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  1. And so here we are. Caught up in a living nightmare that we never imagined, even in our worst dreams. Coronavirus, a word that now spreads fear among every sector of our community. A word that has changed our lives as we know it.

    I have sat pondering this life changing event over the last few weeks, trying to compute in my fuddled brain, just exactly what is going on in the world right now. My anxious mind flits from one worry to another, never quite easing the constant panic that I feel on a continuous basis. I wake up every morning and for a split second the world feels normal and then I remember - the nightmare is real and increasing its intensity every second of every day.

    Looking for positives in my life, I search for the little things that bring me hope. A small green shoot in my favourite plant that appears overnight makes me smile. The warm sun on my face as I take my once a day walk with my dog George. The appearance of bees as they wake up, triggered by the warming weather, making themselves busy as they fly round looking for interesting flowers to land on. It’s the little things, I say to myself, as I suddenly become aware of ‘little things’ I had never noticed before.

    Then I realise that life will never be the same again and somehow this comforts me. Like the fresh green shoots, I see this difficult time as a catalyst for new growth and new beginnings. During this period of lockdown I see many people evaluating their own life and assessing just what is truly important to them. Careers, spirituality, relationships, finances and even where we choose to live, will all come under close scrutiny by many of us over the next few months.

    And while there is so much negativity and fear surrounding our lives right now, there is also the prospect of hope for the future. Here in Knaresborough I have seen the community coming together with one common purpose – to help each other through a difficult time. Businesses, community groups and individuals have put personal issues to one side and volunteered time, goods and genuine care for those who need us right now, namely the vulnerable and the elderly. This community spirit has been likened to the Blitz spirit of the Second World War, when the people of Britain gathered together to help support each other and fight the common enemy. Only this time, our enemy is invisible, and in many ways, much harder to fight. But still the strong community spirit fights on, determined to win through the dark days.

    It is this community spirit I believe will last long after this crisis has passed. This dogged determination to support each other, whatever the cost, will live on into the future. Personally, I cannot wait for the day when I can walk into my hometown and enjoy the freedom of shopping at the small local businesses that kept their doors open to supply food and other essentials to the local community. I am looking forward to seeing the smiling faces of the local townsfolk as they stop to talk to each other, smiling, with a genuine gratitude for friendship with a complete stranger. I am looking forward to hugging my friends and enjoying a catch up over coffee and cake.

    I have great hope that this crisis will leave a positive legacy, long after the memories of toilet roll shortage and solitary walks have disappeared. The role of community in our society will live on stronger than before. We will come through this holding our head high, but holding hands with our neighbour. We will arrive as strangers, but leave as friends. We will mourn, we will remember and we will carry on, together, as one.

     

    Stay safe, take care of yourself and each other.

    Much love

    Susanna xx

  2. Staycations are a modern concept for a holiday taken close to one's home or in one's home country. Although the word might be modern, the concept is certainly not new. We have all chosen to take holidays close to home, for different reasons. It could be for financial reasons or it may be that we prefer not to travel far due to travel anxiety.

    However, what if we chose to stay near home for our holiday for more positive reasons? I wonder if any of us have stopped to think about how taking a holiday close to home can have a massive benefit to our health?

    Here in the UK we are blessed with so many wonderful places to take our holiday, from coast to town to countryside. I am very fortunate to live in Knaresborough, a beautiful town surrounded by stunning countryside and a holiday destination for so many UK residents.

    So, what are my reasons for thinking that 'staycations' may be beneficial to our health? And is it something that we should all be looking at, as an absolute essential to our life?

     

    LESS STRESS

    OK. I admit it. I have a fear of flying. For me, it spoils the enjoyment of preparing for the holiday. Whilst most people get excited about the prospect of a holiday abroad, I dread it so much that I refuse to talk about it in the weeks leading up to the departure date. Of course I do get on the plane, but the added stress and anxiety has an adverse effect on my body and state of mind.

    Even without a fear of flying, many people find travelling abroad stressful and anxiety triggering. With flight delays, the fear of forgetting essential items and even worry about leaving our beloved dog behind, can detract from any enjoyment of the actual holiday. Staycations can alleviate this stress and therefore make us calmer.

     

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    IT'S EASIER TO PACK

    If you holiday near home it is SO much easier to pack (knowing if you have forgotten anything you can find a shop that will sell it). We all worry when we travel to a another country about what happens if we forget our essential medication. I know I always pack extra tablets as I would hate to run out when on holiday, especially in a foreign country. 

    When I travel in this country I can pack my case in an hour as I am not as regimented as I am when packing for a trip abroad. Adversely, it can take me DAYS to pack for a holiday abroad and I am the Queen of 'To Do' lists as I am so nervous I will forget something. Once again, it is SO much less stressful packing for a short break close to home and this is a positive point about staycations.

     

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    TRAVELLING

    OK. I know there are many people out there who actually enjoy the journey as part of their holiday. However, I am not one of them. If I could have some of that magic Floo Powder that Harry Potter uses, then I would happily be transported to my destination quicker than I could blink. I just want to be at my destination as quickly as possible. I want to be unpacked and relaxing within a couple of hours and sadly this never happens if you are travelling abroad, even without any delays. When you stay close to home for your holiday, the prospect of a long day ahead travelling is non existent, as you travel just an hour up the road to your new holiday destination. For me, that is perfect and a big part of where I choose to have my staycation.

     

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    DOG FRIENDLY

    There are so many dog friendly places now, that as dog owners we have such a choice in holiday destinations. Many dog owners, myself included, do not want to put their beloved dog into kennels and so a holiday with their pet is the best option. I undertook some recent research for this blog post and I found that many dog owners are choosing to stay close to home with their dog as they are unhappy about leaving them behind. As dogs play a big part in our lives and are part of the family, it is becoming more and more common to take your pet on holiday.

     

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    Me and my dog George.

     

    FINANCIAL COST

    The cost of travelling abroad is getting more expensive and who knows how that will change in the future. There are many varieties of accommodation here in the UK that you can pick and choose according to your budget. This becomes especially important if you are travelling with a family. In my own experience, when children are very young they are happy with simple holidays and are not even aware if they are abroad or not.

     

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    HEALTH BENEFITS

    Finally and perhaps most important is the general benefit to health. If we use all our holiday annual leave on one big holiday, then we actually have to wait another twelve months before we can have another one. I have done this myself in the past and almost feel like I haven't even had a holiday at all. How many times have you come back from a holiday and within a couple of days, forgotten all about it. Personally I would prefer to have a few smaller holidays over the year as I feel that would be of more benefit to my overall health. Mentally, this gives me a focus of a positive future as I always have something to look forward to.

     

    FINAL THOUGHTS

    So what are your thoughts on staycations? Do you prefer stay at home holidays or do you prefer the traditional way of holidaying by taking two week holiday abroad every year? Have you thought about holidaying somewhere like Knaresborough? Why not take a look at our beautiful town and see for yourself why Knaresborough is a perfect staycation destination.

    As much as I love the sunshine on my face, I really do love my little breaks here in the UK. And on that note it may be time to plan some more staycations for me and my other half and George my dog, of course.

     

    Until next time dear friends

    Best wishes

    Susanna - Knaresborough Online.