• Deborah Allen

Love the difference

My husband, Murphy the dog, Basil the parrot and I have just returned from a week’s holiday.

We stayed in a wooden chalet on the edge of the woods with no fancy luxuries , no room service, no pampering and no bright lights, in fact I realised you only actually appreciate how dark the night is when there are no lights!

Luckily we had a torch with to light the path but when we switched it off the sheer vastness and beauty of the night sky was breath-taking, so many stars that you lose count, the moon with grey shadows outlining its hills and craters and the soft wisps of cloud scudding along in the sky. Its breathtaking.

During the day we spent our time walking and exploring the area, taking photos and playing card games, at least my husband and I played cards Murphy and Basil had their own toys to keep them happy.

I love the countryside and so it was wonderful for me to be in a place where my husband and I could walk for hours without seeing anyone , I feel very rich and privileged when I am the only person in such a huge space, it’s as if the world belongs to me. The earthy clean smell of the woods, and the dappled light steaming through the trees casting odd shadows on the ground fascinates me like a small child transfixed by a spinning top.

Much as I hate mushrooms as a food I am strangely drawn to them and I can’t help but take photographs of fungi when I come across them.

In the woodlands of Drenthe, a province in the North east of The Netherlands there is lots of woodland and lots of fungi.

There are also quite a few dolmen dotted around. These are ancient burial tombs and standing stones and in contrast to so many places, in Drenthe these fantastic monuments are not fenced off or guarded and people are not made to pay to visit them, they are simply there for all to see admire and even to touch.

There was so much to see and we really didn’t have enough time to see it all so I can’t wait to go back and explore more of this wonderful province. Yet I realise that this isn’t everyone’s idea of a good holiday. Not everyone wants to be trudging around in the woods wearing wellington boots and old jeans.

I remember years ago, sitting at the computer looking at holidays online with my neighbour. I pointed out what I thought would be a fun holiday, a cross country land rover sightseeing tour in Morocco and her reaction was one of horror..

While my idea of a good holiday is one filled with museums, castles, walking, cycling and exploring, hers is one in a luxury hotel where you open the door and fall onto a white sandy beach with waiters circling around ready to tend to your every need. Which is my idea of hell by the way.

So this year (as in previous years) I cared for her cats while she spent a few weeks in Ibiza lazing on the beach, soaking up the sun and being pampered.

She returned suntanned happy and relaxed and I was happy for her. In turn she waved us off on our choice of holiday wished us a happy time and was quick to pop in and hear how we had enjoyed it when we arrived home.

My neighbour and I get on well, she doesn’t like the same holidays as me it’s true and in so many things we are very different but by accepting those things and concentrating on the things we do have in common we are able to have a decent relationship..

Of course anyone with half an ounce of brain can tell I’m not really writing about my holiday (although what I’ve said is true) or about who likes city breaks and who likes beaches or who likes country walks, its about the fact that everyone is different, we like different things, we believe different things, and why shouldn’t we have those choices?

Yet for some reason we are being led along a path on which our differences are pointed out as if they are traps waiting to waylay the unwary , being told that anyone different is evil and out to get us. We are being led to believe that anyone who doesn’t fit the mould is bad.

Here’s some news.. none of us fit the mould , each and every one of us is unique and different and yet we are all the same, we are all human beings. Surely it’s time to accept the differences as individual choices and see the similarities as the things that connect us.

Yes there are some evil people out there but they are not always the ones that are ‘different’.

Learn to accept , learn to love difference.

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