Canterbury, England - My Family Travels


The sun was shining through a bright, low-hanging haze that early morning. The small streets, lined with small shops, were filled with people hurrying to get nowhere in particular. As I stood on the rough, cobblestone walkway on sore, weary feet, I realized that I, like the narrator in Chaucer’s tales, had made my own pilgrimage. I was standing before Canterbury Cathedral and it finally set in that my life was changing forever. Seeing this holy building, chosen destination of countless journeys of self-discovery, I came to the realization that I was a part of something bigger than I had ever thought.
It was not a perfect day by a long shot. England rarely has perfect days, being almost constantly overcast and damp. A friend who was traveling with me had fallen ill that day. Somehow, despite these unfortunate circumstances, I still felt a change. There was an inexplicable feeling of comfort that seemed to overwhelm me. As I stood at the stone archway, from the top of which beamed the famous, weathered effigy of Jesus Christ, the sun began to escape from its clouded prison.
             Inside my chest, the meaning of my heritage was sweetly tolling like church bells, telling me that I had never felt so perfectly at-home in my life. Never before had a country felt so irrationally right. I could feel the hands of England’s past reaching from the ground and winding around my ankles like vines tethering me to the earth. The feeling of serene correctness is inexplicable, but I feel it in the core of my being. At heart, I belong to England. I was enveloped by the rushing people, the history, and the energy. England seeped into my blood and quickly infected everything else in me. It was as if two parts of me, before unrelated, were fused together simply because I was there. My past contradictory traits were bound into one, more full personality. I was where I belonged, and my soul was content.
            There are few words meaningful enough to describe how it feels to come home, except that there is nothing like it. This trip did not merely give me the thirst to travel, but it changed how I see the world and the different people there are to see on every continent. To me, Great Britain will always be my home, whether the ebb and flow of life ever manages to sweep me back to the banks of the Thames and the Channel. After years of fascination with English culture, history and literature, I finally made my journey there. I felt my distant bloodlines and ancestors calling me back to where I once belonged. The journey to self-understanding is never ending, and can ever seem to settle on one direction. It can be confusing, but I will never lose hope that my journey will eventually bring me back home.

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