A weekend away keeps the burnout at bay

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A few Monday mornings back as I sat eating my breakfast, scrolling mindlessly through my social feeds, these words popped up.

“The world is big, and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark” – John Muir

Now, I am not usually one for an inspirational quote but on this occasion, this captured my attention, and I found its poignancy stuck with me throughout the day.

In the fast-paced world we live in with constant email notifications and bottomless to-do lists, ‘busyness’ has become glorified. And for that reason, most of us have experienced the need to get away from it all and press that shut down and restart button on life.

And so, instead of doing a Bridget Jones and retreating to my sofa with a pint of ice cream, that evening I booked a spontaneous staycation for my other half and me.

White sands and blue skies were absent yes, but the concrete pavements of rainy Manchester were surprisingly the perfect place to recharge without breaking the bank.

And in keeping with my spontaneous streak, I thought we could try something new and book onto a walking food tour.

I must confess, while we both love wining and dining, the thought of walking around Manchester with a tour guide who picks our food for us seemed a little outlandish.

But oh, how wrong we were.

It was the most uplifting, captivating and expertly organised four and a half hours we have experienced in years.

From family run coffee shops and edgy food markets, to 19th century chop houses, Korean bakeries and chic bars, this tour ticked every box.

Venturing down dark alleys and northern backstreets, we both agreed neither of us would have entered some of these places willingly. But the food, the company, and the abundance of local history exceeded our expectations.

I also found myself actually looking at my surroundings for once rather than staring at the pavement.  I learned about multicultural and mercantile heritage, spotted hidden architecture, and listened to Mancunian anecdotes. We weaved between historical buildings and modern skyscrapers through to China town, peeping around corners we would have never thought of visiting while tasting the eclectic cuisine the city has to offer.

And when Rob (our brilliantly knowledgeable tour guide) informed us, we were walking to our final venue, I felt saddened that our tour had come to an end. As we entered this shabby looking antique store and negotiated our way around a sea of once-loved clutter, I saw our final stop – an ice-cream parlour. The Bridget Jones in me was now content as well and I tucked into my dessert with a smile.

If you haven’t clocked on yet, I truly urge anyone visiting Manchester to check out Scranchester Tours – it is well worth a shout! But, if food tours and Manchester streets aren’t quite your thing, everyone deserves the chance to get away once in a while. Those who do are bound to return as recharged, reconnected, and eager for work as I have – even if a few pounds heavier!

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