The sunshine of your love


I love how a little bit of sunshine has the power to transform the way you see the world, and your place within it. As an English girl used to grey skies, endless winters and dressing in multiple layers, the sudden arrival of the fleeting British summer has sent my heart soaring, and my woolly jumpers packing. In a place that doesn’t see this kind of weather very often, it seems as though the whole country has suddenly sprung to life.

Here in Brighton on the south coast, the normally elusive sun has painted the city in searing shades that leave the pavement thirsty and baking under foot. The streets are crowded before 9am with sun seekers eager to maximise their exposure and the air is laced with the scent of melting tarmac, barbecued chicken and Hawaiian Tropic.

As a soon-to-be nomad who can’t wait to start travelling, for this brief period in time, it feels as though the travel has decided to come to me. It’s a holiday at home.

There is a feeling in the air, one that I normally only get when I leave home for far off lands; that heightened sense of joy, freedom and gratitude that each day is filled with. But as I enjoyed a lazy lunch in the sunshine with a beer and my best friend this weekend, that feeling came flooding over me.

I want to make the most of every moment, and enjoy every minute of sunshine with my friends and family before I leave them for distant climes. After months of over-thinking and planning, I am pushing my thoughts of extended travel aside and taking time to just be – at least until the sun fades.

Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

My mum and I spent the afternoon together on Saturday, sorting through boxes of my no longer needed belongings, and packing them in my car ready to sell at a car boot sale the following morning. Ordinarily, this is not the kind of weekend activity I would take pleasure in, but as the sun shone down upon us, everything felt good. We rewarded ourselves with a glass of wine in the garden, and I snapped a mental photograph of this simple but perfect moment, and tucked it safely away in my mind.

I know I’ll want to look at it over and over again when I am travelling.

This new outlook on life leaves me eager to make the most of each moment, and as the sun leaves me intoxicated by its warmth, I happily mull over some deliciously summer-soaked options. How about a bottle of champagne with dinner? Or a leisurely dinner al fresco in a quaint country pub? Or perhaps a little pre-travelling sojourn?

Emboldened by the weather I’ve found myself eschewing work in favour of Google once again – I know, I said I wouldn’t do that any more, but the sun made me…

With the nearest airport just a twenty minute drive, and the whole of Europe just a short flight away, I’ve been searching the price of Expedia flights to Madrid and Barcelona, and dreaming of tapas, Gaudi and siestas. Muy bien!

Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.
– Hans Christian Andersen

For this brief window in time, the dream that lies just four months away has been temporarily replaced by an overwhelming desire to make the most of my own doorstep, before I cross over it for an indeterminate length of time. I know they say the grass is always greener, but trust me – in this weather, it really is.

So for now, I’m going to go outside and enjoy the life I am already living, before I start living a new one. There is wine, love and summer time. How lucky I am to be here, at home, to enjoy it.

Ok, and maybe I’ll just take one more quick look at those flights again… you never know how long this sunshine is going to last.


{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Leslyn Kantner May 29, 2012 at 01:31

Wonderful post Hannah, but I am dying to know what a “car boot sale” is?


Hannah May 29, 2012 at 07:58

Haha! It’s the British equivalent of a yard sale, but you sell your stuff out of the back of your car! I’ll be writing a post about them soon with photos 🙂


Lindsey May 29, 2012 at 07:05

Ah man, I had this feeling a couple of months ago, just after I made the decision to travel indefinitely. A holiday at home is definitely how I felt, and it really made me appreciate where I live now, even though I do want to experience so much more of the world as well. Enjoy your part of the world while you’re there – you know you want to book those flights 😉


Hannah May 29, 2012 at 08:04

Thanks Lindsey – I really do!


Sarah somewhere May 29, 2012 at 15:30

British summers are the best! I love how everyone rips off their business suits in the parks, flock to the seaside and spill onto sidewalks clutching plastic pints!!!!! You just appreciate the sun so much more when it’s a rare gift. Enjoy 🙂


Hannah May 29, 2012 at 20:45

It truly is rare – sadly it already looks like it’s about to rain again!


Carmel May 29, 2012 at 15:40

Portland is the same way. The sun comes out and everyone wanders outside, bleary-eyed from being indoors far too long, and ready to do EVERYTHING they can in the few sunny days we have. Enjoy it while you can and keep your eyes focused on the bigger goal…I can relate to the temptation of booking a weekend or short trip. If we had more time off, I probably would have been more tempted to buy those cheap tickets to NYC for a long weekend in September. I love your mental photograph of that simple moment. It’s easy to let those slip by unnoticed, but retreating back to those moments will be a cure for your homesickness one day.


