IT IS IN MY BLOOD
My father was born in Singapore and he spent much of his young life travelling. He married my mother and instantly they left in a 4.5 litre vintage Bentley and drive across Europe to the Sudan where I was born.
I know at one stage the car kept getting stuck in the sand in the desert so they drove along the railway track with Mum looking backwards in case a train came from behind and Dad of course facing forwards. Another time after I was born Mum turned the car over and Dad held my carry cot onto the seat to stop me falling out.
We returned to England when I was two and left about six months later on a small a boat to live in Guyana for the next ten years. I thought of Guyana as my home until we came back to England when I was about twelve.
During our time in Guyana we came back to England every three years either flying or on the cruise ships. Some of the planes were plenty basic and I remember my baby sister being in a sort of carry cot hanging from the luggage rack on one plane!
My father travelled for work for most of his life even once we were based back in England he went all over Africa, over to Asia and back to the West Indies. He was a sugar engineer and managed sugar estates and he ended up as a consultant.
Many other people I have met travel for their work and have no choice. They may have chosen the job in order to travel but many times they sound like they are having an exotic lifestyle but end up in airports and hotels which is not my idea of travelling.
I went to live in Australia as my first husband was Australian and only came back to England when my marriage broke up. My son has moved to Toronto to be with his Canadian girlfriend. Many people move to another country for this reason and one party has to make that big decision.
I love exploring different places. We rarely return to the same place for a holiday as we like seeing new places. We love to see the great and famous sites and have been inspired by the 'New 7 Wonders' site. We are also inspired by travel programmes and films as well as books we have read. The more we see the more we want to see.
Trying different foods and drinks is also one of the pleasures we enjoy on our travels. My husband is even braver than I am and has eaten black hundred day old eggs which looked disgusting but I do draw the line on yukky things. We did both eat fried crickets recently and have sipped the snake wine in Vietnam which was pretty foul, a bit like alcoholic Bovril.
I can't say I enjoy flying, that is a means to an end but we do enjoy driving trips as you can stop where you fancy and spend as long as you want somewhere or move on if the weather turns bad. Driving around different parts of Europe and the USA both offer such amazing possibilities for exploration. Within the UK you could spend a life time travelling around finding new places to visit and we have recently enjoyed a few days seeing just a tiny part of Northumberland so will have to return as there is so much more to see.
I think that travelling makes you more aware of other people and how they live their lives provided of course you do actually open your eyes and ears whilst you are in another place. Travel has inspired me to donate or loan money through charities as I have seen some pretty sad things as well as the wonderful ones.
I find that the more I see and experience the more I want to see and do so it is sort of addictive.
Some people enjoy going back to the same spot every year as they like different but familiar. Some love to cruise and enjoy the luxury, the dressing up and the entertainment. Many travel to another country and never leave the resort so they may as well not have bothered except for the hot weather in my opinion. Why travel to another country and not see any of it while you are there?
I have enjoyed many years living in other countries and then you really get to know the people and the place. I would happily live abroad again and also have encouraged my children to travel.
These are just some reasons for travelling which mean something to me.
To have a banal existence, boredom, brain-washed by spouse, a promise, work, shopping, dutiful commitments, obsessions, sanity, insanity, obligations, children, other people's children, family rota's, to fix the motor; events, pay rent, love, hate, migrate, gyrate, mate, fate, whine and dine, off for a climb, or to avoid doing time.
No man knows any different. All that a man desires is his sanity, comforts and quietness, and that involves a welcoming soft sofa. Indeed, that is my holiday destination, it's unrealistic, I know - profound as it sounds - I yearn for a 'sofa vacation', that'll last for two weeks. Natural internal heating all inclusive none of this solar energy and UV nonsense, you pay several hundred pounds for. So long there is a TV Remote Holder, ample opportunity to move legs up and down as you like. Bulbous cushions to aid weary head, tired for doing nothing. Now if man-kind needed to get off to foreign lands, surely he'd be feathered, instead of being smooth skinned, dependent of age. Any form of travel is done by the legs - up to 1 km a day max, to maintain our heavy duty body weight. And no man is built like a bird - Unless you're 'Eddie the Eagle Edwards' and look where it's got him - Nowhere. Same applies to 'The Birdman of Alcatraz' he couldn't travel; he couldn't fly over the high walls of Alcatraz on a quest for freedom. At present I have sporadic moments on my sofa, very intermittent periods, sadly yes, but due to this traveling malarkey, to do these life errands as mentioned above in (paragraph one) - actual quality time is squandered. Modern life, in its entirety has to assign one third of it too 'travel' - by some means. The treasury has mapped out our lifestyles since the day we were born.
Whether it's walking to the bathroom, or fridge, traveling to the shops, work, more shopping, obligations, obsessions, to help cleanse yourself from your obligations - getting caught in traffic jams, stuck in queues to getaway haunts, to getaway from the hustle bustle of banality. Ah, here is the reality crunch! The queue to getaway locations takes on average three times as long - And the chance of the getaway queue going to the same location as you're going to is highly likely. Why? Because like everyone else, you wanted a foreign holiday at a bargain price! - we are mere pawns, caught up in a holiday marketing frenzy. I've known airbuses to delay their flights because of traffic delays. Twenty percent of their passengers weren't onboard at the scheduled time of departure.
In pursuance of my idea, a 'sofa vacation' - I'm adopting unusual times of travel, done in an unusual manner; predominantly on tip toe at sun rise - A plan is hatched, to maximize sofa time, so I can get pockets of peace and tranquility. Financially it's affordable, not moving from the sofa destination will be a lot trickier to pull off. What I can be sure of is it will be total 'happiness on earth'. The idea of 'not' traveling, physically moving, gives me an excited shiver. The one you use to get when you were a child, usually just when your about to go on holiday - before adult life sucks it out of you; like the fondant out of a Cadbury's Cream Egg.
