Capturing our love for art, adventure and learning
10 years ago, Vincent and Debra were on their honeymoon. Vincent was also on a quest to show Debra the home of his heart, mind and soul. He decided that visiting a sleepy Welsh town called Dolgellau was a great idea. He didn't even know how to pronounce the name correctly. It was a rather peculiar plan for a honeymoon considering it was in the middle of a cold dark and windy winter. There was nothing to do and only a really expensive Chinese take-out was open by 4pm. If you consider all these factors and Debra's deep disdain of the wind, Dolgellau is a poor choice.
To make up for that, Vincent took Debra on a drive down a path with many sheep and....field gates that she had to open by exiting the comforts of the car's warm heated seats. I bet she wasn't too impressed. As the windy path got really narrow and steep, Vincent fiddled with the manual gears of his rented Citroen wishing it was an automatic. At this point it could have really just ended with them not finding anything worth looking at and grumbling their way back to the hotel. It could have been one of those wasted trips that they would put behind them...
What they chanced upon at the end of the path was Cregennan Lakes. It was magical. In an instance, both Vincent and Debra fell deeply in love with the land. Apart from the wind and drizzle that cut short that magical moment, work was filling up their emails and it was time to head back to their daily grind on the equator. Ready at the gate for their 13.5 hour flight back, they were surprised that British Airways had upgraded them to business class. The bigger surprise was they were now three instead of two.
The years that follow were hectic. Debra and Vincent pushed themselves far beyond what most people would consider sane. They built a family and a business but a deep subconscious yearning for that place they can feel at home remained. Vincent would always tell Debra, "I miss home". But that didn't make sense. He had a loving home. When Vincent's dad suddenly went home to be with the Lord, nothing made sense anymore. What is home?
They embarked on a grand tour that would help them learn more about themselves, their children and what they were going to do with their lives...
7 months of travel later, they published a book, and this was one of the pages. They continued to dream of the land they would call home.
"It's been 10 years, just give up already..."
"Know when it is time to give up!"
These voices got louder and louder and it became immensely difficult to dream again.
But here is Vincent, Debra, Matthias and Gwyneth in Dolgellau. It took 10 years but here they are.
Eateries, shops and the town felt alive. 4 of them felt alive! Especially with the delicious cheese cakes and full English that filled their tummies.
Just like the previous time, Vincent wrangled a little Citroen up the really steep hills and tiny country roads. And as the lakes came into view, he played the Welsh hymn that has been playing all week at home. As Calon Lân played on the car stereo, there was silence in the car...
I don't ask for a luxurious life,
the world's gold or its fine pearls,
I ask for a happy heart,
an honest heart, a pure heart.
A pure heart full of goodness
Is fairer than the pretty lily,
None but a pure heart can sing,
Sing in the day and sing in the night.
If I wished for worldly wealth,
It would swiftly go to seed;
The riches of a virtuous, pure heart
Will bear eternal profit.
Evening and morning, my wish
Rising to heaven on the wing of song
For God, for the sake of my Saviour,
To give me a pure heart.
As Vincent parked the car in the exact spot he parked 10 years ago, nobody moved. The stillness and silence in the car was in fact a guise to the fact that Debra and Vincent were both reduced to tears looking out of the window. The stillness did not reflect the immeasurable deluge of emotions. Both of them were suddenly and unexpectedly hit with the feeling of homecoming at that moment. Without saying a word to each other, they both felt the same incredible emotions. It took a really long time, but it finally felt right and complete.
Having explored the place for themselves, the kids surprised their parents by asking them to take them there every day.
"It takes a long time to drive here you know..."
"You can look for a house and we can stay here!"
They have all found their happy place. May this be their happily ever after...
An extraordinary afternoon later, they travelled down to the estuary that Vincent chanced upon while exploring the area via Google street view. The place looked strangely familiar.
They drank in remembrance of their beloved dad and grandad.
This is our story of homecoming.
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