The places of refuge

When walking the country you might wonder, how do we find somewhere safe to camp? Or how do we find help?

Almost every village still has a church and a pub, and as a traveller I’m really coming to appreciate the refuge they offer. Going to the local village pub is a great way to get information and calling up the local church warden helps you find somewhere safe to camp. Churches also shelter you from the rain whilst libraries welcome you to sit, use the computer and get information. They want nothing from you, only your presence. One of the things I’ve noticed which is so important is the availability of toilets and public drinking fountains. Many places have gotten rid of them, which means that you have to go into a commercial space, like a café, and if you’re not buying something you may not be welcome. To have free public access to the most basic things like a toilet, water and a shelter make the difference between feeling part of society and safe, or excluded and insecure. As water, toilets, shelter are all privatised and the government is trying to privatise our healthcare, are we saying that we want those without the ability to pay to cease to exist? Simple things are enough to make you feel welcome, accepted, valid.