The bliss and the tranquility that human-kind requires, is available for free at 4 am on a Saturday morning on the sofa downstairs. I dream for that moment whereby I have her 'Sofia' to myself. Sofia waits for me patiently; a cosy elongated shape in the first chards of daylight. She doesn't squeal or complain when I sit on her, instead she lets off this airy lustful gasp as I plant my pert derriere down. Ahhh; total tranquility - You can here a pin drop that early in the morning. Peace surrounds you; just the creaking of the floorboards upstairs breaks the tranquility. It's the 'better half'; she travels down from upstairs, yawns and loudly whispers.
"Ah, can't you sleep love?"
She parks herself down beside me and flicks through a crisp holiday magazine on 'her side' of Sofia - within seconds she swishes through the pages of the sweet scented magazine, I felt the cool air hit my neck. She gleams at the vibrant turquoise sea and swimming pools that are adjacent to the pristine white holiday villas. On each turn of the page, she tilts her head a bit more to the right, a sure sign of print media seduction. I counted very softly under my breath 5,4,3,2...
Her enquiring tone breaks the silence:
"You've got ten days holiday left haven't you; I fancy some sun?"
We travel to find love, simple as. At home we work dull jobs on dull streets under dull skies and maybe steel a drunken kiss on Saturday night, the short weekend full of longing. They say you end up marrying someone you sit next to here; such is the English class system rigidity. But for two weeks a year in Spain we can let it all go and be ourselves - drinking more booze and stealing a bonk with that kiss. It doesn't matter how pretty the boy or girl is but the fact we did it, a macho act for the boys, an act of being wanted for the girls, the more the merrier. But the true romantics are the ones who throw in their jobs and friends head to exotic climes for six months or more, a new experience on offer with every dawn, exotic beer and stamp on your passport. Here you can be who you want to be, admin assistants pretending to be writers, forklift drivers becoming race car drivers, the foreigners none the wiser, just drawling over your accent. They are the ones in the boring jobs on the samey streets now. But is exotic travel really as romantic as it seems? Did they see us coming?
The devout South Korea monks were lined up with their heads bowed and palms pressed together in prayer, the tourist's cameras breaking the respectful religious silence, the foreigners intoxicated enough by the redolence of incense and tradition to throw coins and fold equally exotically colored notes onto the ancient collection bowl, as smooth as the monk's heads. But this was just a show of humble ancient mystic, presenting a revered image of what foreigners expect from religion in third world climes. At six o'clock the mighty temple gates are pulled shut from the inside and the monks well and truly off duty. With the tourist safely back on the coaches and in their hotels as the sun flopped behind misty and mysterious mountains there were no vows of silence and early nights for our holy men but booze, cigarettes and gambling, not small stakes card games either, piles of notes, presumably from the donations, nosily thrown down on the temple floors living quarters, language as colorful as any English boozer on a Saturday night echoing around the sacred place of worship, a nearby Buddha looking on with disdain but unable to do anything. This is not made up or some feeble attempt at creative writing but what was actually happening, actions caught on hidden cameras by an investigative Korean news show, great propaganda for their near neighbors. The monks were having their two weeks in Ibiza every night.
When I read that story it makes you wonder just how many of these showy religious ceremonies and places of worship rely on the tourist dollar to exist and where the money ends up. Are those Japanese Shinto priest just raking those stones to get the punters at the window like a hoar house in Amsterdam when business is slack? That deception sums up modern traveling to me when you grind the well trodden tourist route. In Kenya it was the same thing, proud Masi Warrior tribesman with those big gold and silver rings around their long necks, hopping around in a village with their spears for the digicams yet another illusion, anything but proud hunters that could bring down a lion, merely local cab drivers from Nairobi putting on a show for the tourists at the weekend, working for tips. If you go to Ayres Rock the only Aboriginal spiritual groans of longing to return to their ancient lands are pleas for the tourist to buy them booze, of which you are fined if you do, busloads edged towards the souvenir shop to hide Australia's hidden shame.
The clue to travel is getting off the beaten track and don't go with the tour operators. They will just lead you down a cliché tourist attraction path set up to relieve you of your money to help the local economy. Do your own thing out their, the real romance of travel. I remember going to some caves in South Africa and because it was quite a trek out there and you could do them in the morning they setup a nearby ostrich farm where they put bags on the bird's heads and tourist on their backs, just to make money from the passing trade. Seeing a twenty stone American on the back of one of these odd looking creatures was as distressing for me as it was for the bird. We looked at each other with sad eyes and asked why. This is not why gave up my job at Littlewoods. It was supposed to be all beautiful maidens and tumbling landscapes.
I am not a great traveler and I have only ever been abroad three times in my life (all 52 years of it!).I have been on a day trip to France with my old school, 10 days in Switzerland also with the school and three nights in Paris when I was in my thirties.
The school trips were not great for me as I suffer from vomit phobia (can`t stand seeing people being sick) so the school trips were ruined by choppy seas and long coach trips. I got very homesick during my 10 day trip to Switzerland and I also picked up hayfever (never had it before, but have suffered with it every year since this trip) and I got lost when we were at a busy train station when I got separated from my group while walking down some busy stairs.
The three nights in Paris were a bit better for me as I went with my husband and daughter, travelling from London on the Eurostar. But even this trip had its difficulties as we went in August when it was really hot and I am not good in the heat as I kept feeling like I was about to pass out.
So I now prefer to take my holidays in the UK as I feel more comfortable on my home ground and there is so much of this lovely country that I still have not yet seen.I have never been on a plane and I do not wish to as I also suffer from claustrophobia and I do not like crowded places.
The first time I left the UK to go on holiday was when I was 23 years old. I went to Spain with my mum and dad, my sister and her boyfriend and my boyfriend. We had a lovely time enjoying the sun, seeing some new sights and just generally having fun and relaxing. Previous holidays, as a child, had always been in the UK and I still like to holiday in the UK now.
I don't think I am very well travelled but I do feel travelling has opened my eyes.
Places I have travelled include:
Republic of Ireland x2
Going to Greece was probably the best holiday. I tried loads of new types of food and my husband and I were able to travel round Crete using the public transport quite easily. In the resort where we stayed, almost all members of staff spoke fantastic English, so communication was easy. Using the public transport was a bit trickier but still, it wasn't impossible and it was a great adventure. It was nice to visit some locations a little bit off the tourist tracks.
