Back from England, AMA

 

Having spent seven days in the UK, I am now an expert on the place and can give you detailed answers to any question.

I love the place more than any other country that does not start with United and end with America, and it’s not just because I can read the menus.

It’s like a step-brother who lived in a different city, and you corresponded all your life before you finally met. When I walked into my favorite pub and the publican said “It’s the American!” I felt like I was home, and also knew that I was home.

Two days in London, which wasn’t enough, then up via train to Suffolk to a small town on the sea. If you’ve seen the movie “Yesterday,” – it’s about the only man in the world who knows the Beatles – you’ve seen the area; the writer of the movie lives in the town and much of it was shot around the area. (He was at the pub on Oyster Night at the adjacent table with his wife, a broadcaster who is also Sigmund Freud’s great-granddaughter.) Had terrifying drives down 1 1/2 lane roads, ambled through the paths to the sea, drank all the local ales – there’s a marvelous brewery in the town across the river, which you get to by rowboat (1 pound per person, and there is often a dog in the prow), climbed the lighthouse and learned the lore of the signals from a tour guide who is also a BBC comedy writer, and so on.

If you have no pressing questions, I’ve one for you – is there a place outside of America where you feel instantly, absolutely at home?

Published in General
Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 31 comments.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  1. Jon1979 Lincoln

    Tim Horton’s in Canada?

    • #1
    • August 6, 2019, at 9:39 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  2. Reese Member

    Wife and I want to go, rent a caravan (“motorhome”). But it’s so hard to bring our dog. Any advice? We have plenty of oolah-may to spend. 

    • #2
    • August 6, 2019, at 9:51 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  3. Reese Member

    I’m comfy in some of the Canadian provinces to which I’ve been, west of Quebec. That’d be Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia. Instantly, absolutely at home. Quebec was disturbing over a day or so, though I studied French about 30 years ago. New Brunswick was so brief I can’t opine. 

    I was comfy in the northern part Baja California Nord 30 years ago, and Puerto Peñasco more recently. 

    Hong Kong and Macao were fun, but not comfy. Same for Singapore.

    Pattaya Beach on the west coast of Thailand was wonderful. Instantly, absolutely at home.

    Perth was totally instantly, absolutely at home, but I didn’t drive there (wrong side, like Old Blighty).

    Karachi was uncomfortable.

    • #3
    • August 6, 2019, at 10:07 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  4. EJHill Podcaster

     North Bay, Ontario. I spent many happy days there as a child. 

    For 50 weeks out of every year my old man was a mystery to me. He worked two and sometimes three jobs to keep kith and kin together and often he was just the guy who ate dinner with us. But for two weeks out the year he was all mine, my bunkmate in the cabin, and teacher out on the lake. 

    It has been decades since I was there. The cabins at the lodge have all been raised. The dock has fallen into the creek. But my memories still live there. The town has become sort of a Northeastern Hollywood and I can pick out places in the wide shots of my wife’s favorite Hallmark movies. 

    I sigh quietly and know that, even if I ever did return with my own sons, it wouldn’t be the same. And yet it would still feel like home.

    • #4
    • August 6, 2019, at 10:21 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  5. The Cloaked Gaijin Member

    James Lileks:

    is there a place outside of America where you feel instantly, absolutely at home?

    I rarely feel at home in my own country. If I travel 50 or 75 miles north or south, I notice that people start to talk a bit funny.

    The North is too cold. The South is too hot and has hurricanes. The West just looks weird as it lacks trees. The Northeast is too crowded, urban, and cold. Oceans seem to attract hippies, snobs, and possibly rednecks, etc.

    • #5
    • August 6, 2019, at 11:23 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  6. Shauna Hunt Member

    Norway. Lived there with my sister the summer I turned sixteen.

    • #6
    • August 6, 2019, at 11:24 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu Coolidge

    James Lileks: is there a place outside of America where you feel instantly, absolutely at home?

    Well, yes, in Israel, where I feel more at home than in America, although I grew up there, because I am a Jew. That’s not a knock on America, even as anti-Semitism embeds itself in the Democrat party. Still, when all is said and done, America is a Christian country, which has always been alienating for me, although I do hope it stays that way, as opposed to becoming a Godless bastion of political correctness. I would rather see the president light a national Christmas tree than just hear him say “Happy holidays to all.”

