The More You Travel, The More You Appreciate Home

Travel is a wonderful way to broaden the mind, develop a fresh perspective and understand cultures that otherwise might remain alien to us. I guess most people will agree that seeing things first hand far outweighs anything that can be read in books or learned online. Travel has given me so many vivid memories and such a greater appreciation of other lifestyles that it has been integral to my education.

I have been lucky to travel extensively, visiting countries far flung and near. From the Caribbean, Asia and the Americas to the more familiar Europe and Australia, I have seen, heard and eaten things that I could only read about in my youth. I have just returned from three weeks in Peru. Travel has become more reasonable and countries have become more accessible, enabling us to satisfy our hunger for new adventures, and giving me chance to visit pandas in China, see gorillas in the Congo and hold koalas in Australia.

As well as the obvious enjoyment of seeing new places and experiencing new cultures, one of the greatest parts of travel is coming home. Wherever I go, however much I fall in love with an exciting new location, one thing remains: I long to return to my home in south east England. No matter how far I travel, I look forward to walking in the woods near my home, visiting the beaches or enjoying expansive views of impressive English countryside from high on Ditchling Beacon. No hotel can beat the feeling of collapsing onto my own bed and no wildlife can better the feeling of being greeted by my cats. Home is where the heart is, as the saying goes.

It has not always been that way. Many of the memorable holidays of my childhood were spent happily camping in England. I first travelled overseas when I was about eleven. Remember, Britain is an island so any foreign travel has to be overseas. A lot of my friends had been camping in France or on family holidays to the sunny Costas, but we preferred to holiday at home. The stunning southern coastline of Devon, Dorset and Cornwall played host to our family holidays, and we had just as good a time as my more travelled friends. Maybe even better. In the way that childhood memories are often viewed through rose tinted spectacles, those days were always sunny and long and the holidays stretched on for weeks.

The holidays would always start the same. I clearly remember helping my dad pack the car with all sorts of things that we might need during our fortnight away from home, plus a few things that we were quite unlikely to need, to be honest. Then, crammed in the back of the car with boxes of camping equipment, food and clothes to suit any conditions, we would head off at the crack of dawn so that we could be on the road before the traffic started. Unfortunately, we were not the only family to have such forward thinking and, by the time we hit the motorway south, we would inevitably head into a jam that would test the temper of my dad.

Of course, I was young and I could sleep in the back of the car. Then when I woke, the sun would be shining, home would be far behind and the carefree days of holiday would be stretched out in front of us. Everything felt warm back then and life had a idyllic golden tint. I would just sit back and listen to the radio or read one of the comics I had bought especially for holiday reading. Many of my favourite songs from that period, tunes I hold most fondly, are those that I heard while sat in the back of car and heading on holiday.

Memories of holidays with my parents are as clear today as if they were only yesterday and old photographs only bring the memories back even stronger. They showed that the simple pleasures are often the best, and the countryside nearby – wherever we live – is quite likely to be among our favourites. It is where we relax best, where we are most comfortable. It is where we call home.

Now that we are able to travel more widely, we still try to enjoy at least one long weekend on a break in Britain. The coast of Norfolk, the Cotswold hills or the many jewels of the south west, they are all points of most interest for us. Living where I do, in rolling green countryside and peaceful villages only miles from the seaside, with its small harbours, white cliffs and beaches, I am blessed with some of the best views just on my doorstep. When I go away, no matter how far I travel or how stunning the locations, I am always pleased to come home. Home is not just where the heart is, it is also where our memories and experiences are based. Remember that next time you travel.

Marcus Agar has been commissioned by Wannabe Magazine to write a series of observational reports. Click to read in Serbian or for an interview in English or Serbian.

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  1. Anonymous

    3 / 20 / 2012 1:32 am

    That is very nice. Unfortunately some of us have no good memories and no place to call our home.





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