Me and my blog
Who am I, where do I come from and why am I here?
I think I’m supposed to do a little thing about me so you know whether to bother reading any of my stuff.
Following the sentiments of Morcombe and Wise, I’m on the lookout for sunshine and laughter. I offer tales of mishaps and successes from my family’s travel adventures, providing a few lessons learned along the way to help you avoid our pitfalls and holiday a little better. Anecdotal evidence is the general idea.
An early drifter
My vaguely nomadic start in life alerted me to the fact that the world was a little bigger than I had originally noticed.
I was born into the glamour of the Midlands and blew north up the motorway to Newcastle-Upon-Tyne for the remainder of my childhood. Seeking warmth, I next migrated south, to Bristol, for university. But what and where next? Didn’t fancy the sound of getting a job much.
Looking to avoid gainful employment for as long as possible, I found myself drifting back towards the middle of the country again, to Nottingham this time, for a bonus year of study/drinking at Law School. The ingenious/weird thing about applying to be a solicitor is that you do it 2 years before you want to start your actual job, giving you leverage to apply for a loan and to then swan off for a year of travelling, before having to face the cold hard reality of office life.
Big girl travel
That year cemented my transformation into a travel addict. Gap years are currently massively in vogue but at that time I hadn’t met anyone apart from my sister who had done this kind of thing (which I viewed as a massive if totally terrifying adventure).
I started gently, flying out to Israel to join my sister on a Kibbutz. Not so gentle was working the 4am shift in the olive/pickling factory. Stage 2 was a volunteer job in Thailand, where, in exchange for teaching English and ballroom dancing (!) at a secondary school in Chiang Mai, I got to board with the Headmistress.
From there I was on my own for the first time as a fledgling traveller. It was a short hop to Australia where I flew into Darwin for the wet season (rookie error), then worked my way up from loo cleaner to receptionist in backpackers around the nation, saving enough to enjoy the rest of my round the world ticket as an unemployed wastrel on a budget of £10/day.
Doing time and travel repreive
I returned home to do my time as a solicitor for 5 years, before being lucky enough to meet my husband who had yet to go travelling, but really wanted to. This was the perfect excuse to throw it all in again and head off on an 18 month travel spree, this time with a couple more pounds in our pockets (though still having to top up with work for the Western Australian Police, Amnesty international and in a paper factory), culminating in a Vegas wedding on the very last day. The end.
A new chapter - family travel
Or so I thought. I now have 2 teenage boys and, working in a school, have been able to embark on some more adventures as a family. We started small with newspaper discount caravan holidays in Cornwall and Devon, but now they are older and I have caught up on the missing sleep, we have together navigated the Moscow metro in the snowiest winter in 20 years (that writing is HARD to read) and dealt with head injuries in Moroccan hospitals. Things rarely go to plan, but you always get a better story at the end.
Which is why I decided to start writing them up in the summer of 2019 – so I can share the stories and a lifetime of travel tips, and so that others can maybe learn from my mistakes without having to make them themselves.
I’ve always wanted to sit down and write this list. It seems a bit “look at me”, but I’m doing it under the guise of establishing my credentials as a travel writer so I’m just going to go for it, with abiding associated travel memory:
Australia – woken by a fruit bat hanging off the end of my bunk
Brunei – seeing a real Sultan’s Palace
Cuba – smoking cigars and drinking mojitos in the hotel where they were born
Czech Republic – getting off a train in the woods without a map or phone
Dubai – hanging out in the airport with red Ferraris and acres of gold chain
Egypt – rescuing fellow tourists from the Nile following a boat-capsizing incident
Fiji – commuting to the mainland on a rowing boat in a storm
Germany – popped in for a sausage lunch
Greece – memories of crystal waters, scalding back volcanic sand and providing some bed bugs with their tea
Hungary – standing next to people shooting fireworks from their hands at New Year
Indonesia – having a sarong stolen by a pig
India – being pursued down the street by a beggar on a skateboard
Ireland – being chased (sensing a theme here) by a lady with a hammer after deciding not to stay in her garden which she was calling a campsite
Israel – seeing soldiers in Jerusalem dancing around a pile of machine guns instead of handbags
Malaysia – sharing a bed in a hide with a rat
Maldives – daily 3pm storm blowing loungers into trees
Malta – forgetting formula on all day boat trip
Nepal – very slow tip toe style walk up very steep Himalayas
New Zealand – finding myself on the wrong side of a “Warning: thin Earth’s crust” sign
Norway – having the wind blow a £20 note out of my hand on the midnight sun cruise from Newcastle
Palestine – discovering that the day hike path involved jumping down a waterfall
Scotland – walking up Arthur’s Seat in party shoes
Singapore – camping with red ants
Spain – finding a lost 2 year old in a very high tree house
Sri Lanka – finding elephants are even bigger than you think
Switzerland – attempting to ski on an Alp with no prior training
Thailand – having a Buddhist monk translate my impromptu (and totally rubbish) speech at Thai temple (still cringing)
Tunisia – hiding behind a sand dune in the Sahara for a floating head shot
USA – being bombarded with 1 inch diameter hail stones
Yugoslavia – being stung by a fish and tent floods (I’m totally having this Y even though it no longer exits as I’ve not been to Yemen)
The next chapter?
I am very happy with this list but hope to make it a bit longer yet, and add a few more travel tales as I go. Maybe there will be a new chapter when we can’t persuade the kids that it is acceptable to holiday with parents. Am in denial about this. But a full time travel writer might be a fun job?
I just have to learn how to monetise a story. Any tips?
In the meantime, look out for monthly travel top tip updates. You might even like to subscribe to my email list if you want to know when new posts are released. Happy, or at least interesting, travels!