Thursday, 15 February 2018

MiniQuest: Day Trip to Dartmoor

I found home 4700 miles away from my hometown.  The secret to discovering "home" is to open your eyes and look around you.  Not for places; skyscrapers, castles, and cottages alike do not make a home.  Search for people.  You carry your home around in your heart.  Share it with others and perhaps they will share theirs with you.

We were cruising down the winding backroads of the English countryside.  A tad cramped in the backseat, I was laughing to myself; marvelling at the tiny quintessentially British car we were riding in.  It reminded me of the movies I had seen growing up and I wondered where this adventure would lead us.  It was just the three of us in that car; two Canadian girls and an English lass.  We were exiting Exmouth and heading towards Dartmoor National Park for a day of attempted rock climbing and meandering in the fields.

I was falling in love with the English countryside.  I loved the rolling hills, the twisting lanes, and the ever-elusive horizon that always seemed just out of reach.  Sometimes we would not see anyone for miles except perhaps the occasional confused sheep, standing in the middle of an already too small road.

The supposed forty-five-minute journey took us nearly two hours.  It was worth the wait.  Dartmoor felt otherworldly.  We crept along the gravelly road on the lookout for a sign that would tell us if we were heading in the right direction.  Eventually, we found our way to our destination: Hound Tor.  We parked the car and, after a small picnic, set out to explore.

 I felt like a mountain goat while attempting to scramble up the craggy surface.  We watched the only other visitors around successfully climb a steep rock face.  Our group of three did not have any climbing gear and so we settled on an easier rock.  When I reached a spot where I could sit, I paused.  I looked out over the surrounding moorland and my fears melted away.  My inner turmoil had vanished.  The feeling was unexpected and welcomed.

On the ride home I was quiet.  Lost in thought, I was trying to figure out how this had occurred.  The rest of the day passed by in a blur.  We suppered, watched a movie, and then headed off to bed.  I laid there in the guest room alone, waiting to fall asleep.  The house was quiet and I was at peace.  All the anxiety was gone.  I wanted to cherish that moment.  I had left home and found it somewhere else.  My new friend and her family were warm and welcoming.  Their kindness taught me that wherever I go I can find home.

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