Is it just me or does anyone else become way more patriotic when they’re travelling? At home I never really consider the fact that I’m half English/half Welsh and I’m quite laid back about living in the UK. In fact, come to think of it, I probably spend more time moaning about politicians than I do singing the county’s praises.
But when I’m travelling it’s a totally different story. Suddenly I remember all of the things I love about home: the NHS, our free education system, the fact that we have the best fish and chips in the world (I went all the way to New Zealand to prove that point).
I find myself getting into heated debates in hostels, defending my country and even though I have absolutely no interest in sport back at home, I weirdly find the need to cheer for England in every possible match. I even joined a few other hardy travellers to stay up all night to watch the opening of the 2012 Olympics in London from a bar in Beijing, much to the annoyance of the staff.
So why do I care so little at home? It is just because my days are so busy and I don’t feel like I have time to be proud of the UK or is it just that I meet fewer people who challenge my beliefs about my country?
This lack of interest hasn’t always been the case. When I was younger my sister and I were sent to school wearing the traditional Welsh costume knitted by our granny on St David’s Day, the patron saint of Wales. Sadly for you (and luckily for me) I don’t have any photos to hand but needless to say, they were pretty impressive. And yes – because we lived in England – we were the only kids in the whole school who did it, but we used to love the excitement of dressing up and knowing that it was a special day for us.
So this year, even though I’m back home, I’ve decided to be a bit more patriotic tomorrow on St David’s Day. I’ve bought my daffodils and I might even try and make a few Welsh cakes. Although it may be a step too far to turn up at the library in national costume.