I rarely visit the UK for tourism. It’s been ages since I worked there. I treat London as a transfer city and I sometimes change planes there. I’ve never been to Cornwall before and my only visit lasted no more than 12 hours and yet I consider it one of the most valuable travel lessons learnt.
The first thought that comes to mind is: how on earth you are able to learn anything in such a short time? And I must say that I am the first to be skeptical so let me tell you my story.
I went to Cornwall for one reason: to accompany my niece. She is minor so she needed an adult in order to travel. So we went together to London and continued our journey further west. We finally reached our destination: a small town in Cornwall where she spent a week with a British family to develop her linguistic skills. Before I left her I spent the entire day with the family who lives there and this was one of the best days in my life as a traveler.
First, we received a warm welcome at the airport despite a horrible weather and a 45 minutes delay. Kate was waiting for us and although we have never met before we recognized each other in a second. We started a conversation that lasted until evening. She took us home where we met the whole family: her husband Andy and their four kids. And what a family they have! Do you know the feeling of being at home away from home? This is how we felt when we entered their house.
We had a quick bite (scones with cream) and went for a walk. In a pouring rain, we visited a spectacular site: rocky cliffs and old mine remains. We had ice creams, we watched surfers, and we talked. Despite the weather, it was fun! Being with them was like a SPA for our souls. Gentle people who simply care for each other and for their guests made this day memorable. Through a conversation, laugh, endless stories and the way they treated us we felt like we wanted to stay in Cornwall forever.
They told us about their everyday life, school, work, friends, family life and entertainment provided by this small corner of the world, with a true delight. Happy people living in a lovely place! I had an impression that they discovered the most important secret of life: being happy in a place where you are and at the time that is given to you. Eating dinner together with this family was a treat!
I had to leave the very same day but I felt I learnt a lot about life, people and traveling. Cornwall became a land full of peace, joy, and happiness. Even if it was raining all day I remembered it as the sunniest part of the world. I felt blessed and happy that my niece stayed with them for the whole week, having the best holiday ever. I can’t wait to meet them again.
Lesson learnt? It is not always possible to stay in one place for a long time for a variety of reasons but when it is not possible focus on people. They are one of the best “medium” of culture. They will tell you more about life in a place than a guidebook and they will grab your hand and show you the best places on earth: a happy home full of love.