The United Kingdom

Not many folks outside of the UK know the significance of the year 1707. That was the act of the union, in which the Kingdoms of England and Scotland were merged as one monarch state. uk-handprintsAfter centuries of conflict, the crowns of both countries were united as one with the hope that lasting peace and acceptance can take place forever more.

This was before Britain became great – hence the name the United Kingdom (of England, Scotland, Wales and eventually Ireland). Today with Britain’s almost total loss of colonial possessions, the country has once again come to be known as the UK.

This island kingdom’s geological separation from the continent has spawned a unique culture that borrowed selectively. Till this day with its decision to leave the EU, it has always been sort of a “difficult” kid for the continental cousins. Take the English language for example. For non native speakers (such as us), it would appear that the written word of the language has multiple roots. Some words and expressions sound Germanic of origin while others seem to come from Romance influences.

But the history of the isles as they say is long and winding. With so many waves of migrants that came to these lands, the legacy can still be seen standing in the form of Celtic monuments and Viking runes.

Prior to travelling as a couple, Suan had made a few trips on her own while visiting her cousin who was studying in Birmingham. As graduating students, her cousin and friends embarked on road trips across the breadth and length of the country, visiting places that Mel has still not touched till today. Suan counts her experiences in Scotland as some of the most memorable, touching Loch Ness (but not seeing Nessie) and getting across to the Isles of Skye. All these names sound so much like the movies in the Harry Potter or Lord of the Ring series.

You see, even back in the day young people (such as we were then) had the fear of missing out (FOMO), something that seems to be associated with millennials of today.

We have a theory.

To us the millennial story had always existed in each and every generation before. Our theory goes that as far as the extent to which the attributes linked to being millennial were present, occurred in a smaller percentage of the population. Just as there were already students 25 years ago who rented luxury apartments and drove flashy cars to class, there is perhaps more conspicuous presence of that behaviour today. Hence our classification of that entire generation as “Millennial”.

So how does this fit in with our story about the UK handprint of Mel and Suan?

Lake district looks smashing with this model!

It was in 1996 that this fear of missing out led Mel to join Suan in yet another adventure to the UK. Yes it was combined with a tour to Scandinavia, but we also spent more than a week just to road trip across the UK as Suan had done the years before.

The road trips took us to the lake district and Edinburgh on one hand and all the way to the isle of Anglesey at the tip of Wales. It was also an adventure which would end up with our rental car being smashed up! As luck would have it, at the end of the road tripping…

Yep, this was crashed!

For many years since that time, there was a drought of journey to the UK as we focused our attention to other destinations and continents.

Then came the time when we lived in Amsterdam. For business there was consideration and that was the opportunity that we took to do a little road tripping again. This time from Southport in the Merseyside of the country through to the Cotswolds. Brief yet enjoyable we had promised ourselves to be back again to give the historic cities of Wiltshire a thorough visit. But the move back to Singapore cut that short prematurely!

Got to the Cotswolds at least!

Despite working for a British company for nearly 8 years, Mel did not touch the UK much for that period of time. Hence there were no adventures to be had! Today there remains no business reasons to visit the UK unless we plan a diversion from Switzerland…which is an option that we are seriously exploring.

And just where do we intend to place more of our handprints?

Just some ideas we are throwing up:

  • Stonehenge deserves more time than just photo taking
  • Perhaps take a bath in the baths of the city of Bath?
  • Road trip to land’s end again for Suan?
  • Drive through southern Wales and up to Snowdonia
  • Road trip the historic cities of the Viking northeast
  • Fly to Jersey or Isle of Man where most (from Asia) don’t

And this is not even considering Scotland, yet. We would really love to do a drive all around Scotland, getting across to the Orkney islands and the coast facing the Herbrides. It might be easier to fly from London city airport to Edinburg or Glasgow to start that road trip!

London will remain a key aviation hub and one from which we can harness to travel not just in the UK, but also the continent. Despite what naysayers espouse, there remains a preference to use the London hub for the city is more vibrant than some of the other European hubs. We certainly feel this way and will plan to utilize its connections.

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