There are places that mean a lot to me and this meaning comes from a combination of things; the experiences and memories I have of the place, the stories and folklore of that area, the scenery and the vistas and the history of the area.
I got to thinking about how I feel about places
after read this short interesting article recently [it is a geography article but don’t let that put you off.] The article reminded me how much I loved studying geography and how important geography is to how I see the world. Studying the subject helped me to bring together all the strands that make up a sense of place; the history, the flora and fauna, the climate, the bedrock, the myths, the people and the natural features. The article also introduced me to a new phrase and got me thinking about the strength of my own ‘placeness quotient’ and how strongly that is related to having a camper van these days.
At the moment we are not fair weather campers. As two working people, we plan our holidays and then go, whatever the weather. Consequently, we have experienced wild weather, wet days, cloud-heavy dull weekends and cold frosty holidays. When I think about places that are special to me I can think of them in all sorts of weather; Wharfdale comes to mind with blue sky and sunshine and vibrant sunsets and also in cagoule-soaking drizzle; I have experienced almost every weather we have in the UK in Scotland and always pack thermals and shorts on our trips there; the drama of the Alps is at least in part because of the thunderstorm performance at the end of a hot, sunny day.
One of the things we are looking forward to with our retirement is being able to just check the weather forecast and up-sticks for a camping trip when the weather is set for fair for a few days. In winter this might mean frosty and sunny weather and in summer we will be away when all we need to pack are a pair of shorts. Will this mean our camping trips become boring and uneventful as we are always away in fine weather? Will my placeness quotient reduce as I only experience places in good weather or will it increase because there won’t be days when it is only fit for a short walk before returning to dry off in the ‘van. I hope that I have experienced enough days of high winds and rain to last the next 30-years and I feel I am ready to only be camping in fine weather, but we shall see. Maybe you will see me checking the weather forecast and seeking out the bleakest weather I can find in the next few years.
Either way, what is certain is that I will continue to ‘step outside’.