Friday, January 28, 2011

Smitten By Britain

Hello everyone. At Brits In America we meet a lot of Brits who love the USA so this week I thought it would be a nice idea to talk to an American with a love of Britain. So I spoke with Melissa Stoey who produces the excellent Smitten By Britain website. Melissa has an insatiable appetite for all things British. She lived in England twenty years ago and her love for Blighty has never left her. She is also the mum of a Briton which makes her as pleased as Punch.

Hello Melissa. Where abouts in America do you live?

If you could live anywhere in Britain, where would it be and why?
This question is so unfair for a true Britophile like me because there are so many places to love.
At the end of the day, it really doesn't matter to me as long as I am there. The great thing about Britain is it is so accessible I would never be too far away from another great place to see.
I just want to be there, period.

City/Town/Countryside: Which do you prefer?
Even though I live in a rural area I am a city girl at heart and I love Britain's cities. Naturally I have been to London many times, as well as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Cambridge, Oxford, Bath, and Nottingham, but I'm very much looking forward to seeing York, Newcastle, Chester and Manchester in 2012.

Your top 3 places In Britain?
Again, city girl: London, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Where is the one place you would not return to?
Last year I would have had a terrible time answering this question, then I spent a night in Hounslow this summer. Safe to say, I won't be returning.

Who would be your ideal travel partner?
My husband. He is so easy going and does everything I ask. What more could you want?

What is your best British travel experience?
To date it would have to be the bus tour we took through Glencoe, Scotland. We used Rabbie's tours and they were superb. The guide was very informative and had a wicked sense of humour. I know it sounds cliche but he played a Scottish soundtrack during our tour that really added to the ambiance. Now just the first few chords of Loch Lomond brings tears to my eyes. Very good memories indeed. I highly recommend Rabbies tours.

What annoys you most when travelling?
People who don't know where they are going and stop dead center right in front of you while you're walking. I had quite a few near misses this summer while touring London.
If you need to stop and look at a map, move over to the side and out of the way of oncoming traffic.

What would be your one piece of advice for people travelling to Blighty?
This goes for travelling anywhere in the world and that is to blend in as much as possible. Make yourself as much a part of the scenery as you can and don't make it so obvious that you're a tourist. Have respect for the country and culture you are visiting; be sensitive to what is socially acceptable as far as attire, behaviors and manners. And remember the saying
"When in Rome..." Get out of your comfort zone, stay away from McDonald's and live like the locals as much as possible.

If you could travel to anywhere in Britain right now, where would it be? 
The northeast, specifically Whitby, York, Durham and Newcastle which are at the top of my list for summer 2012

What can you not travel without?
A camera - without it, what's the point?

What stops you from just moving to the UK?

 I'm divorced from my British husband and remarried to an American now so I have no right to live in the UK at the moment, despite having a son with dual citizenship. As you know the UK government has tightened the immigration laws quite a bit in the last few years so my only hope now is to find sponsored employment.

If you did make the move is there anything from America you'd miss?

 Other than my family, no there isn't much I would miss. An American sized clothes dryer maybe? I dare anyone to live in the U.S. and not miss their large load, quick drying clothes dryer when they move to the UK. (I'm not bashing the British clothes dryer. I understand why it's small. It's out of necessity. Island living equals small houses, small kitchens and small appliances.)

Honestly, Britain has changed so much in the last twenty years and dare I say it, become more "Americanized",  so many of the conveniences I missed the first time around are now part of the culture: cable TV, shops open on Sunday, more fast food restaurants and 24 hour conveniences. I'm not saying these things make one happier but as an American they are the things I grew up with and what I missed most twenty years ago. What I didn't have was the kind of technology we have today. I think Expats have it much easier now when it comes to keeping in touch with their loved ones. They can use email, Facebook and Skype. In 1988, we made expensive monthly calls and actually posted handwritten letters. Imagine that? is the home of the Britophile and is full of all things British. If you're missing 'home' then this is a great site to visit. 

Parts of this interview originally appeared on The Blighty Traveller

1 comment:

What Valerie Thinks said...

Great post. As an American who has moved to the UK, I relate to a lot this!

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