It all began, like things often do, with a late night conversation. It was after 9:00 p.m., which is our self-imposed “cutoff time” for making any kind of major decision, and my husband and I were throwing around travel ideas. When, suddenly, we landed upon the idea of going to the UK for the first two weeks of November.
Wait! The UK in November?! Isn’t it usually cold or rainy or both? Maybe we’d just suit up and take brisk walks along the coasts? Return to our cozy rentals, sit in front of the fire and drink whisky? That could definitely work. But, we wanted to make it even more of an adventure. So, we bought tickets for professional, international rugby matches in Cardiff, Wales and in Edinburgh, Scotland, and we built a trip around those dates and destinations.
It ended up being just what we were after! We surfed, fly-fished, toured castles, watched rugby and sampled all of the local delights. Along the way, we made a number of conscious decisions to travel responsibly. Here are some of these highlights and how-tos:
1. CONNECT with local knowledge. On our way west from Cardiff, we spontaneously stopped off in Porthcawl to view the surf. We ended up at Coney Surf there, where we drank coffee, talked shop and eventually rented suits and boards. We had a great time, soaking up the atmosphere and a lot of water from the Bristol Channel 🙂
2. CHOOSE your activity based on where you are staying. We stayed in an Airbnb in Pembrokeshire, Wales, and surfed along the coast in nearby Manobier with the Outer Reef Surf School, rather than drive another hour plus to a more well-known surf spot. As it turned out, Manobier had great surfing, a glorious castle and delicious pub food!
3. KEEP things regional. We were keen to visit St. Andrews and its famed golf courses, to see the coast of Fife and to experience a distillery. So, we stayed in the fishing town of Anstruther and drove the coast north. Along the way, we stopped off at the Kingsbarns Distillery, which sources its water from an aquifer 100m below its location and barley from fields nearby. Everything was within a 30 minute drive from our place!
4. SEE a city entirely on foot. We chose to stay at the lovely Dunstane Houses as they were a 10 minute walk from the Murrayfield Rugby Stadium in Edinburgh. We toured other parts of Edinburgh by walking, as well. It provided a brisk form of exercise and a unique way to truly see the city.
How have you responsibly traveled? Share your experiences in the comments below!