We met loads of people (very few English) from all different parts of Europe and again, they all spoke very good English. We learnt some words in Greek but it really made us stop to think about learning languages. Almost everyone we met spoke English confidently because of their learning in school. All I managed to learn in school was a few words and phrases in French and German but I wouldn't be able to confidently speak in either language.
Cuba was another eye opener for me. We learnt a lot about the country whilst we were there. We found out about their history, the way they live now and how everything is rationed. We started speaking to some of the locals and they explained that a lot of people who are qualified doctors, teachers, surgeons, solicitors etc work in the tourism industry now because they can earn more due to tips they receive. Equally, they found it fascinating about the amount of things we have to pay tax on. It was a whole other world.
I like to try and have an abroad holiday every other year - usually somewhere warm and sunny! There are still so many places that I would like to visit, in particular countries within Europe.
I enjoy going on holiday abroad but I do also have a couple of insecurities.
My Pro's and Con's of holidays abroad:
A time to switch your phone off and relax
Enjoying the sunny warm weather (if applicable)
Trying new food
Seeing new sights
Talking to local people
Learning about the Country
Delays at airports
Fear of the unknown
I do believe that travelling is a great way to broaden your mind but I wouldn't say that it has to necessarily be abroad. There is a huge amount to see within the UK and with some really fascinating history. Travelling is a great way to learn about different cultures and meet new people. I would suggest to everyone to get out and see the world.
Welcome to my 200th review. Browsing the site for a Lounge topic that I fancied, instead of reviewing a product, I came across this set of questions for thos that are interested.
Travel has been a passion of mine all my adult life. As a very young child I was taken abroad quite often (The Balearic Islands, which were opening up in the early Seventies), but after my father died, holidays were usually in the UK, most often Frinton-on-Sea on the Essex coast which was quiet, safe and easy to get to. I had a one week package holiday abroad in one school holiday, but 'proper' travel didn't really open up to me until I was older. In my early twenties I worked with a girl who had travelled a bit and she introduced me to TrekAmerica who organised camping holidays in the USA for the under thirties (I think it is under 40 now). On that trip I met other people who had travelled and I then realised how easy it was to travel independently, and the following year went backpacking around the world. These days I am restricted by annual leave entitlements, so often use specialist adventure travel companies that organise small group tours to a specific country or region.
DO YOU STAY IN YOUR HOME COUNTRY OR GO ABROAD?
I usually go abroad every year at least once. My main holiday has usually been overseas, but this year it is likely to be UK based. I am a big fan of the attractions and history we have here in the UK, so it is time I put my money where my mouth is and explored it further. Saying that, I do love to learn firsthand about the people and culture of other countries, so will take opportunities to travel overseas when I can (and the budget allows).
DO YOU ORGANISE YOUR HOLIDAYS YOURSELF OR GO TO A TRAVEL AGENCY?
I usually organise them myself. I don't recall the last time I went into a travel agency other than to buy foreign currency (if they had a good rate) or to book a flight somewhere (prior to the internet being widely available). That is not to say that I haven't booked 'package' tours of some description, it is more that I have gone direct to the company or specialist tour operator. I have taken occassional mainstream beach orintated package tours for a week or so of sun, but otherwise like to have the flexibility and opportunity to travel around a bit more.
DO YOU PREPARE YOUR HOLIDAYS IN ADVANCE BY READING GUIDEBOOKS & STUDYING MAPS?
It depends on where I am going and the type of trip I am taking, but I usually buy a guide book (Lonely Planet or Rough Guides are my preferred choice). I don't always read it though, I like to look at them on my shelves.. I tend to read certain sections and check out where my hotel is, but I never read them cover to cover, and am usually relatively unprepared. Whilst there are usually 'must-see' places to visit (and I am happy to oblige), if time allows I also like to have a wander and discover some places off the beaten track. Sometimes this works, and I discover a gem of a small art gallery, or a fabulous local restaurant. Sometimes this backfires and I walk for hours getting hot, tired and all I have is a bag of crisps for lunch.
DO YOU TRAVEL ALONE, WITH FAMILY OR FRIENDS OR AN ORGANISED GROUP?
All of the above!
I have travelled alone, when I was backpacking, but in that environment you are not alone for long and can often make friends in the hostel and share travel advice.
I have also travelled with my partner or friends and we have booked something independently or one of the aforementioned travel groups.
When I have been single (and also with a friend or partner) I have used specialist adventure tour companies. When you are restricted by your annual leave entitlement from work, it can be quiet a challenge to see the highlights of Peru or Vietnam in a fortnight independently. By using these companies, the logistics and internal transportation is all organised leaving me free time to sightsee.
DO YOU PREFER THE SEA, MOUNTAINS, PLAINS, OR CITIES AS DESTINATIONS?
Again all of the above could apply. In fact a bit of everything would be ideal! Given a choice I would probably push for 'jungle', but that isn't one of the options.
I don't dive or snorkel very much, nor do I really take that many beach based holidays, but when forced I find I often enjoy spending a few days doing nothing but reading and watching the world go by. A nice bit of island hopping doesn't go amiss where available.
I have never climbed a mountain but am happy to admire them or get a cable car up them. I also enjoy viewing wildlife in their native habitat when abroad, so a safari on the plains of Africa will always have an appeal. For a short break I do enjoy a city break - culture/museums, a wide choice of restaurants and activities and usually all within a manageable distance.
DO YOU MAINLY RELAX OR ARE YOU AN ACTIVE HOLIDAYER?
I am very much an active holidaymaker, but I do like to be able to take a couple of days out from sightseeing to relax if I can. Generally I figure that if I have spent all that money to go to a place, then I should at least make a bit of an effort to see what it has to offer. Again this can depend on the destination and the duration of the trip.
IF YOU GO ABROAD DO YOU LEARN AT LEAST SOME WORDS OF THE FOREIGN LANGUAGE?
