I just got back from a four-day holiday in the New Forest. It’s the first time I’ve ever been on holiday on my own. I went to Costa Rica in 2013 alone but I don’t think that counts as it was volunteer work and not an actual ‘holiday’, even though it was beautiful!
Over the past month a lot has happened in my life; namely the breakdown of a 12-year relationship and the daunting realisation that I’m probably going to lose my home and actually have to start functioning as an adult on my own. As you can imagine, my mind feels a bit fried with emotions and worries about the future. A holiday is just what I needed!
When I was a child, I lived in the New Forest for several years and I have so many fond memories there, so it was only logical to visit again. It has been 16 years since I last visited and I was 10 years old then! But I still recognised the roads as I drove in and I started to feel a bit emotional, almost like I was coming home. It was a strange mix of nostalgia and sadness at how much has changed in my life since I was last there. Note to self: It really messes with your head when you revisit places you once lived in!
I stayed in a gorgeous Shepherd’s Hut that I found through Airbnb. It was so well designed with everything I could possibly need for a week away to unwind. I could quite easily have spent hours cooped up indoors with a good book by the fire, it was just that cosy!
But I didn’t drive 250 miles to stay indoors, that would have been silly!
I visited a wildlife sanctuary and took lots of photos of the adorable animals. I did feel a bit self-conscious being there by myself when I was surrounded by so many families and couples, but I befriended a lovely elderly couple who kept pointing out almost-hidden animals to help me get the best shot with my camera! They were so sweet!
Next I travelled to Ashurst station to set off on a walk through the famous forest. I downloaded a walking app on my phone and although I did plan to follow the route, I’m a sucker for overgrown paths that stray from the safety of the footpath! So I took an unplanned detour through a thicker part of the forest and almost had a full-on Vicar of Dibley moment in a deep puddle of mud! But I made it out alive and crossed an unstable-looking bridge that eventually brought me out into open grassland. There were so many wild horses and ponies up there, just minding their own business, it was really lovely to see.
My favourite part of the holiday was the day I spent on the coast. I parked at Barton-On-Sea and walked through Milford-On-Sea to the lighthouse and back. The views from the clifftop were breath-taking, I lost count of how many times I stopped walking just to look out at the view and enjoy the sound of the waves. I timed the day perfectly so I could watch the sun set from the beach, and I’m so glad that I did! I felt overcome with peace while I watched the setting sun disappear behind the waves. I could feel that God was with me, listening to all the little worries and concerns swimming round my head. But most of all I could feel His love for me, and I actually started to tear up as I stood there as it just felt so all-consuming.
My timing wasn’t completely perfect though as I needed a torch to help me find my car at the end of the day! I very almost got lost on the clifftop!
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed hearing about my little adventure and seeing the photos! I created a video of my holiday, you can watch it here.