The Isle of Man is a captivating place to call home; with rolling hills of green that plunge into the unpredictable Irish Sea, and fables of Bugganes, the Moddey Dhoo and Manannan himself, evoking a real sense of mysticism throughout our fair Isle.
For most, it is a dream to live in such a place, however; the pursuit of career, travel and even love leads many to fly the nest.
I have been travelling for almost eleven months now and despite it being an undeniably incredible experience thus far, it can be equally as exhausting, provoking one to reminiscence the little things of home.
The conversation arises often with fellow travellers I meet:
“What do you miss from home?”
“A real cup of tea” and “my bed” are the usual responses.
Coming from such an idyllic place, I decided to cast the question to my fellow Manxies far and wide, be it travelling or living elsewhere, what do they miss about the Isle of Man?
The proximity of family and friends:
Hannah, “Being a five minute drive away from a cup of tea with your friends.”
Tabby, “Seeing family and friends, I miss family meals the most!”
Henry, “Family, I miss taking my little cousin for his swimming lessons.”
Rachel, “Sitting in watching TV with my Nana and walking the beach with Cooper.”
Andrew, “Family that would welcome you back in a heartbeat. Walking down Strand Street and having to stop six times to talk to people you know. A night out resulting in an unofficial school reunion.”
…no doubt the outback dance floor has seen its share of unofficial school reunions!
The emotional connection to those that surround us:
Jessica, “Animals of course, and genuine hugs from people you know.”
Alex, “Being with friends who I don’t have to explain myself to, friends who just know me, my personality, history, strengths and weaknesses.”
While being displaced from familiarity you begin to reflect upon the little things:
Rachel, “Always having toilet roll”
Alex, “The safety of walking around at night alone. Being able to keep my shoes on wherever I go.”
Andrew, “Energy FM News where they sound so serious about a pint of milk being stolen or something. Seeing bus drivers wave at each other.”
Hannah, “Manx cheddar cheese!”
Chelsea, “My mum, cups of tea and decent chocolate”
Katie, “A Davison’s whippy with sauce and a flake. The fish van in peel.”
Alex, “British tea and real IOM Creamery milk, not that UHT Sh*t.”
Andrew, “Blackberry picking on the railway line and the pubs in Peel.”
Henry, “Roast dinners. The IOM tap water! Cadbury Dairy Milk, whilst you can get it in Asia, they use a disgusting formula here which is different to the UK.”
After being titled a UNESCO biosphere reserve, it is unsurprising how closely connected the Manx are to nature and our surroundings. There is something intrinsic about being born and raised on an island, I see it all around the world.
We are drawn to the sense of community, taking things easy citing ‘Traa dy Liooar’, and endlessly yearning for the sea.
Hannah, “The fresh air, beaches, scenery, dogs, and friendliness of the Manx people.”
Anya, “The sea, the trees and how many beautiful walks there are. The tiny towns and how familiar they all feel.”
Henry, “The cold weather. Hong Kong is so hot and humid it has been a killer!”
Hannah, “The weather, the smell of the sea and fresh air, I miss walking and not seeing a single person.”
Katie, “Camping, Fenella beach and walking up Peel Hill. Not to mention short commutes!”
Andrew, “I miss the sea, the fresh breeze and salty air. The glens, beaches and hills. How you know its spring because the daffodils come out. The smell of wild garlic, seaweed and smoke from the Kipper House. Walking around those places which bear so much history where everything feels so old. The peacefulness and silence, you don’t realise how loud it is all the time until you go home and become aware of quiet it can be. The silhouette of Peel Castle or Bradda Head during a sunset. How people smile at you for no reason, I miss old people, dogs, the sound of seagulls, church bells, and the lifeboat practice siren. Driving down country lanes for miles and then having that thought like ‘omg that lane comes out HERE?!’”
Our tiny Island may have flaws, but it is true that distance can provide a new perspective. To come from such a small place that has impacted our lives so deeply, a place where our friends lived in such close vicinity our parents let us loose on bicycles, boards and buses, one where you are you can be walking along a blustery beach within a 10 minute drive, where you can disappear into the hills and not see anyone for hours, or step into a pub and know almost everyone in the room.
The quirks of the Isle of Man are innumerable. Love it or hate it the Isle is a unique place, rich with history and beauty, and it will always be a place to call home.