I can usually manage 'hello', 'thank you' and 'vegetarian' before I go. Obviously if I go to any of the main Western European countries there is often an overlap in the languages and you can pick things up quicker, however places like Hungary are more challenging.
ARE YOU INTERESTED IN THE CUISINE OF A FOREIGN COUNTRY?
Yes, I love to try new foods. As a veggie, in certain countries this can be more challenging than others. Not all countries 'get' the concept of vegetarianism and I end up eating pizza, spaghetti and chips for most of the trip. Ambiguous menus are a bit of a nightmare to traverse through as not all ingredients are made clear so I always try and clarify. Some restaurants are really happy to oblige and make suggestions, others don't want to know, but it is my choice and I just have to make do with what I can get.
WHICH MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION DO YOU PREFER?
I prefer to travel using local trains or buses, but I really don't have a strong enough preference. Often (especially when trying to cover long distances on tours) it is necessary to use the most time efficient method within a reasonable budget. I don't like flying but it is a means to an end.
WHAT KIND OF LUGGAGE DO YOU TAKE WITH YOU? DO YOU HAVE PROBLEMS PACKING? DO YOU TEND TO TAKE TOO MANY/TOO FEW THINGS WITH YOU?
For a long two week tour I usually take a backpack as I can carry it. I do tend to over pack however. When going for two weeks I have a capsule wardrobe down to a fine art as the dress code is always casual, and I know I can get laundry done part of the way round. It going away for weekends or short breaks that I find a problem - I may need to change for dinner (at least into something other than a different pair of jeans and a T-shirt), hair straighteners and hair dryers may be required (especially in colder climates - I can wing it in the heat) and I end up taking the same number of sweaters/rain jackets as I would for a longer trip as I can never be sure of the temperature.
DO YOU SEND PICTURE POSTCARDS TO FAMILY & FRIENDS?
I often buy them, I don't often get round to writing/sending them!
WHAT ARE YOU MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS ~ GOOD & BAD?
I am fortunate that I don't really have too many bad memories; certainly I cannot recall any events that have marred a trip significantly. Everything considered, my travel memories are all good, and too numerous for one or two to stand out. This is why I think it is a good thing to travel and to experience new things. It doesn't have to be an expensive holiday or a far flung destination, but a family day out or a weekend break not far from home. Whatever happens you will nearly always have fond memories of the trip.
ANY MORE PLACES YOU'D LIKE TO VISIT?
Antarctica, Galapagos Islands, China, South Africa, Cuba. That will do for a start.
I only started travelling out of my country when I was in my mid twenties. Prior to that, I have never yearned to travel; perhaps it is fear of unknown and probably flying. My cousin invited me to visit her in Sydney and after much thoughts, I picked up my courage and travelled alone to Australia. Since then I have never stopped.
I am sure there are people with genuine reasons for not travelling. Some people may be afraid of flying on a plane, some believe in the horror stories told about the locals and some people just don't see any benefits in travelling.
So, what's good about travelling?
- Travelling open my eyes to different culture and customs. I become less insular and more accepting of people who are different to me.
- Travelling expose me to the different wonders of the world, keeps me in awe of the natural beauty of earth.
- Travelling makes me respect the difference practices and way of life of other people and places.
- Travelling take away the stress of work and momentarily bring me away from reality.
- Travelling enable me to try new things like participating in a local recreation, learning a new craft and even trying new cuisines.
- Travelling builds my confidence. I remember the earlier days where I was afraid to venture out on my own, now I am not afraid to go to places alone.
- Travelling brings to reality the things I have read and heard. Seeing and knowing the truths for myself and not to be led by rumours. If I have followed other people's fear about safety in South Africa, I would not have discovered the friendliness of the locals and the beauty of the place.
- Travelling inspire me in terms of home decoration for example; I hang Thai designed fabric on doors and Thai wood carving on the wall. I know I can get the same inspiration from magazines but being at the place enable me to get the authentic stuffs.( at a good price also)
- Travelling allow me not to depend only on common hearsay; before coming to UK, I would only connect London to UK and nobody told me that fish and chips is not the only favourite food here.
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream. Discover." -- Mark Twain
Mark Twain was right. Twenty years on, I am glad to have travel to several places and to have come to discover this lovely country. I could see another twenty years or more of travelling coming my way.
After recently returning from a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel around Australia I would like to write my views on travelling to try to encourage other to do the same!
Firstly I do realise that in the current climate most people would love to just get away to a sunny place and forget about everything. However as the credit crunch hits, we are all more money conscious, therefore may not want to spend much money travelling abroad as you may have issues at home. This aside, I will continue to give my reasons for and against travelling.
I believe that travelling is completely down to the sort of person you are. My friend believe I have wasted about £6k in Australia, and he went out and spent that on a car. I believe he has wasted £6k on his car, as my £300 does the same job. It is completely down to the individual as to whether you see travelling as a waste of money or a life enriching experience.
The main point for travelling is that we dont all live in a box. England isnt the be all and end all of the world. The world is a huge place with lots to offer, many different cultures and places to see, food to try and people to meet. If we decide not to travel, we miss out on these experiences and focus only on England, and generally moaning about how bad the weather is. At best we may go on a two week holiday to europe, relaxing by the beach and not actually seeing anything new. To me this is just a relax, and you dont get the benefit of seeinf the place which you have visited.
Whilst in Australia I met people who have become some of my best friends and have seen things that I could have only dreamt about. I also visited Bali and saw a cmpletely different culture to my own.
This then gives you the dreaded 'travel bug' and you want to see more and more and hear of places from other people and want to go and see that place. This is great as you are communicating with so many different people and learning new things all of the time, rather than plodding through your normal day, seeing the same people, doing the same thing at home. For me these are the great reasons as to why travelling is a fantastic opportunity in life, and really shouldnt be overlooked.
When you are old and retired, you may look back on your life and onder what you actually did. Would you sooner say, 'Yes, I have a house, a nice family and I worked in the same company for 30years' or would you prefer to have less money, still a family, but have fantastic memories of places around the worls? I know what I would sooner do, but thats just me.
