I was recently blessed with the opportunity to travel to London with my husband. We knew he would be very busy during the trip so I invited along my aunt, my son and his girlfriend who had never traveled outside of our country. I was excited to spend time with my aunt who lives away and knew she would be a great travel companion. At the same time I felt this resistance to going, so much to do, so many things I need to maintain at home, etc. This was almost the best teaser for my brain to realize how much I actually did need to go travel. It was clear that I was stuck in the mud of my daily routine. Even packing fought me with resistance, my signal to push on through and get going on an adventure. To London we went!
Our journey went well and soon enough there we were. I had completely indulged in taking a large suitcase and I was dreading the moments of lugging that thing around until we reached our rented apartment. Using techniques of being a great representative for others so I can remove my own experience, I pressed on with my ridiculous suitcase with ease. The underground subway, The Tube, presented us with only a single staircase of 20 steps and the rest was escalators and elevators. Our path to our destination was clearing its way.
My husband did an astounding job finding a rental apartment in what I would consider as a traveler one of the best locations. We were all so happy with the extra space to spend ten days together. Right away we unpacked our luggage and settled into our adventure. I had contacted a food farmer that I follow on Instagram about visiting his farm before I left the states. He was generous at hosting my aunt and I and we looked forward to the little journey out to the country. The maps app on my phone set us up with all the stops and information we would need. (If you worry about traveling and how to find places, be reassured this is so simple.) Our travel companions, my son and his girlfriend, were adjusting to jet lag and my aunt and I were off to the countryside.
We were traveling on a Sunday. After two tubes rides and jumping in the “railway” we were dropped into the very small town of Castle Cary. Nothing was open, it was Sunday. We quickly mapped out our journey on foot to the farm and tried to see if we could catch a tea or coffee on the way. Did I mention we were in a small town and it was a Sunday? Soon we found ourselves giving up on any chance of finding coffee or tea, or anything warming for that manner. On to Charles Dowding’s farm. The walk on foot to find this farm was such a treat. We passed kids and families playing early morning soccer. Found a trailhead for a local walking sanctuary where a few people were just coming out of the trail with a huge nature filled heart and smile. It looked very enticing. Even the grass on the roadside was happy and vibrant. Into the very little town of Alhampton we went with great directions like, go past the little church and its three houses on the left. I love when I get directions like that. It means your in a small and special place. It caused me to reflect on my own directions to the farm which tend to be ”go over the bridge and we are first house on the right, red roof and two hoop houses”. You get reminded of how you share directional information and the unique nuances that are available to make it even more special when you succeed.
We turned in and found Charles mucking about in his shed. He was welcoming and it didn’t take long for him to warm up to these two crazy Americans suddenly on his docket. The first thing I noticed was that his soil was absolutely stunning. Can you have soil envy? I guess I can. Since the climate is so temperate there, no snow and lots of wonderful winter hardy vegetables were growing. It filled my heart and soul to just observe the life and vibrancy floating around the farm. Everything just wanted to grow. Lettuces, Brussels sprouts, chard, broccoli, etc. The land was so alive. We gently bothered him for coffee and he sat us down for a chat about the farm and his no dig approach. Offering us coffee, brussels sprouts, beans, dehydrated tomatoes and homemade bread from the barley grown all right there. We were in awe of the simplicity of the delightful things to taste. We checked the train schedule and mapped out our journey back. He offered us a ride in the car so we took him up on it considering it was really raining at this point. After a bit more chatting we went to get in the car and the battery was dead. I loved the fact that when you aren’t relying on your car for daily travel these things can go unnoticed. So he ran to the neighbors to borrow a ride for us. We were than treated to a short ride to the train by Gat, an 80 year old German man who lived next door. He was very friendly and wished that Charles had shared us. Haha. Now you see the side of living in a small town, not much going on. On to the train we went and enjoyed chatting about our experience. Thank you to my aunt for going on such a fun little journey with me.
This little journey out made me think of my own farm and what welcoming I offer when people arrive. What little things I can do to make the experience even more special? Things I can grow that create this little joy or spaces I can curate so someone will want to find themselves there with a smile and full heart that cant’ be removed. A reason to have the chickens, to share eggs, to grow French Lavendar for people to smell in astonishment, to create experiences like workshops so our members have community and a sense of taking part in something special, to share this amazing space of sanctuary because it is special. When we were first looking at this space to buy, the current owner at the time had built it. I knew that taking on stewardship of this place would be a responsibility, but I could feel the soul of the space just as I knew she could. She said to me at the time of purchase, “I know you will make this place really special maybe with a yoga retreat or something to share with others”. I know I have made her proud of this space. I hope someday she stops in to see it and sit a while in this magical land that I am now the steward of.
When you travel you are reminded of the importance of the environments you travel through. At least I would hope so. I’m sure there are people who travel and find the McDonalds on the corner to have something exactly like they would at home, maybe just to resolve homesickness I would hope. However, for you reader, I encourage you to go see things so you can have respect for different approaches to how people live so that you can realize how you have intentionally curated your own life. That its done with true intention and not just a walk through with blinders on. Travel so that you see things that are different and get inspired to see what is the same. We are all the same, we really are at the heart of it all. We want to be loved, we want to feel safe, we want to laugh and connect with other and we want shelter from the storms. Take time for it. It doesn’t need to be traveling a far distance. You can travel one street away and take it all in with fresh eyes. You might meet a neighbor you haven’t and strike up a new friendship that fills your soul.
Thanks for reading.