Hannah May 29, 2012 at 20:47

Thanks Carmel. Good to know we Brits aren’t the only ones 🙂


Carmel May 29, 2012 at 21:20

Oh gosh no. It only takes a little bit of sunshine before all the white legs come out. It doesn’t even have to be warm!


Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) May 29, 2012 at 21:23

I wish I lived somewhere where I looked forward to the summers! When I lived in Toronto, the final thaw of snow come May was always cause for celebration, but summers in Nashville are SO hot that I much prefer the spring and fall to the overbearing heat and humidity that heralds the reign of summer here in the South. I keep reminding myself that it’s only going to be worse in Asia, but it’s hard to believe it at this point! 😀


Hannah May 29, 2012 at 22:30

Coming from a place that enjoys around 20 days of summer a year, I can’t imagine what it must be like in Nashville, but I’m kinda jealous!


Claire May 29, 2012 at 21:27

Let love rule 🙂


Hannah May 29, 2012 at 22:30



Jeremy or IHeartTravel May 29, 2012 at 21:32

A little sun in your life, a knowing of more adventurous/fun tomorrows, you my friend are living the good life !


Hannah May 29, 2012 at 22:31

As are you my friend 🙂


Marisol@TravelingSolemates May 30, 2012 at 03:13

Aahhh sunshine….had been longing for it but today we got too much of it in NYC. It feels like July:( Glad you enjoyed your burst of sunshine. As usual, your writing is soooo beautiful. Felt like I was reading a poem. Hannah, in my next lifetime I’ve asked that I be made to write like you!


Hannah May 30, 2012 at 08:02

Wow, what a beautiful compliment. Thank you so much Marisol, you have no idea how much that means to me. I hope NYC is a little kinder to you today – I love that city 🙂


Kim May 30, 2012 at 03:55

I definitely understand this! When the sun shines in Portland I am like a new woman… emboldened to enjoy life in a way I normally wouldn’t do everyday. Sunshine is magic!


Hannah May 30, 2012 at 08:04

It certainly is! I’m looking forward to sharing some magic with you soon 🙂


izzy May 30, 2012 at 04:43

Hi Hannah,
I think you bring up a great challenge. How do we enjoy and fully take in our present experiences? How do we develop gratitude for the moments in our life?
The fact that you will soon be leaving this experience for the life of travel seems to have opened your eyes to many beautiful things in your life. I think that is awesome!
I for one, tend to develop gratitude when my experiences are nearing an end or I no longer have access to things.
For example, I currently live in Japan, and there are a lot of things that I simply cannot access. I am from America and moved here about a year ago. There are many things I love about living in Japan but one of the things that is the most powerful is a gratitude for the little things in my life. I now appreciate a conversation with my parents more than ever, being able to read a menu at a restaurant is thrilling, and finding a tortilla is overwhelmingly exciting!
I think it is great that you are finding ways to cherish the little moments in your life.


Hannah May 30, 2012 at 08:07

Thanks for your comment Izzy. I’m not always so aware, but recently have been trying to enjoy the present instead of always dreaming of the future. The good weather certainly makes is a lot easier! Having said that, the first thing I thought of when I woke up this morning was the fact that in exactly four months time, our adventure finally begins. I guess I’m a work in progress!


Alex May 30, 2012 at 19:14

Hey Hannah!
My wife and I just started reading your blog and love it! Can’t wait for you to begin your traveling journey! I completely understand everything you said here. I live in New York City and am so excited for the warm weather to be here after being confined to my small apartment for the winter. Whenever the sun is out, we try to go outside and just enjoy it as much as we can!


Hannah June 2, 2012 at 14:31

Hi Alex, thank you so much! That makes me so happy 🙂 Sadly the sun has already faded here in England, but I hope you guys are enjoying it over in NYC – it’s one of my favourite cities in the world.


Lucie May 31, 2012 at 21:37

This rare gift has gone already and the terrible weather is coming… sad but at least, for a few days, we all truly enjoyed the British summer!


Hannah June 2, 2012 at 14:33

It was wonderful while it lasted, wasn’t it?! The rain has just started here in Brighton – boooo. Why do we never get more than a few days of summer here?! Thank goodness we can travel to get our sunshine fix!


Patricia GW June 4, 2012 at 15:22

Sunshine is so powerful, it really makes the days so much happier. Winters are also endless in Michigan, so when the sun finally comes we appreciate it because we missed it for so long. Wonderful post Hannah, looking forward to the future when you’ll be on those flights to Spain (and the rest of the world!) xx
PS Your writing style is getting even stronger, it’s so uniquely you 🙂


Hannah June 6, 2012 at 00:06

Wow, thank you so much Tricia, that is such a wonderful compliment and means so much to me. It’s taken six months, but I do feel like I am finally beginning to find my voice. It thrills me that you heard it 🙂


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