From Travel

Along the Border

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The Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Travel, unlike most other aspects of normal life, feeds expectation. We treat unfamiliar destinations with a mixture of trepidation and eagerness for what they will bring to our humdrum lives, bad or good, in a way that we wouldn’t consider when, say, catching the 07.58 to Carlisle or joining a string of commuter traffic into work.

Some, like me, prepare too carefully for all eventualities and, sad to say, enjoy a successful trip as much for the fact that the plans worked out as for the location itself and the experiences involved. Others travel in blissful ignorance, almost daring a destination, or the journey, to throw at them what it can, if they weren’t so unconscious of the consequences of their decisions, or the lack of them or, for that matter, where they actually are.

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The Spirit of Place

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The term ‘The Spirit of Place’ was first explained to me by a land agent working for the National Trust in England. It referred, he said, to the essence of a property and was part of the ethos that the Trust’s staff tried to capture when managing their historic houses and countryside - and which they tried to convey to visitors. I can’t recall if he had the ubiquitous labrador and Volvo estate car but I remember thinking that the phrase had a nice ring to it.

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