I was recently asked “why do you visit England EVERY YEAR?”
I caught myself before I blurted out the very unkind thought that formed in my head. It wasn’t the first time I’d been asked this question, though it was the first time it had been asked in such a childish tone.
I ask myself that very question each time I sit down and plan out my annual vacation. I feel it is time to answer this question and tell you the reasons why.
Emotional Attachment is the first reason that came to mind. My emotional attachment to England isn’t rooted in ancestry or family. Honestly, my attachment to England is because of the wonderful and lifelong friends I made when I was stationed at Royal Air Force Mildenhall.
I was bullied throughout my childhood, so I didn’t have many friends, (actually I don’t think I had any friends). Heck, I was even bullied during my Air Force service, although until recently this phenomenon was affectionately called “paying dues.”
When I met my English mates, they treated me as a human being. A human being who was smart, talented and strong. I was someone they cared about and I came to care deeply for them too — then and now.
Life has taken us down different paths and thus we don’t always get together for a proper reunion, but I made my friends and myself a promise before I departed for my next military assignment — as long as I have the ability to do so, I will make an annual pilgrimage to the Land of Hope and Glory.
And one of my friends never fails to meet me at our favorite pub to “catch up.”
History is another reason I visit every year. I’m a Anglophile and love British history. I’m currently reading Jane Ridley’s The Heir Apparent: A Life of Edward VII, the Playboy Prince. I love reading about Henry VIII or “The Cousins War,” then traveling to locations where the events I read about took place. It’s amazing to walk down a street knowing some important event in the history of the world happened on the very spot you’re standing on.
During a visit a recent visit, I visited the Kirkstone Pass Inn, which was opened in 1496. That’s 280 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed. That’s so cool.
Wow! I still have a lifetime of history to discover!
Familiarity is the third reason I visited England. With familiarity comes a certain relaxation and peace of mine. My vacation usually start or end in England. Although I’ve traveled to many fabulous lands, I admit to being a little afraid of travelling solo, especially when visiting a country for the first time. Just being in a familiar place eases anxiety and calms the nerves before I set off to a new country. Vacationing in England also helps balance things if my vacation in other locations wasn’t exactly joyous or as smooth as planned.
The next reason is more travel-related than the others. Or I should say it’s more Financially-related. England/London is an international hub; a gateway to Europe. It serves as my launchpad to the continent. From where I live in the heartland of the U.S.A., there are usually two or three flights to London a day. Plus it is a cheaper round-trip ticket to London than to Italy or Greece.
Special Note: Dublin is gaining momentum to becoming my new hub based on key factors including ticket prices, availability of flights, and reasonably-priced hotels. Another outstanding factor is the fact you can clear U.S. Customs before leaving Dublin. If you ever stood in a customs line upon arrival in the U.S.A., trust me you’ll be booking your return flights through Dublin every time you go to Europe. Here’s a list of Preclearance Locations. Regardless of if Dublin becomes my new hub, I’ll still end up in England one way or another.
In conclusion, England always affords me the relaxation and peace I look for during my vacation. I’ve made lifelong friends and have always found something to satisfy my historic curiosity and love for the theatre.
I’ve read many different “expert” opinions on why people return to the same places over and over again. And I’ve read why people shouldn’t visit a location more than once. For the most part, I agree with the opinions.
Nevertheless, I will visit England every year as long as I have the ability to do so.
For me, England isn’t a vacation destination anymore. It’s my second home!
As always …
HAVE PASSPORT, WILL TRAVEL