Go Solo: should I, shouldn’t I, should I ….

I am prevaricating, I know that. As I mentioned in a previous post, I can’t decide what to do in the way of travel this year. In reality, I know exactly what I want to do but, as I say, I’m prevaricating.

You may ask why, or you may not really care, but I’m gonna tell you anyway. For a number of years I’ve known where I am going on my next trip. It’s usually been organised in conjunction with a friend or family member and it’s just sort of …. happened. I’ve been to Broome with a friend, Tasmania and Europe with my cousin, Kuching with my daughter and Crete with my daughter and a friend. That’s taken care of the last five years.

As for this year, still don’t know. My sister in law emailed a few days ago and asked me if I had given any thought to a holiday. My reply – I’m always thinking about a holiday! But the question did set me to giving serious thought to the matter, so I made a list. Where do I want to go:

  •  Machu Pichu.
  • A few weeks inParis in October – writing!
  • Bali in early October for their Reader’s & Writer’s festival.
  • Kota Kinabalu.
  • A long weekend inMelbourne.
  • Would love to go toSydney.
  • Cinque Terre walk – next year.

Some how, having the options laid out in front of me made life easier. Well, sort of. Machu Pichu – far too expensive at the moment to do the tour that I want to do, so we’ll put that one on hold. Bali– I was there last year and, although a cheap option, I can’t quite convince myself. Same with Kota Kinabalu – would be nice, but …..  A long weekend in Melbourne– not a problem, I have my daughter I can stay with. Sydney– hmmmm, not sure. Cinque Terre walk – on the books for next year, possibly with my brother.

Now, the observant among you may have noticed that I skipped over one option in that list. Maybe we should ask ourselves why. The answer – because I know that that is what I really want to do. I want to rent an apartment in Paris for a few weeks and spend my time wandering around during the day and writing in the evening. A romantic idea maybe, but one that could happen. So what’s holding me back? Just possibly the fact that I want to do it by myself. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve travelled by myself before quite happily, and if I was to decide to go to England (where I feel comfortable), I wouldn’t have a problem, so why has Paris by myself become such a hurdle?

I’ll think this one through and let you know when I’ve convinced myself to do it. In the meantime, any convincing arguments would be welcome.

 

 

 

Where to next?

How do we decide. How on earth do we figure out where to go next? That’s the dilemma I’m faced with at the moment. Choice is a good thing but, here in Australia, we are literally spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding our next holiday spot.

Today in the Travel section of the weekend paper there was an overwhelming number of options to choose from. For less than $1,500.00 , air fare included, I could head to Kota Kinabalu or Kununurra, the South Pacific or Singapore, Ningaloo or New Zealand,Vietnam or Vanuato,

For less than $3,000.00 I could spend a week in any number of European capital cities or take in the Top End of Australia.

If I’m feeling more adventurous I could travel on the Trans-Siberian Express, cruise the Norwegian Fjords, visit the impressive Iguassu Falls and the ‘untamed Patagonian landscape’, travel the Gibb River Road in a 4WD, even climb Mt Kilimanjaro.

I could go on, but I think you get the message. So, how do we choose? Obviously our budget dictates our choice to a certain degree but, in this day of ‘have now – pay later’ (whether you agree with the concept or not), even that doesn’t necessarily limit us too much.

Then there are the ethical questions. Should we be supporting our own economy and travelling within Australia? Do our visits to other countries and cultures broaden our perspective? Should we be considering the impact of travel on the landscape and choosing destinations that support responsible tourism?

If we can sort this out in our heads we then need to decide on a few practicalities. How long can we be away for, do we want sunshine, surf and swimming pools or a winter wonderland? Are we taking a break simply to relax and get away from the grind of daily life, are we out to experience different cultures and lifestyles or do we want to indulge our passion for adventure and excitement? Do we want to stay in a resort, a hotel or may be rent an apartment and self cater? Do we want to stay put in one place or travel around? Do we want to hire a car or campervan, or use public transport?

Decisions, decisions. But at least I have the freedom and luxury of having decisions like these to make.

As for my travel plans …… yet to be decided, I’m still trying to choose!!

the Seaside

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I have always loved the seaside. I say seaside not beach because they are two very different things.Australia has the beach,England has the seaside. Most summers when I was young and we lived in the north of England, my parents would bundle my brother and myself into the car and, come rain or shine, transport us to a world of fun. Sometimes it was only an hour away to Cleethorpes or Skegness but there were the years, several of them, when we headed to the south coast.

The summer holiday was a time to relax, a time for family fun. Simple pleasures that meant so much. Sandcastles at the beach with little paper flags in their turrets, turrets made by packing wet sand into our plastic buckets and upending them on the castle. Boats fashioned out of sand by the men, my dad, my uncle and my grandfather, large enough for us to sit in and make believe. Skimming stones over the waves and collecting as many different shells as possible in our buckets. There always seemed so much to do. Visits to amusement arcades, fun fairs and boating lakes, rides on steam trains and donkeys, walks along the pier or over the rocks with their never ending array of minute life in the hidden pools. The parents seemed to enjoy it as much as the children did. They too shrieked with delight on their way down the helter skelter, dug with ceaseless energy to create sand sculptures and were overawed with the finds from the rock pools. They seemed to think nothing of walking miles to find just the shell that was missing from the collection or to stumble along the beach with ice creams dripping down their hands as a treat for the children.

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The sounds of the holiday makers were of fun times. There was the excited babble of the children, squeals of delight, laughter and the occasional raised voice of a parent admonishing a child who, once reprimanded, would be back at play, none the worse for the telling off. It wasn’t only the children who were having fun. The adults had thrown off the personas they carried around with them for eleven months of the year. Their annual summer holiday transformed them and endowed them with a carefree and easy going attitude. They would worry again when they returned home but for that short time they relaxed. The older generation also were not forgotten. Grandparents, younger than I am now, could be seen in their deckchairs overseeing the family group. They would be kept supplied with sandwiches and ice creams and the occasional bottle of stout. The grandfathers would sometimes be seen with their trousers rolled up and their handkerchiefs knotted on their heads paddling with the grandchildren or fossicking in the rock pools for crabs.

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It was a carefree time. A time to cherish. All too soon things changed, we grew up, we acquired responsibilities, we became adults. Expectations changed. Oh …. And technology got in the way.