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Cousins and Aunty.

Aging in travel England

Some moments remain frozen in time for better or worse.

Remember when you missed middle school graduation and summer football workouts?

Your parents decided to drag you around England instead.

And your life was ruined.

That last thing you wanted to do was be a show pony for your folks.

But it happens when your mom is first generation and takes you to the old country.

The biggest surprise was the welcome celebration.

Old people and young were glad to see you. More than glad, they invited you into their homes.

Great Uncles and Great Aunts welcomed you with open arms. Cousins embraced you.

And you fit right in.

Travel England Age

travel england

Break time at the Tower of London.

One aunt was once a WWII nurse to start her medical career.

The other was the sort of woman wars are fought for, the embodiment of a nation.

Together they shared a family bond to learn from.

England has had lots of practice with family bonds.

Good sports travel England

travel england

Rolling on the River Thames

At an age when the last thing you want are embarrassing parents, you played along.

Take a ride on the River Thames?


Take a picture on the boat?

What? Click.

To travel England right, you should know a few things before you show up.

Or be very adaptable.

As two young men on the verge of high school, and high school’s second year, you did both.

Museums and churches in travel England

travel england

Imperial War Museum Duxford

Who wants to see airplanes? Everyone wants to see airplanes.

Duxford has airplanes.

Anyplace with a Blackbird in the house is worth the time.

That’s how I pitched the idea. And you agreed.

You understood how exciting it was for family guides to show their stuff, and England has the stuff of legend.

You loved the churches in travel England

travel england

From cathedrals, to side chapels, to stone prayer circles, you embraced the moment.

You will cherish those moments of family sharing all your life.

Where else but England would you stand on ancient land and hear expert history from locals?

The British Museum a must see to travel England right

travel england

A world treasure, the British Museum collected things when nations were vulnerable.

You learned the big museum question: Is it better to preserve the past in collections, or leave artifacts to the whims of transitional power?

Some things that don’t make it into a museum are lost to the public.

The British Museum didn’t miss much.

Travel England means London

travel england

You said you needed a picture of Big Ben.

If anything says you’re in London, it’s Big Ben.

After a tube trip five stories underground, you walked out of a stop right across the street.

That takes planning, and you could tell the difference.

Getting used to train travel

travel england

One of the beauties of traveling with teen boys is how vulnerable they are, but they don’t show it.

You help them understand the excitement of travel by showing your own vulnerable side.

They don’t want to see it, so you make a point of explaining things until you frighten yourself.

England is a small island nation that once ruled the world. The sun never set on the British Empire.

Moving through the streets and buildings of such a place makes you wonder how they did it.

travel england

Image via

England is in red and it all started in the red spot just above gold Spain and blue France.

It’s a tiny dot on this map.

It’s not like England shipped huge numbers of people to populate the red zones.

As of 2013 the United Kingdom held sixty four million people.

How did they exert power over a quarter of earth’s population? How did they manage a quarter of the earth’s land mass?

You learned the answer at each family gathering.

Your relatives may have just met you, but they made you feel better for the experience.

And once you embrace the sense of ‘better’, you never forget why you felt that way.

It’s an English thing and as real throughout history as it was the first time you felt it.

travel england

About David Gillaspie
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