I have a friend who in a great little town in suburban Leeds.
So, when I have planned trips there, and casually mention my impending English vacation to people, the first response is always, London?
When it comes to foreign places, many people, and I’ve been guilty of this myself sometimes, only consider the most well known. England = London, France = Paris, United States = New York, Mexico = Cancun, you know what I mean.
Sometimes, especially when traveling and are pressed for time and funds, we lock ourselves into locations. Cities are the big winners, and more often than not, the countryside is left to languish, tourist free.
Granted, of course, there are many amazing and beautiful cities in the world, and for many places, it’s no wonder there are a lot of tourists, because there are so many things to be seen. But, I’d contend, there are also many beautiful places in the world that you will never find in a guide book: an amazing restaurant in a suburban town, a little national park, a hidden pristine river out in the farmlands. Taking time to step out of the city limits of a country can bring great new experiences.
Now, more often than not, when I look at my list of places I want to visit, there is a growing list of natural places and of the beaten track locations. There are still cities I plan on seeing like Sydney, Toronto, Buenos Aires and Marrakech to name a few, but now, when possible, I try to take a little time and get out of the city, even if it’s for just a few hours.
For the record, I have been to London. I think it’s a fantastic city, it was my first destination outside of North America when I was 19, and I returned a few times again during my study abroad and on a subsequent family trip. It offers everything, culture, great food, beautiful architecture, and of course a plethora of British accents which greatly enhances many day to day transactions.
But, then I went to Yorkshire, and I really was surprised to love it. I am more of a country girl than a city girl to start with, but the pace of life was great, the people were so friendly, and the land was beautiful. We strolled to the local pub (which was older than American, of course), we drove through tiny roads between huge farms to an awesome little restaurant on top of a hill, we took a walk along a canal to a festival, it was perfect.
If my friend didn’t live there, I never ever in a million years would have picked Yorkshire to visit if I were going to England, but now I can’t wait to get back and see more of it, and even more of the rest of the country.
I’m not suggesting whole hog ignoring cities and parking yourself out in the middle of the woods on your next trip, but on your next trip to a major city try this. For one single day, hop on the subway or a bus out of town, it won’t take long, you can literally go 20-30 minutes outside a city and be somewhere completely different. Go for a walk, visit a farm, or an artists gallery, have a pint in a neighborhood pub, whatever it is take a break and what is out there besides just the city life.
And think when making plans for upcoming vacations about getting out of the city to see some different aspects of the place you are visiting, most of the time you will not be disappointed.