I come from a tiny village near Peterborough in one of the flattest parts of the world. It’s typical old England with villages full of old stone houses and village life centred around the church and pub. I’ve lived in this area my whole life, Sarah Outen (Indian Ocean Rower) lives just up the road and we both went to school with Dave Cornthwaite (skateboarded across Austrailia and kayaked down the Murray River). Tom from Ride Earth comes from a small village just five miles from me. Helen Lloyd is not from far away and she’s cycling solo to Cape Town down the West Coast of Africa. Why do we have this glut of youth willing to travel to the ends of the earth for adventure?
Cynical people would say that it’s because the area we live in is incredibly dull and mundane and that the system we grew up in spoon fed us too much making life easy and mundane. I agree with this to some extent-life is good here and that makes challenges tempting; but I also think there is a spirit of the underdog with us. The two best examples I can give come from a few decades ago when there was a big craze for twinning. Twin towns and sister cities are two of many terms used to describe the cooperative agreements between towns and cities in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.
Now the small villages of the East Midlands were not going to be left out on this fun so Stoke Doyle, the village where my Mum is from, a small village (population of around 50maybe, one pub, one church, fish and chips van comes round each Friday) outside of Oundle wrote to Barecelona (massive city in Spain) to ask to be considered to be twinned. There could have been some confusion but for some reason the answer came back yes-maybe they thought it was from Stoke (a big city in the North of England), my cousin even got to go over to Barcelona as part of the twinning exchange! 1-0 to the small people!
Not to be beaten Whitwell a small village on the edge of Rutland Water about 15miles north of Stoke Doyle wrote to Paris. Sadly they got no response, twice. In the third letter rumour has it that they stated that if they didn’t recieve a response in the next month then they will presume that they are twinned. 2-0 to us!
I’m honestly considering putting pen to paper and getting my village twinned with Vegas. Or maybe Kabul? Or Bagdad? Any suggestions?