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What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog begun in 2012 about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.

I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps.

Around 2018 I tried a new way of writing my family's and my own UK travel adventures. Britain is a brilliant place for a staycation, mini-break and day trips. It's also a fantastic place to explore so I've begun to write up reports of places that are easy to reach by public transport. And when they are not that easy to reach I'll offer some tips on how to get there.

See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Call it a pilgrimage not a journey

This blog is about family travel around the world without leaving the UK. Impossible? No. This post gives a few tips on why we take a break on a long journey. Words from Nicola Baird (see www.nicolabaird.com for more info about my books and blogs).

A beautiful place for a walk, an opportunity to think or just a lull on a long journey?
In my lifetime I've met people who've been to Mecca (in Saudi Arabia) and even a man who walked across India. All these journeys were inspired by God. But whatever your belief system a good walk and a cup of tea can help deal with problems. I say this because I've walked across England twice by foot, once via the Coast to Coast route of Alfred Wainwright and once along the Hadrian's Wall border a bit further north.

Walking these long routes weren't hard - and has the fabulous knock-on satisfaction of having done something to be really proud about. As i walked it didn't feel like that. Most of the time I was either struggling with large damp OS maps or deciding if I could keep going for another 20 minutes before eating my sandwiches. Quite clearly I lack a spiritual gene. As do most car drivers....

It's rare that I take a long drive in a car but at the weekend read a piece in the Saturday Guardian (12 July 2014) which charted the many pleasures off the M6 - starting at Birmingham and heading up to Carlisle - which would be ideal for 4-wheel pilgrims. This is a long route, and one that I've done many times on the train. But if you like to drive (rather than read or stare out of a train window) then it turns out there are loads of wonderful stop offs along the route.

Here's the article link, motorway breaks near the M6.

One of my favourite places for recovering after a journey is mentioned in the article. It is the turf-covered Rheged Centre just near Penrith (off junction 40) which mixes a shopping centre with displays telling the story of the Lake District. - which includes volcanoes, legend, Romans and the Romantic poets (well Wordsworth). Have a look at the Lake District National Park site for more detailed info here. At Rheged there is also the opportunity to make a clay pot - and as I remember from a very wet summer camping trip there are lovely loos, wifi and a good place to sit and nurse a pot of tea.

My conclusion: nothing puts you closer to happy satisfaction than a hot drink after a long day on the road. Perhaps that's a modern take on the pilgrimage?

Over to you?
What helps you find the moment? Does travelling help?

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