There are a few reasons as to why travelling isnt great, the most obvious being....YOU SPEND ALL OF YOUR MONEY! I am almost broke now, and its all due to travelling, however I wouldnt change this at all, I just know some people would be very worried if in this situation.
Next you have the flights, which of corse some people are scared of. If you are not scared of them then you have to sit through long haul flights which are just not nice! They are uncomfortable and you can never sleep, however, knowing what is at the end of it makes it all worthwile.
The last thing would be that no matter where you choose to go, you will need to look at visa requirements, vaccanations, quarantine issues, insurance and how will you take your cash with you? These are issues which everybody faces, again though, they are well worth the effort put in, in my opinion.
Overall I think that it is very much a case of 'each to their own' If I want to spend all of my money on travelling, instead of a car, then that is my perogative, however I think that you will gain much more confidence and knowledge as a person if you choose to travel.....even if it just a bit. You never know what you will miss out on!
Neither of my parents have been abroad (unless you count the Isle Of Man - well you have got to cross part of the Irish Sea to get there) neither do they have any immediate plans to go.
Whilst my friends hit the sunny resorts of the Canary Islands, the Balearics, Greece and the Turkish coast I spent all my summer holidays in England. My father's excuse was there are so many beautiful places in the UK and there is no need to go abroad, try and communicate in a different language, drive on the other side of the road or eat 'dodgy' foods.
I agree that there are some lovely places in the UK and have many fond memories of the Scottish Highlands, The Lakes, The Peak District, The North Yorkshire Moors and the Cornish/Devon coast, but let's face it most of these places are cold all year round, and the British weather can make the prettiest of places look un-inspiring at times.
Whilst I whinged about remaining in the UK my friends whinged about lounging on the beach for a fortnight in the sun, although they did say there were some good bits since the twenty some-things were usually topless, especially in Tenerife. Please remember that we were barely past puberty and our hormones were racing.
My first experience abroad was a school trip to France. It was hardly inspiring despite going to the usual Mont Saint Michel, to see the Bayeux Tapestry and the second world war graves and the like. I guess we were just too young to appreciate it back then and I know that I would get far more out of it now.
I was lucky enough to go on another school trip to Holland, on a sailing boat, and spent a week on the waterways of Holland. Whilst we got to see the country side (from the boat) we did not get the chance to experience the true culture of the country.
What I would call my first proper trip abroad was back in 2006 when I went to St Vincent in the Grenadines. My housemate at the time was half St Vincentian and his father had a property on the Island. St Vincent, the "jewel" of the Grenadines is a developing country where the wealthy are exceptionally wealthy and the poor live in slums. It was a real culture shock for me but it provided me with memories I will never forget.
Seeing the mountains, the lush green forest, the banana plantations, the twin peaks of St Lucia and the clear blue Caribbean Sea as we flew over the island was amazing. Every person will see the same thing in different ways and it is impossible to describe without actually experiencing it.
Whilst in St Vincent we lived like the locals. It is not geared up for tourism in any way shape of form and this is clearly evident as we were the only white people on the Island and as such attracted a lot of attention. We ate the local food (goat, rotis, yams, plantin, sweet potatoes, rice, lobster, fish and other seafood), travelled like the locals do (in Toyota vans kitted out with bench seats, a massive sound system, blacked out windows, bright paint job and a funky name such as "Renegade", "Doctor Love" or "Snake Hips") and generally did what the locals do.
We did do a bit of Island hopping to St Lucia, The Tobago Keys, Grenada, St Kitts and Mustique (to see the properties of Tommy Hilfiger, Bryan Adams, Shania Twain, The late Princess Anne and Mick Jagger) to experience other islands. It was a great experience.
During the two weeks I took literally hundreds of photographs but it is impossible to capture what I saw, what I felt and what it meant to me on film. I showed my parents the pictures but they appeared to do nothing for them at all. I really wish that they would take the plunge and go.
The holiday to St Vincent taught me what holidays are all about. They are not about lounging by the pool getting drunk and eating burger and chips with other English people. I can do this in England (although I appreciate the weather cannot be guaranteed).
In my opinion, going abroad is about experiencing the culture, embracing the way of life of the locals, eating local foods and seeing local landmarks, buildings etc. That is why my recent holiday to the Costa Brava was so disappointing it was like being in Black Pool in the sun with some German and French guests. I did not eat any traditional Spanish food (although this is not through lack of trying).
Whilst the UK is satisfactory there is a much larger word out there and to see it you're going to need to travel which requires a passport. There are so many different cultures, so much art, so many different types of architecture, so many different animals and people, so many different types of landscapes etc to see that, in my opinion, you would not be able to see in a life time of travelling.
Whilst I appreciate that everyone is individual and what is right for one person is not usually right for another but I think that those people, like my parents who only holiday in the UK are missing out on so much.
The thing that annoys me most is my parents like nothing more than to watch nature programs and documentaries about different cultures, buildings, landscapes etc but refuse to go and experience it. I keep telling them that the TV, like my pictures of St Vincent, do not do the places justice and the only way of seeing how magical they are is to get out there.
I am currently travelling and have done so for the past 7 months. I have dreamt about travelling ever since I was young. All the different places in the world and wonders to be seen seemed magical to me. I thought it was unreachable and that I would only get to see any of these places in books, but last year my partner and I decided to take a year out and go around the world.
Personally I have many reasons on why to travel. You can see some brilliant places and experience wonderful things. The memories I have gained will stay with me for the rest of my life! I have seen things I never could have at home like glaciers, Great Wall of China, canyons, Great Barrier Reef and animals in the wild (so you are seeing the true animals and not their behaviour in a zoo). Travelling can bring you to some beautiful places.
I have met people from every background and culture which I feel has been great. I feel this has made me more open minded and aware of different cultures. I live in a small town where everyone knows everyone, so to move to a city to live for a few months has been strange to say the least, never mind a whole different country. You learn how to deal with different situations and I have grown up a lot. It has broadened my mind in so many ways.
