What do people usually say about other people who head straight for England whenever they get an opportunity to travel abroad? Mostly, they say that those people long to get in touch with the historical spirit of the country. The very spirit that has nothing to do with the important historical events that come to mind whenever you visit Stonehenge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Trafalgar Square, numerous English pubs, palaces, and castles that seem to be frozen in time. No, these are not places one should visit if they want to get in touch with the true spirit of the country. Where to go then?
Let’s start with the necessary trip arrangements. When planning a visit to England, pay special attention to the available sources of information about the country, its customs and traditions: read as many books and magazines as possible, and watch as many movies as you can only find. It will fill your mind with so many stereotypes you’ll hardly be able to process them all, much less distinguish the truth from the lies. That will turn your trip into an exciting challenge of skills and knowledge, since the real England has nothing in common with the country described in books and portrayed in movies. It may be a source of great confusion when you first visit the country, but soon you’ll find out that the more you learn about the real state of things, the more you like England and its folk. Stereotypes are just like ghosts that belong to the past long gone, so let them rest in peace.
While in England, be ready to face things that will challenge your balance and your vision of right and wrong. To begin with, people in England drive on the left hand side of the road, while the traffic in most countries travels on the right-hand side of the road. And you may learn a lot more amazing, sometimes deeply confusing facts about the country and its folk, if you dare to explore the country on your own, with no guide to hurry you up and no program to stick to. You may pay a visit to a pub where a woman who looks like she’s just woken up from sleep and decided to go outside without changing her outfit sits next to a couple of wildly kissing men with orange nails, and no one pays attention to either her or the couple. Or you may explore the river banks, beaches, or parks where squirrels come close enough to touch in search of the food and treats. When exploring the country on your own, pay special attention to your footwear. Your boots should be comfortable and fit well, since you’ll spend most of the time on foot.
Don’t miss the opportunity to get in touch with the true spirit of the country and get to know the local folk better. And when your colleagues, family members or friends ask to share your impressions on the trip, you’ll be able to tell them a story, based on personal observations rather than widely known stereotypes.
P.S. You may find it necessary to take professional pictures of all those mesmerizing things and people you’ve encountered there. Do not stifle the urge – after all, it’s not as difficult to find a professional photographer in England as many would think. Just keep in mind that it’s better to arrange everything beforehand.