I used my Gateway funding to go on an independent tour of the Southwest of the UK from the 30th of June to the 4th of July. I was primarily based in the Glastonbury area in Somerset, however I managed to also visit South Wales. The purpose of this trip was to learn more about my Somerset and Welsh heritage, as well as to experience the unique bohemian vibe of Somerset and learn about New Age culture. Overall, despite the challenges of planning a solo trip and navigating a new place using public transport, it was a very fun time, and it was an excellent experience learning about New Age communities.
I started off my trip travelling by train to Somerset, which was challenging as the countryside in the West Country is not well connected by public transport. Luckily, once I arrived in Butleigh, Somerset, the residence I was staying in had a car, so I was able to use that, as well as the limited public transport. As someone who has grown up in a city, this was a foreign experience, but I dealt with it by being more structured in my planning.
Glastonbury was a fascinating place to visit, as it is a unique combination between a quaint English town and a bohemian New Age haven. I am very interested in hippie culture and aesthetic so visiting the witch shops and hippie cafes was an insightful experience for me and a chance to see authentic Pagan practices. Moreover, I climbed Glastonbury Tor, a hill that has an enthralling history and mythical connections to Arthurian theory.
I briefly visited South Wales, where I stayed with relatives. This was a lovely opportunity to connect with family whom I do not normally get to see. After this, I returned home to Edinburgh which turned out to be a challenge as it involved four unexpected train changes and many train delays.
Overall, my trip to Somerset and Wales was really rewarding for learning about my origins, as well as developing my interest in New Age communities. The transport aspect of the trip presented many challenges; however this improved my confidence in travelling to new places and being out of my comfort zone.
Undergraduate student, Law