I am told that travelling makes you more confident, for me this hasn't really been the case. I have learnt how to conduct myself in new countries but I can't see me being more confident at home. A lot of people are scared of going abroad as they are not sure what they will face. I never really had this problem but if you have ever went on holiday you will see that there is nothing to be afraid of as long as you are sensible. Other countries have dangers the same as our own.
I love learning about different cultures and everywhere I have went I have made a point to learn about how people live in that country, so I have learnt so much. It opens your eyes to see how other people live and the different conditions they have adapted to, like in Beijing it was so smoggy and most people rode bicycles. In Hong Kong it was all high rise buildings and people where very busy but friendly. Singapore was more laid back and very warm. Australia has been great but bugs are everywhere, this is normal to them and locals take it in their stride as it's everyday life to them. I have found this quite difficult to deal with at times as the bugs are alot larger than what I am used to. The whole experience has made me appreciate where I come from and what I have at home.
A lot of people go abroad for the warm weather. Personally I would hate to go to another country and lie in the sun I would rather save my money and stay home. I'm not a great lover of the heat it tends to not agree with me most of the time. I spend most of my time trying to find shelter and shade, however some people go abroad to lie out in their sun loungers to bake in the sun.
As I have just mentioned people go abroad to lie out in the sun (a lot go to just get a sun tan). This I feel is one of the bad points of travelling as people don't seem to realise that they are not designed to bake in the sun and end up with sunburn, heat stroke and worst of all skin cancers. I am all for relaxing but would rather stay at home to do this.
Sitting in long flights is the worst part of travelling for me, I despise it. All that waiting in airports and I just don't like flying in general. It can make you feel tired even though you haven't done anything all day and messes up your natural body clock with jetlag making you feel so tired and dizzy. You can get other forms of transport like boats, car, train etc. I try to use these as much as possible but quite often I don't have a choice. Usually flying is the most convenient and cheapest way to get somewhere so obviously is people's first choice. Flying at all petrifies some people, it's not as bad as you would think and you could always go to somewhere which is close to you so the flight isn't long. Global warming is a problem as flights contribute considerably making it worse. More and more airlines have popped up in recent years meaning flights are cheaper and more accessible for people. This is starting to damage our planet more and more.
Tourists can spoil some sights and natural beauty. The great barrier reef is getting smaller and smaller and they say in years to come it will not exist. This is due to global warming and man damaging the area. People litter areas which make animals sick and ruin the natural beauty of some places. The more popular an area is the more people will visit it which means more pollution.
Some people just like going to different countries to boast and it's more of a status symbol to them than anything else. It does cost a lot to travel and even though you can get special deals to travel to a certain country it all adds up and generally is quite expensive. To holiday at home definitely would cost cheaper.
If you go travelling for a long period of time you can miss your family and friends. It can be quite lonely even if you are travelling with other people. You start to miss things that you take for granted at home.
I think travelling is a great experience sometimes it's great and ocassionally it can be very stressful. It depends on your personality whether you would want to travel, for some people the prospect of going to another country would not appeal to them whatsoever. For those that dream of different places and have never been away I would recommend to travel as much as you can as you only live your life once and don't want to regret not seeing the places you always dreamt of as it is possible and achievable.
Please ignore the specific criteria I have filled in, I had to complete it to publish my review, thanks!
Orginally posted on Ciao under my username denisekelly40
The school holidays are here and hordes of families will be travelling abroad for the summer vacation. What upsets me though is hearing someone saying "oh we are only going to Scarborough this year" or some other British resort. What is wrong with that? It is almost as though people holidaying in Britain feel as though they have to apologise for the fact that they are not travelling abroad.
And let's face it, the cost of a British holiday is extortionate! It doesn't surprise me that people go abroad when hotel accommodation here costs so much. There really isn't any reason to apologise for holidaying at home! It probably means you are rich!!!
NEVER BEEN ABROAD
Surprisingly I know several people who have never ventured overseas. Some of them are the older generation who were used to having a week at the seaside once a year. Living in the north, anyone who went "down south" for their holidays was considered very fortunate and if they went "to the continent" then they were luckier still!
Today most of us have grown up having foreign holidays and it is almost a novelty to holiday in this country. But we should bear in mind that there are still a lot of people who don't even have a passport.
My colleague has never been abroad and she is nearing pension age. I suggested she should book a package holiday and she was terrified! What should she wear? Would it be too hot? What about foreign food? Would she be scared of flying? All these things were problems to her, whereas to a 5 year old they are the norm!
WHY GO ON HOLIDAY?
My parents never went abroad, except for a school trip to France that my father went on when he was 16. They could afford an expensive holiday anywhere in the world, but they were quite content, as were a lot of their generation, to spend their holidays in the UK. They had never been to Scotland until my husband and I took them, but they didn't mind. This attitude is not unusual amongst older people even today.
Maybe it is a throwback to the times when they couldn't afford a holiday. When I was growing up we always had one week at the seaside in the summer and we looked forward to this from the moment it was booked, usually in January, but my parents had to save hard.
Just as people today feel they have to apologise if they don't go abroad, at that time people who were not going away for a week felt the same. They would have day trips to the seaside instead of staying there.
I think we have made progress in respect of holidays. The world seems a much smaller place as it is more accessible now. When I was a child my dream was to go to USA to visit relatives, the 300 GBP for the airfare was way beyond our means and it took me years before I achieved my dream. The flight cost the same as it would have done all those years ago, but of course was ridiculously cheap in comparison.
Booking months in advance is something I rarely do as nowadays with the internet, it is possible to book at the last minute. I like to act impulsively and just decide I want to go off somewhere, then look for cheap flights and take myself off.
WHAT DO WE LEARN?
Well, for a start whenever I go to a foreign country I make sure I know a few words of the language. Even if I can only say "please" and "thank you" I know the locals will appreciate that I have made an effort.
If I have an idea in advance that I want to visit a particular country then I will start learning the language in preparation. I have a smattering of various languages because of this and a good knowledge of others. The only language I have struggled with is German! I just cannot manage those long words and gutteral sounds!!!!
