Seeing the World

Machu Picchu in Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru

I’ve been lucky to visit some amazing places over the years, with Peru, Iceland and Croatia standing out as highlights.  The sunset picture above was taken on a lovely sailing holiday to Croatia a couple of years back.  I loved telling my nephews and another friend recently about the geysir in Iceland too – an awesome display of nature.  Another highlight from a family holiday to the States was seeing an amazing electric storm, and many of the sights in Peru were pretty incredible as well. 

I had half planned a trip to celebrate submitting my PhD, since long holidays have been out of reach for quite some time.  However, my new job means while affording it may be bit easier, getting the time off for a more farflung adventure will prove more difficult.  I’m keen to go to India, which in my mind requires at least 3 weeks.  I was thinking about Easter, but now a few things have combined to make it more likely to be something for the following year.

Fingal's Cave, Staffa from the sea

Fingal's Cave, Staffa

If one of the main things I’m after in travelling is seeing beautiful and amazing scenery, I know that is possible much closer to home.  As well as the Malverns and Clent Hills nearby, I also love visiting the west coast of Scotland and found plenty to photograph and stare at in awe after some bargain train fares  [Birmingham to Glasgow to Oban to Edinburgh to Birmingham for under £40 total with super advance tickets this summer 🙂 ] The other main thing I travel for is to see culture, and my 16th consecutive visit to the Edinburgh festival meant I managed to pack in plenty of that as well.

When it comes to seeing the world though, if I open my eyes I find much of it is on my doorstep.  At a conservative guess I’d say there were people of at least 20 different ethnic backgrounds on my bus to work yesterday.  I passed churches, Sikh Gurdwaras, at least one mosque, a prison and a major hospital as well as shops selling food from a dazzling array of countries.  On my bus home there was a girl in a wheelchair as well as two mums with buggies, teenagers and older people.  The International Secondary School I pass draws students from over 30 nationalities, and I was surprised a few weeks back to see pupils boarding the bus with supervision from a kind of ‘bus bouncer’ – a guy in a fluorescent vest who checked passes, kept the rowdy kids in order and encouraged them to move further down inside the bus.  When I asked the girl next to me if this was a ‘bus bouncer’ she was a bit taken aback.  Apparently he was the headmaster.  That made me think I’d seen it all…

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