Tuesday 7 February 2017

Travel experiences 'then and now'

Ever since I was a baby I've travelled, from wherever we were living with my Father's job in the UK, Newport, Leicester, York, Ross-on Wye to see my grandparents in Brighton and South Wales, during the holidays as well as caravan holidays in the North East, South West or West Wales.

Our one and only foreign holiday was aged 15 for 2 weeks in the South of France and I had a day trip to Calais when I was around 13, with school.

All travel for us was by car, bags were filled, picnics were made, a few toys and books were selected for the journey and all lose items were thrown in the boot. Blankets and pillows were taken for comfort on the journey and we'd often end up with only 1 cassette tape for the trip and little radio coverage.

Fast forward to the 90's and I became a parent myself, holidays were camping at holiday sites near the beach, we travelled by car and the same method of packing took place. There was a special trip  to EuroDisney about 5 years after it opened, after saving hard, collecting the tokens in a newspaper and redeeming them for cheap flights.

Up until 2000 the only other trips I'd made were aged 17 to Amsterdam and with a friend to Dublin for a weekend. I'd also won a competition with a national newspaper and spent a week in Barcelona for the Olympic games.

As with all the trips, tickets, souvenirs were kept and scrap books were made, photo's were taken carefully and sent for developing arriving back 2 -3 weeks later.

My only other experience of travel was that of my Father, who travelled the world with his job between the mid 70's and early 90's. Everything he brought back was treasured and I had a collection of plane tickets, napkins, postcards, gifts mainly from South Africa, India and Egypt. I still have quite a few things from his travels.

All our holidays were out of term time, I never noticed a price difference, I didn't have the means to check out deals, it was either booked by calling a number in the newspaper, visiting a travel agent or obtaining a number for a camp site from a friend's recommendation.

Fast forward to the last 17 years and my travel has widened. Now living in Dubai and previously in South Africa, my approach to travel has changed. As the children got older we travelled to France and round Europe by car, and then further afield to Turkey, Tunisia and America. We thought nothing of getting in the car and driving to Manchester or London from the Midlands for a football match.

Peter's travels now take him further afield, although working in Europe is now a long haul flight away and while most of our holidays are now to the UK, in the past year, between us and together we've travelled to Europe, Canada, Jordan and Egypt.

The kids now come home for a fortnight, bring a mate or a girlfriend, family come to visit for holidays in far flung, foreign places.

In the past 10 years I've noticed  how many people now think that having a holiday is a basic human right, taking children out of school as it's the only time they can afford to go and feeling that unless you travel to a far flung, tropical location they're all missing out and getting into debt to do so.

What happened to the good old British Holiday, a week or two camping or in a caravan, by the sea?

Saying that, I'm flying to the UK for summer, we're off to Turkey in July, me flying in from the UK and Peter from Dubai. I'm also travelling to Belfast to visit one son and hopefully to Dublin, Munich and South Africa to visit friends.

The rest of my 'holiday' will be spent travelling around in a hire car, visiting family with everything chucked in the boot.

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