Browsing the Devon Wildlife Trust website and following their instagram has long been a way for me to find out new nature reserves, trails and places to explore. Recently while being determined to spend more time in the beautiful and on my doorstep Tamar Valley AONB, I discovered that one such nature reserve and trail was just outside of Tamerton Foliot. Warleigh Point Nature Reserve. Armed with the promise of stunning views over the rivers Tamar and Tavy, it gave Emily and I a chance to go out with my parents and blow the working week away without having to do much forward planning. Perfect as we have been house viewing nonstop recently!
I think getting outside and walking is one of life’s simple pleasures. It is pretty much free, and it gives you the opportunity to see and do things that you would have missed out on by staying indoors. As with all simple pleasures, sharing these walks with friends and family is even better than venturing out solo. That is why, after being tipped off that the Tamar Valley trains were running for free, I jumped at the opportunity to head out to Gunnislake with the family in tow. Suspension of cash payments due to Covid19 is a slim silver lining I had to take!
Driving across Dartmoor in sunny weather is always stunning. Heading out of Princetown, Emily and I stopped near Merrivale to start our afternoon. Walking to Kings Tor we wrapped around the Bronze Age settlements, taking in the stone rows, circles and standing stones that have been in place these past 4000 years. I always find it hard to imagine what it must have been like for prehistoric man in such a windswept and open environment. It makes it all the more amazing to think that as a species, even with the most primitive tools, we shaped our environment so early into our history that it would last for millennia.
Emily by the standing stone with the clearly visible remains of a stone circle in the background
After a Covid19 lockdown initiated hiatus, Emily and I made the most of the bank holiday and got out onto Dartmoor. It felt like it had been ages, and in all honesty it really had. 6 months of travel, poor weather and a strict lockdown had prevented us getting out to our local National Park for the best part of a year. Still, that’s the best thing about the outdoors. It’s there waiting for you and it’s all the more glorious for it.
In these uncertain times, it is going to be the little details that make 2020 bearable for a lot of us. To avoid cabin fever, having spent the past 2 months working hard on acquiring government jobs only to have our start dates pulled out from under our feet, we felt the need to stretch our legs. Isolating for physical health is obviously going to have a long-term impact on mental health for a lot of people, and Emily and I decided to regain some sense of normality by heading out to Wembury (one of our favourite places) and picking out a new hike there. Who says you need to social distance inside anyway?
Day 2 of the road trip! Check out Day 1 here. Leaving our farm homestay in the morning, Emily and I headed out to our final new state of the trip – Rhode Island. Smallest state by area, this East Coast state is THE state by the sea. No East Coast road trip would be complete without an early morning stop at Dunkin Donuts. So, once we were fuelled with coffee and sugary goodness we headed straight for our destination of the day: Newport.
Our flight back to London was cheapest from Boston so Emily and I decided to fly from Colorado and spend a week exploring the tri-state area of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Our first few days were spent in Boston itself as we stayed in Cambridge, near the Harvard Campus, and took in the history of the famous colony and it’s place as the academic hub of modern America.
The famous golden dome of the Massachusetts State House
Hawaii 🌸 Truly one of those places you don’t realise how special it is until you visit. A Pacific island paradise, with every convenience you come to expect in America. The problem is it is so remote. A tiny dot in the Pacific and a daunting prospect for travel if you’re from England. Which is why we chose to visit on this trip; flying Taiwan to Colorado you couldn’t ask for a better layover. Since we only had 5 full days we decided from the outset to spend them all on Oahu as there is so much to see and do there.
Kaohsiung has a lot of parks. Which is fantastic. Living in a city, both Emily and I love them and the convenient outdoors green spaces they bring. Lucky for us, Anja and Kevin were able to point us in the direction of many of the best during our stay in the south of Taiwan. Whether wandering around the Lotus Pond or ambling our way around Weiwuying park, we were never too far from nature despite the high rise environment we were based in. With plenty of amazing local delicacies just waiting for us to walk enough to gain an appetite (from savoury beef noodle to peanut butter mochi stuffed waffles) we made sure we got out and about as often as we could!
If you go in through the dragon and out through the tiger you get good luck 🤷
BBQ, dim sum, noodles, drinks, board games and catching up. A ferry to Cijin Island, mooching around local markets trying different street food, walking stretches of black sand beaches and climbing to a lighthouse viewpoint. Our first 24 hours in Taiwan was everything me and Emily wanted. Seeing Anja and meeting her boyfriend Kevin was of course top of the agenda for Emily on this trip through Asia and luckily for us it meant we got the inside scoop on all the best places to eat and things to do in Kaohsiung and beyond.