I currently live in Cumbria, deep in the North West of England, it rains A LOT, and my house has been flooded three times in the last ten years. So, sometimes, life can be a bit shit. In fact I think this is how my love for travel begun – my desperation to get away from it all made me want to discover new places. So, you’d think I’d be happy that it’s actually my last summer here, and I kind of am in a way. But, playing on my mind is the shock of knowing that in September, my parents will be pursuing a life even further into the depths of the North, and across the border into Glasgow. They hope it will be both a welcome change and a revitalisation of their weekly routines, and so far with my mum working there in the week and coming home at weekends, for her, it has been. For me, despite often visiting it’s still incredibly daunting, but I have to admit, also strangely exciting.
Daunting because I’m going to uni in September, and coming back to a place which is totally in the unknown for me will be like nothing I have experienced before. I’m going to miss the simple things; like being able to go for a quick drink or 5 with my friends in the evenings – I’m really close to my mates and love spending time with them, they just about keep me sane; my grandparents are here so I can’t simply drive over to theirs in half an hour and see them; I know my way around where I live and where I’m going; I have a workplace where I can go from working in a café to kayak instructing in about 30 seconds; it’s just my childhood home. I sound negative here about all this, I guess it’s far too easy to dwell on it all when taking a plunge into the unknown. One thing I have learned through my 18 years on earth is that it’s vital to see the other side of the coin, even when you don’t necessarily want to.
BUT, it’s exciting because I can say I’m soon going to be returning from uni to a vibrant, upcoming city full of opportunity as well as haggis and all potential deep fried foods, and be surrounded by young people who actually vote Labour, even though a lot of them don’t have to care about tuition fees; there’s some great shopping (Glasgow was recently voted the 2nd best place for shopping in the UK) and amazing independent coffee shops to visit (I LOVE coffee); I can get around super easily using public transport; the list goes on. What I can say for sure, is there’s loads more going on than in Keswick, an often claustrophobic honeypot tourism market town full of retired Tory voters; and in Glasgow there will be so many job prospects for me when I’m done with uni – if my liver survives.
All of this produced an epiphany for me one morning (if that’s even the right word?). I had a majorly positive stop and think moment which was kind of twinned with travel. Why not experience things a little more closer to home for a bit? Why not value this last summer in my childhood home to its absolute potential instead of thinking about what I’m going to miss? Years of studying and getting into a routine got me complacent about how lucky I am to be in the Lake District. I mean, to do it justice, it’s just become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Before I wake up to a concrete jungle, I need to take advantage of views like this:
So, on my phone whilst partly enduring the 17 hour flight back from the Philippines (lots if thinking as well as sleeping time), as well as when passing time in monotonous pockets of daily life that sometimes seem to slow down to the pace of a tortoise climbing an uphill ice rink, I made a list – with the help of Google – of all the places I want to visit in the Lake District this summer. It has spectacular mountains with beautiful views, spectacular places to go for little effort, that offer incomparable tranquility and simply brilliant activities to do for beautiful prices: whether it’s kayaking, sailing, climbing a cliff, running past glistening lakes in the evening sun, feeling on top of the world on the summit of Scafell Pike, or simply wondering the miles of gorgeous meadows and endless meandering paths.
I can go for a run after work and I can be at the top of a peak in about 20 minutes, where I can shout at the top of my voice and not be heard for miles around (not that I’m saying I’m an at all decent runner here).
And, after all, in the grand scheme of things I’m only going to be an hour and a half train journey or a 2 hour drive away from here, and it’s not like Skype and Facetime don’t exist.
I’m going to try and write about all the places on my list over the next few months – one that I have actually already been to, it’s just I’m a student in England, so obviously trying to find the time to write anything while balancing working 25/8 (then I can somehow save to afford living at uni in Bristol/be able to travel) socialising, sleeping and eating can be challenging. As I have mentioned before, my creeping alcoholism and the continuous striking down of my immune system also takes its toll on precious writing time.