The Rookie Mistake

After 11 relatively peaceful days back in the UK I made a huge mistake; I went for a walk in the countryside surrounding my hometown. I know you are now expecting to see pictures of me in hospital having been gored by a large bull or shot by a farmer for trespassing on his land and I agree it would have made a better blog post but none of that happened. The mistake was merely going for a walk on a gorgeous spring evening; I’d forgotten how beautiful it was here and suddenly I find myself missing my homeland a lot more than I had before. I have 4 days left now until I fly back to my far warmer and busier new home in Boston and I’m now rather less keen to leave.

I miss views like this in every direction
I miss views like this in every direction

It was one of those evenings when everything seemed perfect. The flower filled fields, a vivid blue sky and gently rolling hills as far as the eye could see. The landscape was painted the kind of vivid emerald green that you normally only see in paintings inside Irish pubs and the only noise I could hear was birdsong and the gentle bleating of livestock. There are a lot of cows in Devon and even the inevitable moment when I draped my trainers in fresh cow dung because I wasn’t looking was shrugged off easily. Until I got in the car that was and I had to open every single window because that smell can ruin a journey faster than a hitchhiker who hasn’t bathed for a month.

There aren't many train journeys with better views
There aren’t many train journeys with better views

New England is beautiful, don’t get me wrong but I miss the simple rural beauty that I left behind in my corner of England. I honestly don’t think that there are many places more beautiful on earth. I know that local pride is a powerful thing; I’ve even met someone who was from Birmingham who loved his awful wasteland of a city but take my word for it, Devon is beautiful. I miss the rolling hills, the wild moorland and the country pubs where you can reward yourself after a walk with a cold drink or five. Even the narrow roads that are only wide enough for one car where you get stuck for 5 hours behind a tractor going 7 mph become charming when you are homesick.

My favourite place for a walk
My favourite place for a walk

I think the thing to take from this is the lesson that you shouldn’t take anything for granted. For nearly 30 years I lived in one of the most beautiful parts of the UK, surrounded by beautiful countryside with the sea rarely more than 10 miles away and I didn’t fully appreciate it until I left. There are still places less than 25 miles away from my hometown that I kick myself for never having visited. I’m going to make it my mission to enjoy the best that New England has to offer (and it does have a lot to offer) because who knows one day I might leave there too and I might even feel the same way about New England as I do about Devon.

I missed the buildings too; here is Exeter Cathedral in my hometown
I missed the buildings too; here is Exeter Cathedral in my hometown
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19 thoughts on “The Rookie Mistake

  1. Stunning photos of what is clearly beautiful countryside! I can see why you would be heartsick to leave that. Life led you to New England for a reason, though, so as you said take full advantage of your time there. Safe travels back to the States!

  2. Tom, I’m glad you enjoyed your brief return to the South West. I guess, judging from Alba’s and your comments, that I’m the lucky one! Don’t worry I don’t take it for granted living here; I’ve travelled all over and still love coming back! I’m not saying that it’s better than anywhere else, just special. I’ll make sure I think of you as I tour around on my Harley!
    Any requests for photo locations? πŸ™‚

  3. So true! I have a completely different perspective of my home (Hawai`i) now that I’ve lived somewhere else.

    But I think it’s for the better – there’s a whole world out there, and what would we be if we didn’t see any of it but the place we were born and raised in?

    1. Oh I’m jealous, I’d love to visit Hawaii, must have been awesome living there! I agree with you though, it’s definitely good to have lived more than one place πŸ™‚

  4. As someone who’s spent a lot of time holidaying in Devon, I totally understand what you mean. The countryside is beautiful, especially when you’ve lived in a city for a long time. The rolling hills and rocky sand can really break your heart. That is until you get stuck behind a tractor on one of those long windy paths for three hours and decide that buses on main roads where the best invention in the world!

    1. The funniest thing about the tractors is when you are in a city like Exeter or Plymouth and there are still tractors on the streets! But I don’t mind as long as they stay away from the roads to the beaches πŸ™‚

  5. What gorgeous shots! Many, many years ago, I was speeding around Europe on a BritRail pass and stayed at the hostels in Exeter and Plymouth for one night each. (Why do we speed around so foolishly when we are young and have all the time in the world?) Yet even having had only that brief glimpse of the area almost 30 years ago, your photo of Exeter Cathedral brought back all the memories of having been there. It’s a really lovely place.

  6. Just came to this post after seeing your most recent one earlier this evening. I love the West Country and I can’t imagine ever leaving now. Devon will always have a special place in my heart, but so will Somerset for the time I spent there and now so will Cornwall.

    In the last couple of months, we’ve taken mini breaks to both areas. I finally took Cat to Dunster for my birthday and across Exmoor. It made me realise just how much I miss the area. Then we went to stay at Buckfastleigh on the edge of Dartmoor for her birthday. I specifically chose the route that took us right through the middle of the moor. Despite having seen that eastbound road from Tavistock through Two Bridges loads of times, it never fails to fill me with awe.

    There’s nowhere else quite like the southwest πŸ™‚

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