     

    • #7
    • August 7, 2019, at 12:20 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  8. The Great Adventure! Member

    Well, I grew up in British Columbia and still have many friends in BC & Alberta. So definitely feel at home there.

    My non-North American travels have been limited. 1.5 days in London (which was fun). About 4 weeks in Mexico City in 2001, and 1 month in Uganda in 2009. I don’t know about feeling like I was home, but I felt 10 times safer in Uganda than I did in Mexico City.

    • #8
    • August 7, 2019, at 12:29 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  9. GeezerBob Coolidge

    Another place like home? For me, it is Thessaloniki, the northern Greek city on the Aegean Sea. We have a second home here, in a suburb called Peraia, which is across the bay from the city proper and a mile or so from the airport. Part of the charm is the beach nearby. Here is my take on it…

    https://pepperandvinegar.blog/2019/08/06/the-beach-at-peraia/

    I have been on all continents save Antartica. With family here, this is a second home. 

    • #9
    • August 7, 2019, at 12:55 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  10. Henry Castaigne Member

    Frasier lake in British Columbia. 

    • #10
    • August 7, 2019, at 3:00 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  11. dnewlander Member

    I think the only place I haven’t felt like “home” was Hongkong, right after the 2000 election. Which nobody wanted to accept.

    Well, maybe Amsterdam. The Dutch aren’t actually very friendly to outsiders.

    And Madison, Wisconsin, which was a political thing.

    • #11
    • August 7, 2019, at 3:19 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  12. Cato Rand Reagan

    I’ve been to a lot of places over the last 30 years (38 countries by my best count) and have felt comfortable in most (though not all) of them, but “instantly, absolutely at home” is a higher standard. The place that sticks out in my mind as meeting it is Tasmania. All Australia is familiar in much the same way the UK is but for this Wisconsin boy, Tasmania is small town Wisconsin (with some really beautiful mountains and seas around it).

    • #12
    • August 7, 2019, at 3:40 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  13. Hang On Member

    James Lileks: Had terrifying drives down 1 1/2 lane roads

    They’ve been widened?

    James Lileks: If you have no pressing questions, I’ve one for you – is there a place outside of America where you feel instantly, absolutely at home?

    Britain also. But I’ve lived there for several years. There were only a few times when I felt uncomfortable. When Scottish football fans invaded London for the annual national England-Scotland match and for days afterwards the tubes reeked of urine and beer. 

    • #13
    • August 7, 2019, at 5:10 AM PDT
    • Like
  14. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    Cambridge, England. Went there on vacation in 1984, and just fell in love with the town. I went back in the summer of 1991 for a three-week UCLA summer program, lived at Trinity Hall College, and studied Medieval English Society under a Don from another college. It was magical, and I hated to go home. I have always said that if I were given a diagnosis of a terminal disease and only had a year to live, I would go to Cambridge to spend my last year.

    • #14
    • August 7, 2019, at 6:20 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. Seawriter Member

    Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu (View Comment):
    America is a Christian country, which has always been alienating for me, although I do hope it stays that way, as opposed to becoming a Godless bastion of political correctness.

    It will not become a Godless bastion of political correctness because Environmentalism is a revival of paganism and at the core of anti-Christian activity in the United States. Rather, if it ceases to be a Christian country, it will become a pagan (or neopagan) bastion of political correctness instead. 

    • #15
    • August 7, 2019, at 6:40 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. James Gawron Thatcher

    James Lileks: It’s like a step-brother who lived in a different city, and you corresponded all your life before you finally met. When I walked into my favorite pub and the publican said “It’s the American!” I felt like I was home, and also knew that I was home.

    JimL,

    I haven’t been to Great Britain yet. However, I have the feeling your statement (I’ve quoted above) would be my reaction also. When I went to Israel I wasn’t sure that I’d feel exactly what most others had described. However, even just off the plane at the airport, I did have an uncanny feeling of being at home.

