1. When you are asked where you grew up and you respond with “The New Forest”, you know that it is highly likely that they don’t know where it is.
2. And if someone tells you that they have stayed in the New Forest, it is likely that they didn’t actually stay in the New Forest because they don’t know where the forest boundaries are.
3. You look back and feel proud that you managed to survive living in a place with no phone signal…
4. … and a place where you got used to broadband download speeds being like this the whole time.
5. You watched BBC South Today, even though you knew that it never had any news about the New Forest in it for some reason.
6. You didn’t find this holiday camp name funny because you’re so used to seeing it and being told by others that it exists…
7. … even though there is a pub right next door to it with a similarly witty name.
8. You also got frustrated that tourists didn’t know how pronounce things in the New Forest correctly. For example, this place isn’t pronounced ‘Lover’…
9. It’s pronounced “Low-Ver”. And don’t you forget it.
10. The tourists love seeing wild ponies walking into the road. As a local you absolutely hated it.
11. Tourists slowing down their cars to admire ponies at the edge of the road? WORST THING EVER.
12. Having a cow stumbling on to the road? GOOD LUCK BEING ABLE TO EVER GET HOME EVER.
13. And what was it like driving at night? Terrifying. At night the New Forest looks like this.
14. You also know to stay away from Lyndhurst during the summer, because it is so clogged of tourist traffic it feels like an R.E.M video.
15. But enough cynicism. You loved this place. You’re proud that this was your region’s greatest export*.
16. That there are no ugly buildings anywhere, as everyone lived or had businesses in these.
17. That even though the distance to the nearest club or happening venue was a little bit far…
… and frustrating because there were no buses past 5pm on any given day…