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Whilst many students were jetting off for exotic holidays or cultural city breaks, I decided to spend most of my summer in an only marginally-less-damp-than-usual Lancaster.
And I probably had one of the best summers ever.
After somehow finding myself an internship based in Stockport, and making the crazy decision to commute three hours by train every day, I found myself in a ghost town. Lancaster needs its students.
Even though the first couple of weeks were strange, as I tried to get used to living alone without friends or family nearby, once I’d settled into a routine at work (at an international hotel design magazine), continued to volunteer at Oxfam and made new friends who were also living in Lancaster, I soon found that maybe staying at “home” wasn’t all that bad.
That being said, I would love to travel the world. To sit on a beach somewhere were the sun is guaranteed or experience a way of life I’ve never known before. If you gave me a few thousand pounds and a passport, you’d probably never see me again.
But I also think there is something to be said for holidaying at home.
I spent my summer exploring the Lake District, one of the reasons I chose to come to Lancaster University. And it’s so easy to get to! There’s a very convenient bus ticket for £10.80 which takes you wherever and on however many buses you want in the Lakes, and even covers all the way to Newcastle! I’d say that was a bargain – despite the back ache from sitting on a bus for 8 hours or more… that is, if Newcastle calls.
I also had time to discover a bit more around Lancaster itself. The canal proves a beautiful walk from which you can detour to Aldcliffe and the River Lune, where the River Lune Millennium Park provides a cycle/footpath and sculpture trail along its banks. Williamson Park is a perfect place for a picnic, and there is a lovely cycle/footpath near the castle which leads to the ruins of a Roman Bath.
This summer gave me a whole new sense of freedom and appreciation for the country we live in and the area around our university home.
I was still able to see friends and work in Oxfam Books and Music, which, as a self-confessed bookworm, I love, whilst discovering a part of the world I haven’t fully explored before. You don’t quite get the taste of India or the turquoise oceans of the Med, or even the bars and clubs of Magaluf… Hustle just doesn’t quite compare. But a holiday at home can, in some ways, be so much more fulfilling.
Sometimes, we are so desperate to disappear to another country for a holiday – sick of the British weather – without considering what we may be missing out on. We have a beautiful country with a long history, some pretty amazing cities – let’s not forget the nightlife – and plenty of attractions.
I can’t say I’m an expert on travelling abroad, having only been twice (Ireland doesn’t really count), yet I feel I got just as much enjoyment from the holidays spent camping in farmer’s fields, crabbing off Beaumaris peer, climbing the three peaks (admittedly over nine years) or simply playing Uno as the rain thundered on the roof of our tent.
And even though I would love to travel abroad in the future – I’m still holding out for that few thousand pounds – and would encourage anyone who wanted to, I think it’s good to appreciate the country which is ours, and travel it top to bottom.