You’d be right in questioning why I’ve decided to do this, why I’ve decided to do what Portillo did in three years in a week.
I suppose there are a number of reasons, the first of which is the obvious ‘it’s a holiday’; it’s the chance to spend a week doing something that most certainly is not work (and there’s been a bit too much of that this year). The second would be that I’ve never done anything like this before, at least not in this country, and that’s something I’ve wanted to correct for a while.
Those of you who know me well will know that I’ve spent a fair amount of time travelling round North America in the past half-decade. In those years I’ve managed to visit thirty-seven of the fifty states and a fair few of the Canadian provinces. That was the original plan for this week off: travel around another four or five states and get the tally up into the forties. That was still the plan around three weeks ago…but there was something niggling at me.
Wouldn’t it be a bit strange if I managed to visit all of the continental United States while there were still so many places in the UK that I hadn’t seen? Shouldn’t I see my own country first before heading off to explore others?
You may think this is a bit dramatic but, prepare to be shocked. In no particular order, here is a list of places in the UK that I have never visited:
The Scottish Highlands
Pretty much all of South Wales
The North East
The very North of Wales
The East Coast
A fair chunk of the South Devon Coast
Shocking, isn’t it?
I’ll admit that I have been through a few of the cities above before, but I’ve never actually visited them.
How can this be? How can I have got to age thirty having never been to any of those places? One word: London.
Living in the capital for the first eighteen years of my life meant that I didn’t really see much else of the country. When you live in London, and all your relatives and friends do too, why would you go anywhere else? We didn’t do extravagant holidays and, until I was seven or so, the farthest I’d be away from London was Hastings, on the south coast (and trust me, that seemed like a long way!). Our annual holiday to Wales started, which at least let me see some of the midlands from a car window, but since then if you drew a triangle between London, Nottingham and Tywyn, that would encapsulate 80%of the travel I’ve done the UK.
When at university I spent the holidays either in Wales or travelling round France. When I started to earn a wage it was the US.
So now is the time to put some of that right, and see what the UK has to offer. Over the next week I intend to travel the length and breadth of this country and hopefully not get stranded in too many places along the way.
Let’s see what’s out there…