We all like to escape the everyday routines at home. I like to escape winter where I stay which is usually 11 months and 3 weeks long on a good year.
To be fair, in my younger years the main thing I learned was that I could go out clubbing all night and still get up in time for breakfast. Well I call it clubbing, but I am not sure if discoing is a word! I also found that 3am was the ideal time for a hamburger roll and onions, before continuing the night till about 6am. Or I think it would have been about 6am- I could never actually remember ever deciding to call it quits! I finally made the awful discovery that it was not a good idea to get back to the hotel at 6am and have to pack before the pick up coach came for us at 7am!
Those days are just a distant memory now. In the years inbetween the travel industry has changed and we don’t just have to pick our holiday through a glossy travel agent brochure. I love to travel and see new things, as well as some relaxation. I have enjoyed finding out about the history of a place. I have visited many places that I would never have imagined as a young adult. I have stood without moving for a good hour in awe at the Taj Mahal at daybreak. I also found out then that you could actually enter it, somehow that information had escaped me. I got very emotional for some reason when we suddenly arrived at the Trevi Fountain. I stood at the base of the Christ the Redeemer statue despairing that I couldn’t see as it was covered by the clouds, only for the sun to suddenly break through and the statue to appear as if by miracle. I have visited the Grand Canyon twice and been blown away by its beauty. I am not sure if my nerves would allow me a third visit as my OH likes to go right up to the edge. Me- I would have to be crawling on my hands and knees to have any chance of being close to the edge!
I have seen the results of the devastation of war in Cambodia and Vietnam and talked to those who went through it. I will never forget the childrens art in the War Remnants museum. I cried seeing that. I also shed tears in Auschwitz, Birkenau and Terezin and the beautifully kept Kanchanaburi war cemetery. I also realised how many brave people there have been and asked myself what I would have done?
One thing I am really interested in is exploring beliefs from around the world. I am not religious but enjoy seeing different places of worship, ceremonies and just talking to people. I have had some fascinating conversations. I remember one taxi driver in India who just could not understand why I didn’t believe. He couldn’t get his head around it.
I love trying out new food, although I just couldn’t force down the sheep eye in Tunisia! At home we make lots of different dishes from our holidays. My favourite is Thai.
I have found out that my OH is a dog and cat magnet! Where ever we go they seem to find him! They always end up sitting on his lap( cats) or by his seat.
I am often envious of the places people live in. But quite often it is paradise only for holidaymakers, not those who stay there all the time. Everywhere has its good and bad points.
Languages- for years I tried to learn Greek. I spent hour upon hour on it but know where they got the expression – It’s all Greek to me! In Thailand we tried out several phrases in restaurants only to have the person staring blankly at us and asking in English what it was we wanted. One time we went back to our hotel and repeated a phrase to our receptionist who understood it and laughed. She told us that a lot of the locals in the service industry took it as an insult if you tried to speak in Thai as they were perfectly able to understand English.
I have learned I can go through a whole holiday with my luggage away on a completely different holiday of its own. Its surprising what little you actually need. It did help that I was in Goa at the time and I could pretend to be a hippy! That was also the time I learned never to book a flight in the first couple of days of a new terminal opening!! My luggage went to Heathrow, Nice. Heathrow, Mumbai, Heathrow, Dublin, Heathrow and finally home- a week after we got back. We got a phone call when it arrived in Mumbai one day after we had arrived home! It was awarded a BA gold card ! Now every time we are packing my OH asks do I really need all of it. I wouldn’t care but I pack half of what I used to!
I have learned that children can amuse themselves with the simplest of things that ours would be horrified with. I watched a child in Goa with a plastic bottle. Every day that bottle was something else- a car, boat or train. I nearly bought him a toy to give on our last day and then I realised that it might be insulting. His parents obviously adored him. He didn’t lack for clothes or food and they were all happy. Who was I to decide he needed something else? Elsewhere in India I watched children emerging from buildings which looked as if they had been hit by a tsunami( they were well inland), with no running water in their home. These children were going to school and they were absolutely immaculate. Also in India( and Cape Town) in the “slums” I realised that my preconceived ideas were so wrong and almost all folks there work so hard to gain a living.
I have had little adventures such as being lost in a jungle in Vietnam and wondering just what side our guide had fought for in the war as he left us there!
We may not have a fancy house or a big car but we have loads of memories and it wouldn’t change it! I could write a book on my travels but I think I should stop now as its probably a long enough piece of writing as it is.
One thing that I know would make a fortune for someone- a cure for jetlag!
What have you gained from travel?
2. DON'T take too many clothes with you (invariably, my wife ends up at the end of the holiday with a couple of piles of stuff that hasn't even been unfolded!)
3. Chill out when travelling (you will get there eventually) but don't hit the bottle if you get delayed (personal bitter experience!!!-a hangover from Hell on a 9 hour flight)
4. Have patience (does it really matter if your meal takes an hour to arrive - you ARE on holiday!!)
5. Organise your budget - nothing worse than having to "economise" for the second week because you went mad in the first week!
Never to drink alcohol on the night before you travel home 😱 Nothing worse than a hangover when you're on the move. My friend & I woke at 8.30am & were due to be picked up at 9am. Not good, although we thought it hilarious at the time.
Now our son is older don't travel during school holidays 😁
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