a dark alley
Holding the hand of an older boy. You can’t see
Down those alleys on Google Maps, but you can imagine
What has happened in their inky depths,
As drunken girls and boys come staggering forth
Laughing and looking forward to moving on,
Something that I never managed. Somehow I’m still stuck
There in Florida Road, aged twenty, wishing I was old.
Does anyone else sometimes go travelling the world on Google Maps? The other day I spent about an hour wandering up and down Florida Road in Durban, South Africa. I don’t know why I had the sudden urge to go back there, but I did. And I don’t even know if it made me feel all that good.
It certainly made me feel something. There was a pang, deep inside. I felt like I missed that place, but also felt a little like I had just been dropped back into my worst nightmare.
I was last there when I was twenty which is almost half a life time ago. I met my husband there and I spent several minutes just staring at that spot where we had our first conversation.
Perhaps, I am just searching for that nostalgic feeling, or to understand how my life got to where it is. I sometimes feel like that spot is where lightning struck; it is where my life changed. And sometimes I think it was for the best, and sometimes for the worst.
I guess we will only ever find out the answers once we’re at the end of our journey. In the meantime, I can keep pondering it as I travel the world from the comfort of my sofa. Or maybe I’ll buy a ticket somewhere and go start a new adventure?
I’m getting more and more into the laptop travelling hole. I’d even say that I am craving a day trip, never mind a weekend away. Just sitting and looking at the pictures reminds me how lucky I am to live where I do.
Both Bath and Oxford are on my bucket list and both of them are within an hour’s drive. When some of these lockdown rules are loosened up, I could go there with no planning. I can’t understand why I have never done these things before.
These cities are steeped in history and they’re straight out of a Harry Potter scene. I think in Oxford, I would need to wear my Hufflepuff gowns and carry a wand.
I guess what I’m saying for the umpteenth time is that this virus has probably changed us all a bit. I’m still a bit of a loner and I won’t be out at every party there is once things are better. But I will do things differently. I think we all probably will.
I’m dying to go on a weekend mini break to a European city. As soon as this is over, I am going to book a night or two in Barcelona and I will be the most touristy tourist of them all.
I’m looking forward to drinking perfect cappuccinos and taking photos of salads. I’ll walk into people because I’m too busy looking at my map or my tourist guide. I’ll try and communicate with the local in really bad Spanish. I’ll barely sleep because I want to pack everything in to two short days.
It will be glorious when we can travel again. I’ve never been much of a traveller and I normally feel homesick after a few days so I don’t fancy two weeks in Majorca. But short little breaks in the places that I always wish I’d been are going to happen.
I have heard so many people saying that ‘you must travel’. And to an extent, I agree. It is great to learn about other cultures and see what else the world has to offer them.
But this idea that without going to far flung countries, you’re a bit thick, a bit uncultured, that you don’t really care. I find that line of thinking makes me feel a bit sick.
Most of the people who say this kind of thing are quite well off and can afford to have a gap year or a career break. Which is great for them, but not everyone has that luxury.
My own view is that God blessed us all with our own section of the world. I live in the UK and we have such a beautiful and varied landscape that it would be impossible to explore it all in a lifetime.
Why would I need to go to another country, with all of this beauty right on my doorstep?
I’ve done a bit of travelling myself, so I must repeat that I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I just think that we shouldn’t make people feel like they’re uncultured and uneducated because they have no plans to travel.
Besides, the current situation might put an end to a lot of travelling anyway. And then we have the environment to think about. Maybe, the lowly staycation is going to become much more popular again.
Now excuse me while I pack my bags for a stay at Butlins.
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