Planning a Travel Adventure!
Unlike many people – and some very close to me – I have never had an urge to go travelling and ‘do’ various parts of the world. Travelling has become such a rite of passage before youngsters enter the ‘real world’ that there is a significant part of me that feels a bit ashamed to admit this out loud. I hope it doesn’t make me closed minded or blinkered – I don’t think I’m either of those things – but it is just how I have always felt. After university, I was excited to go to work: I was ambitious and determined and looking forward to my first job in the big smoke. The last thing on my mind was travelling around the world.
That’s not to say I haven’t done seen a bit beyond the UK. The summer before I went to university, I spent the summer in Pennsylvania working for Camp America at a summer camp specialising in kids with special needs like ADHD and autism. Growing up in a small town in Northern Ireland, I was so concerned that I would have nothing interesting to bring to the party when I went to university, I wanted to do something slightly different and have something to talk about. That summer definitely gave me enough conversation fodder! I had the time of my life, meeting people from different walks of life and getting more comfortable with myself (I was an awkward teen before that!) as well as gaining some much needed independence. I did it again the summer afterwards but that year I was placed in Las Vegas at a girl scout camp. That was a totally different experience – despite the Sin City location, a girls only camp with purely female company was a far cry from and quite a bit less fun than the incestuous and outrageous times we’d had the previous summer! That marked an end to my Camp America summers and as I was studying French and Business at university, I spent the summer afterwards working in a B&B in Southern France to get my colloquial French up to scratch ahead of a placement year working in Public Relations in Paris. The summer before my final year of university, I went inter-railing around Europe with some friends. We were absolutely broke – I particularly remember our ‘scobe of the day’ competitions with each other to see who could spend the least amount of money in a day (I’m sure I won some of those!) and I’m pretty sure we spent more time on trains than out of them! We had a total blast but I couldn’t for the life of me name any particular landmarks or beauty spots that we visited. Eek!
Since working life started, we’ve done pretty ‘normal’ holidays – France, Italy, Turkey, Antigua, Thailand. A few years into the world of work, inspired by my husband who is a super duper skier having skied most of his life including a ski season in Whistler the winter after university, I quite fancied the idea of a ski season so I could hold my own with him. We spoke to our employers, secured ourselves some unpaid leave, saved hard, rented out our London flat and moved to Fernie, Alberta, the best kept ski secret in Canada. We had an AMAZING time. We’d saved enough and lived frugally enough that we didn’t have to work while we were there: we skied practically every day and enjoyed mountain and ski life. Jez proposed halfway through the trip so by the time the season was coming to an end, we were looking forward to coming back home and celebrating with family and friends and getting back to normal life. In so many ways, it was the perfect sabbatical.
Marriage, a few more holidays and a couple of kids later, I was reading one of my brother’s Motivational Monday blog posts. It was about taking the opportunity, not regretting anything, etc. For some reason, on that day and in that moment, it totally and utterly resonated. Our daughter starts school next year and at that point, we are going to be tied down in a way that we can’t really understand right now (I think it will be one of those things that will be best understood with the benefit of hindsight). I shared the post with my husband and floated the idea of us doing a big trip – one that would involve some unpaid leave from work. He liked the idea but the only thing holding him back was the logistics of it all. Logistics! Not his job, not money, just logistics. It was at that point that I felt like this was really going to happen. We can definitely work on logistics!