Saturday, 25 July 2015

The travellers hangover

What is this life if full of care we have no time to stand and stare
WH Davies

We have had many conversations recently about our travels which have had us thinking about the after effects of what we did. Conversations between ourselves also start with ‘where was it/do you remember/this reminds me of…’ quite often. With the commemorations of Waterloo come memories of the scars left on the Iberian peninsular by the long years of the fighting, commemorations of Napolean being brought to the Sound take us back to hot days in La Rochelle. Other times we find ourselves enthusiastically sharing our adventures in answer to other peoples questions.

Back at the beginning, at Topsham in 2011

Before we set out, like many others, we had to consider what the long term effects on all of us could be. This was professional, educational, personal, social; in fact pretty much every area of our life.

Introducing new foods to your normal diet, greater open mindedness and environmental awareness are recognised as effects of travelling. In addition, family groups are more likely to want to spend more time together on returning (survey by TripBarometer). A hangover from our travels is the recognition of what is most important to us. Time together as a family was always important but we now value that time even more. We certainly enjoy foods that we had not previously encountered and living with the sea has made us very aware of the rhythm of nature.

Home sweet home

Handing the children’s education back to school was a big thing for us. There were times when we were concerned about the effect of taking them away from formal education. Last week we clapped proudly at the primary schools achievement evening as the two youngest deckhands received certificates for the work they have put in this year. If anything (for all 3 of them) their application to learning and their desire for knowledge is stronger than ever.

Another study in a psychiatric journal studied college students and found that on returning they were more open to new ideas and had a wider perspective on life making them more emotionally stable. Certainly we now judge fear in comparison to sailing around Portland Bill, confidence against setting off to cross Biscay and stamina against 72 hours short-handed sailing.


We also have a different view on England since returning. Everything seems familiar but slightly different. It really is a very green country and it is certainly more overcrowded than we remembered. Travelling has given us a different perspective on many things including a broader understanding of cultural differences. Not only from the places we have been to but also the connections we have made.
England; green and pleasant land

For the first year back we never ran out of tea bags. As soon as the box was half empty it would be replaced. Definitely a hangover of running out of ‘British’ tea bags when we were in France.

We itch to move again sometime in the future. We long to experience more places and feel the coruscating sea flowing under the bows again. At the moment however there are good reasons for staying put for a few years. Since we have been back so much has changed but our travels certainly left their imprint on our lives.

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