Apart from the language, I like to learn something about the customs of the country I am visiting. If at all possible I like to avoid the touristy areas and find where the locals hang out. This can be an education in itself.
You may discover a new sport or a new hobby or interest, just because you were travelling and became curious.
Over the years I have made lots of friends, of many nationalities, through my travels. This has benefitted us all in that we are able to visit each other's countries, learn about them and of course, with e mail, communication is so much easier. Another benefit of this is that some people who have never used a computer are now keen to learn so they can e mail.
This happened to a friend of mine, who is useless at letter writing, but was determined to keep in touch with a certain Greek man she had met while travelling. She learnt to use a computer and now, not only their friendship, but a romance, is blossoming! Maybe meeting the man or woman of your dreams is another possibility that travel offers!
Once on a visit to Spain I wanted to mix with the local people as I was on an intensive language course, so a friend and I made out way to a remote village. The streets were filled with men as we arrived in the late afternoon, the only women around were on the balconies of the houses.
Unsure what to make of this we made our way to a local bar and once again I was the only woman there! We got chatting to some of the locals, we had to find out why they were giving me such strange looks if nothing else. With our new knowledge of Spanish we discovered that a funeral had taken place and apparently it was the custom in that area that only men attended! So it is amazing what you learn from travelling!
I know there is a lot of controversy about children being taken on holiday in term time, but as long as they don't do this too often I really don't see this as a problem. Travelling abroad can be very educational for a child if it is approached sensibly.
They can learn a lot about geography by finding where they are going on a map. Although, I have known kids state they are going to Benidorm and when asked where this is their reply is "Spain, I think". Ask them to show you where Spain is on the map and they have no idea! So if you are taking your kids on holiday, give them a geography lesson beforehand. Help them find out about the currency, the exchange rate, the time difference, the national flag, local foods etc.
TOWNS AND CITIES
As the kids grow up, book a cheap flight, (maybe as a birthday treat if you can't think what else to buy them) and take them to the towns and cities to appreciate more of the culture. Visiting cities, whether abroad or at home, is a must when travelling I think.
I went to Milton Keynes for the first time a few weeks ago - nothing to impress me, but I now know what a "new town" looks like and I couldn't believe I was actually seeing concrete cows "grazing" in a field!!!!! Travel can certainly be an eye opener sometimes!!!
I have already mentioned about learning a language, it is never too early to start. Some friends of ours took their 3 year old to France recently and the little girl was able to ask for "deux baguettes svp" with confidence. Teach your kids a few words of the language, the younger they are the better. Teenagers will be self conscious about trying out their language skills, but at the same time they will soon find out what some of the words mean and this might help with their studies at school.
Actually visiting a place is far more educational than just learning from a text book.
BROADEN THE MIND
Travel broadens the mind, you meet people from different cultures, of different nationalities. You forget about stereotypes as you learn to mix with people from different races. Even with limited language skills there are ways of understanding each other. This in itself is a valuable lesson in communication skills.
I always keep a travel diary, even if I am just going for a day out in the UK I make a note of where I have been and jot down any interesting facts. With the aid of digital photography it is possible to produce a very interesting travel journal and I would suggest parents encourage their children to do this. If nothing else, such a diary will prove to sceptical teachers that taking your child on holiday in term time has had some educational benefits.
CONSTANT LEARNING PROCESS
I think travel is a constant learning process. Wherever you go there is something new to find out. If you are not sure, then look back on your own holidays and see what your memories are. Hopefully they will be something more than just sitting on the beach all day and in the bar all night!
But remember - there is a difference between "travelling" and "holidaying". You might travel for business but it can still be educational in a different way.
I was talking to an old man some time ago who told me that every year when it was the local holiday week, he took his wife and kids to the seaside. They happened to be there when war was declared and the children had great fun filling sandbags! Even though they were too young to appreciate what was going on at the time, these kids (now almost pensioners themselves!) still remember this and it helped them to understand something about the war.
ENJOY YOUR HOLS!
If you are about to set off on your hols after reading this, then do bear in mind that you are not just going off for a break, but for the experience! Have a great time - you may come back poorer in the pocket, but wiser in the head!
Travel to places I never been to is very exciting. I am a very curious person. I want to learn new things. Do things that I have done before, go to places I haven't been to before.
Going to places in the sun is enjoyable, lifestyle, food, atmosphere, the foreignness of the place.
Travelling on holidays away from home and work is what lot of my friends like doing. I forgot to mention I don't like travelling on my own. Travelling in a group is much more fun.
Travelling is enjoyable experience. Everyone should consider it. I don't know why I won't travel. Because I always find a reason to travel or am forced into it by friends.
See when the sun is out here in England. Everyone is happy, playing in the park or in the garden or just sitting around, sunny weather is enjoyed by everyone, it is better than rain and cold. Holidays have similar feeling for me. In places I go to sun is always out. It rarely rains.
Get a new passport, book the holidays, go and explore things.
I want to travel in places in this country. I haven't done this for a while. Fishing trip to the lake district is ideal break.
I haven't travelled a great deal. I've been out of the country less than a handful of times, never outside of Europe and never for more than a fortnight. I admit that this isn't entirely down to personal choice, if I'd had different circumstances and more money I would probably have done a lot more and I'm sure I would have had great pleasure and learnt a lot too. There are also some things I would dearly love to experience - to see the Northern Lights for example would be on my list of things to do before I die (if I had one). However, I can also see plenty of reasons why not to travel and this review is about the positive side to staying in the UK.
Beautiful Britain - I may not have travelled abroad much but I do take lots of breaks, mostly short breaks, around the UK and there are still plenty of places left to explore. Scotland must have some of the most beautiful scenery in the world and although I've had several great holidays there, there are numerous islands and nooks and crannies that it would take forever to explore; I've yet to get to the Isle of Skye or see the basaltic columns of Staffa to name just two. I often head off to the Lake District for a few nights camping and also regularly visit North Yorkshire and Northumberland, I've spent several holidays in Wales and further South but have barely touched the South East of the country or visited that many of our cities. I think this country still has lots to offer me in terms of new experiences. People sometimes say that they'd stay here if they knew the weather would be fine, well our Summers are getting hotter and this year is forecast to be one of hottest yet again which leads me on to...
