Old Habits

Greenlydia - A South African Travel Blog

They really do die hard. As an average traveler, I have a few odd things I do when I travel. Case and point, licking things. Also, fridge magnets and selfies with notable landmarks. But I have not so unusual habits too. Since our first visit to Europe, I have always been a sucker for history and have often mentioned it here.

History and architecture are two things that have fascinated me since my Art History days. I can sit in front of cathedrals for hours just staring at them. Reading up about castles and the cool things that happened in them or just sitting in old town squares looking around at the small homes with tiny doors and wondering who used to live there and if they thought their own homes were as cool as I think they are.

This love for both history and architecture has lead me into many a cathedral and chapel all over the world. I got married in a Catholic Church (because my husband’s parents have both passed and I know they would have wanted their son to get married the way they did) but I did not convert. The Catholic faith has been discussed around our dinner table with friends and we often discuss topics others deem taboo. (Religion and politics for example) I live for a good debate.

Anyway, not being Catholic doesn’t mean I do not appreciate the tradition and rituals that go along with it. The holy water at the door, the stories in stained glass windows, the beautiful and oh-so-old churches all over the globe. But there is one aspect of it that has always been very special to me. The lighting of a candle for someone else. For whatever reason, that might be. Perhaps a loved one lost, maybe someone who is going through a really hard time, anything.

Maybe it’s the sentimental side of me that loves the thought of creating light for someone else.

I have lit a candle in every church, chapel, and cathedral I have ever visited. It might be cheesy yes. But maybe a little bit of light from the other end of the globe is all it takes. You get people in life who film themselves as they are doing things for others. You get those who preach “Charity starts at home” and then you get people like me. I get such a thrill from doing something for someone else. Even something small like paying attention and buying someone their favourite brand of cookies to keep in my cupboard for when they come over. To helping to make bigger dreams come true.

Something inside me feels good when I can add just a little light. So I light a candle wherever I go. So many times I hear people travel and they get miserable when things don’t work out the way they wanted it to. Plans changed and suddenly “the trip is ruined”.  A long time ago that if I REALLY want to enjoy where I am (in life and the world) I need to stop lugging around the big fancy camera and tightly packed schedule and just stop, appreciate where I am, light a candle for those who can’t be there with me and be thankful.

Next time you find yourself in a church and you put your phone and camera away for 15 minutes, spare a thought for those you left at home. Be happy knowing your people are okay and create a little light for those who are going through a dark time.

These snaps were taken in a little church in Wiltshire.




  • Mom Of Two Little Girls

    Beautiful. I too love history and old churches in particular. When I lived in the UK I lived in London for half the time, and York for the other half. Amazing history and churches in both locations. Lovely post.

    June 20, 2017 - 9:32 am Reply
    • greenlydia

      So glad to hear others enjoy the history too 😉

      June 20, 2017 - 1:08 pm Reply
  • Melanie

    This post made me smile. I’m on a similar journey to trying to shed a bit more light, be a little less selfish, and just do things for others without expecting anything back. I’ve never lit a candle in a church before… that I know of. I think I really need to do that soon. Your pics are GORGEOUS!

    June 20, 2017 - 11:50 am Reply
    • greenlydia

      thank you so much Melanie 🙂 And please do light a candle. The world can use a little more light.

      June 20, 2017 - 1:07 pm Reply

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