Before we parted ways in England last week (insert crying emoji here) our friend Steve offered to write another blog post for us. (Read his other posts here, and here) He wanted to share his perspective on our time together and what traveling his own country with outsiders has taught him! I thought that sounded like an awesome topic (and I'm not mad that it gives me a day off from writing) so read on to hear from Steve!
Travelling is one of my passions. If I’m not out exploring then I’m browsing the internet reading of other peoples adventures, just like those of Joel & Bethany. Little did I know when I invited them to join me on a trip to the coast all those months ago that I’d become part of that adventure and I’d be leaving with two true friends.
I first met Joel & Bethany when they visited Nicholaston House in Wales back in October. I was volunteering as a gardener that day in the retreat centre’s grounds. I love chatting with the guests and hearing people’s stories. I’d just returned from a trip to the USA which had coincidentally involved crisscrossing Iowa, we naturally got into a conversation about travel. Being a nice sunny day I offered to take them out to visit Worms Head after my shift, a nearby scenic area. What followed was an exciting adventure touring Wales, England & Scotland with them, making memories and building friendships along the way. (I’m writing this trusting that Bethany will now insert some links to some of our adventures so you can read about them if you’re new to their blog.....) [Thanks Steve! Day 1 of our road trip is here, and then it will link you through to a post from each day!]
One of the joys of showing people around your own country is seeing it from a new perspective, one you never really see as a local. Growing up somewhere, living and working there it can be easy to overlook the interest and beauty a place can hold. Often things are hidden in plain sight when you see them every day, I’d never really appreciated the number of castles in my own town for example! Where would you take someone visiting your town? Finding myself in a position of answering that very question revealed some very interesting places to visit right on my doorstep.
Sharing our cultures has been fascinating as well. I like to think I’m well travelled in the USA, but there’s so much that I’ve learned about both British and American lifestyles that comes from spending time together and travelling together. I’ve certainly realised that the British stereotype of drinking tea is true, but who knew that the sheer volume of carbs we consume here is so unique. We’ve had many conversations that have gone along the lines of, “so... do you have school mascots here”, or, “what age can you drive there.”
Admittedly we often strayed into the messy world of politics and religion but this did provide some very interesting and thought-provoking topics, from the UK’s own current political mess to topics about the Methodist Church. In fact, visiting the Methodist museum in Bristol was a real highlight for me. I’ve worked in Bristol and spent a lot of time there but never even been to this museum, I admit to not even realising it was there. It was fascinating to learn about this significant site with Bethany, a Methodist minister! What an honour.
It’s also true that we are two nations divided by a common language. I’ve loved our conversations about linguistic differences between the British & American dialects. Some words are well-known - biscuits/cookies, football/soccer ect, it’s the random words and confusion that arose in the most unexpected places that I found most entertaining. I’ll still debate to this day that Lasagne does not contain noodles and food goes in the stove, not on it (in the UK ‘stove’, the top is called a ‘hob’). There have been regular moments of blank looks from one side or another when a phrase or joke has unexpectedly not translated. Again here is an unashamed plug for a past blog post for you to read on this subject!
All good things come to an end of course. Living the nomadic lifestyle Joel & Bethany have now started their next chapter in France. I for one am so honoured to have been able to have shared in some of their adventures here in the UK. I’m so excited to read about the next steps in their journey, who knows I may be visiting them along the way!
If you are reading this and happen to bump into them, feed them cheese, show them around and accept their invitation to play Dominion, you won’t be sorry. So for now I’ll bid you bon voyage and bienvenue en France. Many more adventures await and I can’t wait to read about them here.