    A young Israeli girl in uniform started to ask me a long series of questions. This was their standard security procedure designed to weed out those with ill intent. Normally this would have annoyed me considering how long it went on. Yet, I would have been glad to stand there and answer another 100 questions. She was protecting her country and she was also protecting me. The idea just made me smile. She didn’t smile back but courteously continued until she completed her job. Then she gave me a big smile and wished that I enjoy my stay in Israel. I knew that I would.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #16
    • August 7, 2019, at 7:00 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  17. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks Post author

    Reese (View Comment):

    Wife and I want to go, rent a caravan (“motorhome”). But it’s so hard to bring our dog. Any advice? We have plenty of oolah-may to spend.

    The beach at Walberswick had about twenty caravans, parked for the season or a few weeks. Many dogs, but no utility hookups. There’s a caravan culture of which I’ve no knowledge but surely the internet abounds with tips. 

    • #17
    • August 7, 2019, at 8:04 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. Douglas Pratt Member

    I studied at Cambridge University in 1966 when I was part of a high school exchange program. One memorable day I traveled to Slough and entered a nondescript-looking building on a trading estate (what we would call an industrial park over here). It was the home of AP Films, which was then in the process of changing its name to Century 21 Productions, but hadn’t repainted the doors yet. This was where huge chunks of my childhood imagination were created: Supercar, Fireball XL-5, Stingray, and most of all Thunderbirds. The second film featuring Thunderbirds was then in production although the TV series had ended and they were hard at work on new projects. When I introduced myself, a passing employee overheard that I was from across the pond, stopped, and offered to show me around the model workshop.

    It was an average size room with shelves covering the walls and tables all over, just barely enough room to move between them. Every inch of space was filled with a building, an airplane, or something that was 1/3 the size it would be if it was real. Aluminum baking pans full of random parts from plastic model kits were everywhere and the air was thick with the smell of spray paint and glue. I remember a 16 story office building that was being built to be the scene of some disaster that involved it burning from the top down. In the middle was a long peculiar looking thing that had rocket nozzles at one end, four feet, and a clamshell nose cone. It would eventually become the Eagle Transporter from Space:1999, and the guy carving on it was Brian Johnson, who would go on to direct special effects for some famous movies and television.

    I felt instantly at home.

    • #18
    • August 7, 2019, at 8:08 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  19. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    Have traveled to about 25 countries, enjoyed many of them, have frequently revisited some, but the U.S. remains the only place I feel at home. If the criteria are whether there are places I enjoy and am familiar enough with to feel instantly comfortable it would be Paris and the Dordogne Valley in France.

    • #19
    • August 7, 2019, at 9:02 AM PDT
    • Like
  20. Kephalithos Member

    Hang On (View Comment):

    James Lileks: Had terrifying drives down 1 1/2 lane roads

    They’ve been widened?

    By a full lane, it seems.

    • #20
    • August 7, 2019, at 9:14 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  21. Hang On Member

    Burwick Chiffswiddle (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):

    James Lileks: Had terrifying drives down 1 1/2 lane roads

    They’ve been widened?

    By a full lane, it seems.

    Global warming must have caused the hedgerows to shift.

    • #21
    • August 7, 2019, at 9:25 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  22. iWe Reagan
    iWe

    My home is wherever Mrs. iWe is.

    I don’t feel instantly at home anywhere else, even in our house when she is not here.

    • #22
    • August 7, 2019, at 9:27 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  23. Full Size Tabby Member

    Reese (View Comment):

    Wife and I want to go, rent a caravan (“motorhome”). But it’s so hard to bring our dog. Any advice? We have plenty of oolah-may to spend.

    As @jameslileks noted, people in Britain take their dogs all over the place, so having a dog with you would be quite normal (assuming the dog is well behaved). Although it’s been 15 years since I was in Britain, at the time one could take a dog from the States, though the dog would have to go through a quarantine period (possibly both directions). There are companies that facilitate international shipment of animals (a local girl is currently arranging to ship her horse to Switzerland for a riding competition there, using Equiflight, but they appear to be horse-only). Check with your veterinarian.

    When we travelled Britain a lot, the motorhome “caravan” wasn’t in widespread use, and I don’t know whether any could be rented by foreigners. A “caravan holiday” often meant renting a travel trailer “caravan” that was permanently or semi-permanently parked in a single location (often near a seashore) and using it like a vacation cottage.

    • #23
    • August 7, 2019, at 11:38 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  24. Aaron Miller Member

    Southeastern Ireland felt most like home to me.

