Illustration by Clara Nicoll

Displaced life: Holiday therapy

You have to find a little bit of happiness where you can
September 8, 2022

Despite the extremely hot weather, I was determined to get my holiday therapy in this year. With the stress of inflation, escalating energy bills and the toxic political climate, we must sometimes get away from the noise and enjoy the lighter things in life. I love taking every opportunity to explore the beautiful landscapes and different cultures the UK has to offer.

Over the summer, the Great British seaside gave me many delights. I started by visiting Cleethorpes on the estuary of the Humber, the closest coastal town to Doncaster. As a pescatarian, fish and chips is perfect for me, and Cleethorpes did not disappoint. The locals were really friendly and down to earth, and the pubs had great karaoke and bingo. Relaxing at the beach was my highlight of the day—I’m from the southern Caribbean, so am always game for a beach run. 

For another day trip in June, I travelled to Carlisle in Cumbria. I must say it’s the first time that I’ve heard what to my ears sounds like a different dialect of the Geordie language! The history of this city and the administrative role it has played in the northwest of England through the centuries is fascinating, and its particular geography (sitting just a few miles away from the Scottish border) added to my interest. 

My birthday was in July and I treated myself to a short break in Pembrokeshire in Wales—another first for me. Travelling there took a long time—two coaches and a train, which required rigorous planning and budgeting in advance for me to be able to afford it. Pembrokeshire Travelodge was so wonderful to stay at—brilliant staff and services. Pembrokeshire is an absolute gem: I was spoilt by the breathtaking landscapes—the castle near the national park, the coastal paths and the beaches. I also got to visit the seaside town of Tenby. Authentic Welsh Laverbread was delicious.

My friends and I celebrated my birthday with a full-throttle festival—and what better place to party than Headingley in Leeds? Back home I used to watch the West Indies play England on TV in so many cricket matches at that ground, so it was an absolute delight to be staying 10 minutes away. Headingley also has special memories for me as it was the first place in the north of England that I was dispersed to from Home Office temporary accommodation in Birmingham, in 2017.

Headingley is a lively suburban area with a healthy student population from the campus of Leeds Beckett University. It has great restaurants with cuisine from the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Southeast Asia and India. The Headingley Taps is a wonderful day and night out with open mic nights, karaoke and live music. I had such a great birthday—Leeds is the cultural juggernaut of West Yorkshire: it’s got so much potential.

I rounded off my summer with visits to Hastings and Scarborough. I’ve been to Scarborough multiple times and it’s always a sabbatical from all one’s worries. A night out there is truly good craic.

When the heaviness of life is upon you, you have to find a little bit of happiness where you can—because you never know when it will end. Times of hardship bring clarity about what matters. When you look back at your life, joyful memories are the most important thing of all.