I can't take the heat - An awful lot of people go abroad every year purely for the sake of the weather. I am baffled by this. A very hot sunny day is anathema to me, I keep out of it - heat rash, sunburn, tiredness, headaches, skin cancer - I'm not happy when its hot. I much prefer milder weather and even enjoy the rain, one of my favourite sounds is that of gentle rain on the roof of my tent. I would hate a holiday that was all about soaking up the sun, it would bore me senseless and make me grouchy into the bargain. I do love to be by the sea, but I'd much rather go for a bracing walk along a deserted shoreline with dramatic clifftop scenery than spend time on a hot crowded holiday makers beach.
Expense - It's not cheap to travel, unless you're talking about cheap package holidays to places in the Sun which would be exactly the kind of travelling I have no desire at all to do. People talk about rip off Britain, but it's much cheaper for me to just pile everything in the car, take a tent, or visit the friends I have scattered around the country than to pay for travel, food and accommodation abroad.
Effect on the Environment - Many ways of travelling are bad for the environment, especially air travel which is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases. I know people who claim to care about the environment yet somehow manage to rationalise their flights abroad, which make irrelevant any other weedy recycling type day to day activities they may undertake. It's not just about climate change though, many places that were once beautiful have been turned into tourist hell holes by over development and the world is becoming ever more the same as people turn up in far off countries and buy things that they could have got in their corner shop rather than trying local products. There is a snobbery involved in travelling, some see themselves as travellers rather than tourists, but I don't see that much difference, they all have an effect on the places they visit and the greater the number of people the more damage is caused. Great natural wonders like Niagara, Uluru (Ayers Rock), and Mount Everest have been damaged by hordes of selfish travellers and their beauty diminished. Despite great efforts by Australian authorities the Great Barrier Reef continues to be degraded by tourist activity. Tourism is often touted as a major source of income for poorer countries especially in the third world where growth has been phenomenal but the drive for profit has devastated the lives of many indigenous peoples. So called ecotourism is apparently the fastest growing sub sector of the tourist industry and in Africa where it has been around for a relatively long time it has led to people being evicted from their land and losing out economically, the breakdown of traditional values, and other environmental damage such as deforestation and pollution. To quote from an article on the Third World Network website, (http://www.twnside.org.sg/), "What few benefits indigenous peoples derive from tourism are far outweighed by the damage it has caused them. They have been made to bear the brunt of an industry over which they have neither say nor control."
I'm happy where I am - I sometimes think some people travel purely to brag about it, 'Ooh I've been to a remote place no-one else has and I can tell you...', Well I can tell you that despite seemingly huge surface differences, I believe people are basically the same and have the same needs and desires the world over, I don't need to go tramping all over everywhere to find this out. As for seeing the great sights of the world, yes it would be lovely to experience some of these, but isn't it hugely selfish to try and visit all of these places? Travel broadens the mind they say, well I think the mind can be broadened in many ways and great wisdom can be found in people who have never strayed from their own patch. There are those who seek enlightenment through travel, off they go trying to find themselves when they were here all the time to begin with, which brings to mind a quote from the Buddhist philosopher Daisaku Ikeda: "Happiness doesn't exist on the far side of distant mountains. It is within you, yourself. Not you, however, sitting in idle passivity. It is to be found in the vibrant dynamism of your own life as you struggle to challenge and overcome one obstacle after another, as you clamber up a perilous ridge in pursuit of that which lies beyond." That's the kind of travelling I would prefer to do for myself.
Why should people go on holiday?
Holiday is for people to take a break from their lives. Going away to a place where one normally wouldn't go. Holiday could be in this country or abroad. Although most people travel abroad because it is cheap to do so. In this country weather spoils things somewhat.
People take holidays according to their tastes. Some will like adventure holidays, some will like relaxing holiday by the beach, some like chaotic holiday getting drunk and partying for whole week.
Holiday is to enjoy yourself, get away from routine and feel refresh later. MY holidays vary, I have taken hiking holidays, driving through places or just sitting by the beach.
What can we learn from our travels?
We can learn many things from our travels. Discover other cultures, food or landscapes. Travelling abroad could be a nightmare or a joy. Life in other countries is much different from here, further you go from Europe more you learn about the way people live in rural India or South America or anywhere.
If you don't travel abroad, why not?
This don't apply to me. I have a passport and I do travel. I can understand why some people won't travel, fear of flying could be one reason. Lack of interest or perhaps economic issues.
Can I learn things from travelling abroad?
Yes so many things it is unbelievable. It could be the most basic things, the way people live, eat, sleep
There you go main questions answered. Travelling is good, it makes you a complete person. Learning about other people, discovering new foods for instance, walking around cities and in the countryside, good weather, people. Holiday is learning experience for everyone that is unless you go to party in a rat hole for a week.
I would love to travel more. Honestly I would. However, I don't think I'm cut out for travelling far. I have been abroad a few times, and been all over the uk, but do I enjoy it?
Well I would say yes, I do, but the stress leading up to it and returning is just too great.
Perhaps I am alone in this. Despite meticulous planning the journey and it is only the journey is too stressful. So many things can go wrong, you can miss your flight/ferry/train etc, you could crash, forget something, take too much. It just is a nightmare for me.
Once I actually set off its fine, but before that, and weeks before I am talking about its too much. Life is too short for that much worry.
The other point and I know so many would disagree is I don't think I could cope with the worry of taking my kids abroad. And I realise this is topical at the moment. But aside from abduction so many other things could go wrong. Falling ill for example - what would I do? The idea of being in a foreign hospital with a sick child is not good.
So UK holidays for me, everytime, and not too far away either. I went to the Isle of Lewis when the boys were 18months and I decided then I wouldn't go abroad till they were much older and would go local till they were a bit older. Too much hard work and too little holiday!!!
Despite all that, there are so many places I would love to see, Eygpt, Switzerland, Japan, I would love to go, but not yet....maybe after therapy!