    In some ways, it was more home than my actual residence in Texas. I could walk the woods without snakes, mosquitoes, and an endless variety of stinging insects. It was rich with ancient ruins of my Catholic heritage, whereas most history here dates back less than a century and people consider life mostly in relation to the past decade. 

    The relaxed pace of Southern culture was echoed in smallish towns. I could sit on the coast without a crowd or condoes looming everywhere. There was an abundance of simple crafts and, unlike home, many opportunities to walk rather than drive. 

    I haven’t been many places overseas. But I would like to return to Ireland with an older appreciation. 

    • #24
    • August 7, 2019, at 2:33 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  25. Reese Member

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    … though the dog would have to go through a quarantine period (possibly both directions).

    That was the part I was worried about. How long is the quarantine? In what conditions. Thanks. 

    I have looked into renting a motorhome, seems easy for a price. A trip to the local Wal-Mart equivalent, an REI type place, etc. and we’d do perhaps a two month vacation, three or six month sabatical through the Chunnel, even. Something like that, but my wife won’t leave the well-behaved toy-sized purse-dachsund for even the five days for a motorhome ferry (that’s a boat) ride to Alaska. 

    • #25
    • August 7, 2019, at 7:17 PM PDT
    • Like
  26. Reese Member

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    There are companies that facilitate international shipment of animals…

    That is interesting. Hafta look into that. If I could convince wife of, say comfort and company while she’s away from her beloved heck hound, just maybe. (She’s insane about this dog.) 

    • #26
    • August 7, 2019, at 7:29 PM PDT
    • Like
  27. dnewlander Member

    Reese (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    … though the dog would have to go through a quarantine period (possibly both directions).

    That was the part I was worried about. How long is the quarantine? In what conditions. Thanks.

    I have looked into renting a motorhome, seems easy for a price. A trip to the local Wal-Mart equivalent, an REI type place, etc. and we’d do perhaps a two month vacation, three or six month sabatical through the Chunnel, even. Something like that, but my wife won’t leave the well-behaved toy-sized purse-dachsund for even the five days for a motorhome ferry (that’s a boat) ride to Alaska.

    Actually, it looks like they ended the quarantine requirement. Your dog does have to get checked out by a vet (there’s a form) and receive a rabies shot 21 days before you travel, and it will have to see a vet for a worm treatment within 5 days of arriving in the UK.

    Apparently, this is in line with the rest of the EU, so go before Brexit!

    https://www.dogfriendly.com/server/travel/info/customs/travelcustoms.shtml

    • #27
    • August 7, 2019, at 7:31 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  28. Reese Member

    dnewlander (View Comment):
    Actually, it looks like they ended the quarantine requirement. Your dog does have to get checked out by a vet (there’s a form) and receive a rabies shot 21 days before you travel, and it will have to see a vet for a worm treatment within 5 days of arriving in the UK.

    Wow! That is interesting and easy. I hope (fellow Lobo) that you’re not a guy “wrong on the internet.” I will look into it! Thanks. 

    We use Mountain Vet in Cedar Crest. I’ll check with them and check out the link you supplied.

    • #28
    • August 7, 2019, at 7:40 PM PDT
    • Like
  29. dnewlander Member

    Reese (View Comment):

    dnewlander (View Comment):
    Actually, it looks like they ended the quarantine requirement. Your dog does have to get checked out by a vet (there’s a form) and receive a rabies shot 21 days before you travel, and it will have to see a vet for a worm treatment within 5 days of arriving in the UK.

    Wow! That is interesting and easy. I hope (fellow Lobo) that you’re not a guy “wrong on the internet.” I will look into it! Thanks.

    We use Mountain Vet in Cedar Crest. I’ll check with them and check out the link you supplied.

    I checked a few sites, so apparently this has been true since 2012.

    Woof! Woof! Woof!

    • #29
    • August 7, 2019, at 7:45 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  30. Caryn Member

    Israel. Like Yehoshua, I feel completely at home there in a way that I sometimes, particularly recently, don’t in the land of my birth. 

    I also have a somewhat homey feeling during my brief visits to England, but I think that has a lot to do with my steady diet of British TV. Great stuff: the murder mysteries and the comedies.

    • #30
    • August 7, 2019, at 8:57 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  1. 1
  2. 2