We’ve just come back from Oludeniz in Turkey – we only went for the weekend. One of my friends said “that’s a long way for a weekend”. I agreed until I realised it would probably take us longer to get to Wales from East London.
So we did very little, sitting in the sunshine, powering through holiday novels, drinking beer watching the paragliders over the bay and just trying to let the sun burn off all the anxiety and stress that accumulates in a 21st century lifestyle.
It’s amazing how quickly that chilled feeling can leave when you get back to RL (real life). Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather have been away for the weekend. All it takes is that drive back from the airport to remind one why we left the city in the first place.
I can see why a lot of people ‘downshift’ and leave cities for smaller towns and the countryside. There’s an energy – almost a frenetic need to do something – in big cities that can get tiring (or even tiresome) after a while.
Inventor of the first English Dictionary Samuel Johnson said, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” I have to say this is often used as a verbal stick to beat people with who have the temerity to leave the Big Smoke (usually for someplace less self-obsessed and probably a bit quieter, where rats aren’t always less than eight feet away from you and the neighbours are closer).
I’ve also come to the conclusion that London was quite a bit different in Dr Johnson’s day: England still ruled the world – except for those pesky colonies in the New World – and public sanitation was a very different idea. Horses and carts took you everywhere and the sweaty London Underground was about a hundred years from its first journey. So the pace was distinctly different and it probably smelled a lot worse.
Personally, I don’t have a problem with the escapees – and if you didn’t know, I’m planning to be one myself one of these days as a rural French life beckons. But for now, holidays will have to make the difference and act as a recharging station for the virtual batteries of the soul, making life in one of the biggest cities on the planet bearable.