Rugged Landscapes and the Home of Happy Memories - Welcome to Devon
The one perk of having a mother who was so petrified of flying through your formative years that she couldn't board a plane was that ever since I remember, we have had the most wonderful holidays on the UK's south coast.
When I scan my memories from childhood, I am greeted with visions filled with raucous laughter on an stunning English beach, playing in often icy-cold waters despite the balmy temperatures, eating Cornish pasties in quintessential seaside towns.
Every year it used to be a source of shame; that my family didn't jet off to Spain for our summer holidays, instead opting for domestic retreats that would frequently take double (if not triple) the amount of time to board the plane, fly across the Channel and holiday in the Dordouine for a week.
But now I relish in those happy memories, as this birthed my true love of the UK's picturesque landscapes. It was only on my travels further afield, visiting New Zealand a few years back, that I realised that I had travelled all this way to be gobsmacked by a beach that was a true likeness of it's English counterpart. Don't get me wrong, you don't get the same rugged, awe-inspiring landscapes of Queenstown or Mount Cook in Devon; but it did strike me on one grey piss-pouring day in Christchurch that I really needn't have travelled half way across the world to be met with such sublime views, so extraordinary they were almost tear-inducing, that we were experiencing in that moment.
Since then, every trip to Devon (we frequently book the same stunning villa over looking sea and rugged mountains near to Ilfracombe) I have treated as sacred: a pilgrimage to a place I consider holy in it's ability to simultaneously transport me to my childhood while rooting me firmly in the present.
When COVID struck last year and we were all caged inside our homes one of the main thoughts that kept a glimmer of positivity alive, was the prospect of being able to escape to the seaside and have a few restorative days in this place I truly consider to be where I am happiest.