Penarth Times columnist Alison Powell writes:

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” This quote is attributed to St. Augustine. He lived c. 400 AD. I’m not sure if he wrote it or it was an actual utterance, overheard by someone who thought, oh, that’s a good thought, let me book a place on the next galley and jivvy off to lands afar. The Romans were already in Mallorca and France and now my mind is full of thoughts of food, wine, sun soaked terraces, their railings entangled with grapevines and cobalt blue sea lapping on crumbled crumb sand.

I love holidays. I love travel. I love city breaks, cottages in the country, cosy B&Bs, boutique hotels, lazy Mediterranean jaunts and adventuring long-haul. So what is on the agenda in this time of Covid-19, when we hunch over news to understand where we can and can’t go and what we can and can’t do. Not just that, but what we feel ready and willing to do and where we feel calm and comfortable to go.

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I have been used to going pretty much where I wanted to. Of course funds and school holidays place some restrictions, but I have been fortunate that I have been able to flit about from Dubai to Devon, Barcelona to Boston, Penang to Prague and Lagos to the Lake District. Everywhere I have been I have learned something. I went to Belfast last year with my friend Jess and discovered so much more about The Troubles than I had in GCSE History. I went to Jersey and saw in real life the places I had only seen in photographs of German soldiers on the only part of the British Isles to be occupied. I stood in Arlington cemetery and in front of the grave of Joe Louis and I read up on how this boxer transcended his sport in the 1930’s and in Changi Museum in Singapore, I moved around quietly in that heartbreaking and moving place as I tried to understand more about WW2.

It is through food that I most enjoy getting to know about the history and culture of a place, be it a cream tea in Cornwall, pepper soup in Nigeria or the biggest blue cheese burger in New York, every taste tells a tale.

I doubt I shall fly away over the next few months, but I have been thinking about all of the undiscovered gems on my doorstep, from Brecon Beacons to Carmarthenshire and Mumbles to Pembrokeshire, we are incredibly fortunate to live in a place with some gorgeous beaches, soaring mountains and delicious food fairly close by. Maybe St. Augustine will indulge me if I take his meaning to refer to the mind, heart and taste-buds of the traveller and not simply the miles covered. To be open to experiences, ideas, places and people is surely still a page turner, to keep learning, exploring, discovering and wondering, still nourishment for the wandering soul.