Every year we look forward to our annual visit to the Isle of Man. Never heard of it? It's a small island (just 32 miles) in between Scotland, Ireland and England. It's not an easy place to reach and often the journey takes over 20 hours depending on flight connections, and when you get there, you also travel back in time.
As a child growing up in Scotland we used to go to the Isle of Man for our summer vacation, and now visiting as an adult I can honestly tell you - little has changed. It's like a time warp and everything is locked into a time when the pace was so much slower and people took the time to chat with you. I think that is why I love going there. I almost feel my body unwind the minute I get off the plane.
The shops close at lunch time and some even on Wednesdays for the half day. It's not unusual to see a note pinned to the door explaining that they've had to close early because Susie's in hospital or something has come up. And the local radio announces stories of missing cats and items that someone wants to trade for something else!
But it's not just the people and the pace, it's the place itself. It has a rugged beauty which when the weather is fine (and it was) is pretty hard to beat. It's sort of a smaller version of Ireland and is often used in films such as Waking Ned Devine to appear like Ireland.
I feel very fortunate to have such a haven in my life. It's a place to retreat, regroup and re-examine your life and for a few days at least, operate on half a cylinder as you rest up and recharge your batteries for the year ahead.
Of course, now that I'm back and I wade through the emails, voice mails and mail, it all starts to fade into the background. But I know, next year, same time, same place - I will be back.