A Break From the Norm

Approximately 10 million people visit Snowdonia every year, so i hear. What i do know is a lot of people travel up from London, Birmingham or West from Manchester, Liverpool and Chester. Spending their weeks commuting through the city, the hustle and bustle of life everywhere, the cars, the smoke, the constant orange glow through the night, you can see why they do.

I understand it as i used to do it. I grew up in the city, moving to Birmingham when i was seven. For the last eighteen months (or thereabouts) that i was there, i even worked in the city centre; either driving or bussing in, seeing literally thousands of people every week. The calm and peace of the countryside is world’s apart.

But what would you do if you lived in that peaceful idyllic little haven? That’s the question i face quite regularly. As beautiful and wonderful as the hills i call home may well be, periodically, i need to leave – to charge the batteries in the same way as those 10 million people mentioned in the first paragraph.

As regular readers will know, this is normally to some different idyllic little haven, quite often abroad. Anybody reading for a while will know of my periodic pilgrimage to Fontainebleau, or my annual summer birthday trip. However, it’s not quite as easy as that a lot of the time.

Going off on jolly foreign holidays can get a bit expensive. While it is TOTALLY worth it, and i wouldn’t change it for the world, sometimes the fact is that i just can’t afford to go. This autumn, for example, i would normally sod off somewhere cool but for two reasons: firstly, i’m broke from this summer in Switzerland and secondly, Fredrik is coming to visit.

So i now find myself in Birmingham for a weekend break. The looks and comments i received at work when i told people of my weekend plans were much the same as i’ve seen before: bemused and confused as to why i’d chose to spend my spare time in the big smoke. The simple fact is that i miss it.

This is where i’m from, what i grew up with and what i know. The anonymity of a crowd, the people watching and midnight kebabs are all things i do miss. That’s not to say i’d change it back, move back to the city, but every now and again, it is refreshing to come back. I was last here for any length of time earlier this year, to work on the Land Rover, as this is home to my mechanic. His name is Dad.

And now I am due for a return. I arrived last night and today have been visiting family – my cousin Lindsay and her husband Rich, with their two beautiful little girls, who had visited last me last weekend but only for an hour, due to work and various commitments. Tomorrow meanwhile i will be going to town with my mum, not with anything in mind, (i’m broke remember) just a wander round to be around people and experience what i’ve been missing.

And that will probably be my fill. It doesn’t take much, and please don’t get me wrong: i’m not doing it to remind me why i left but instead, what i left. There is beauty in life everywhere; sometimes you need to leave to see it.

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