My first overseas holiday was a long rail journey to Austria where, with my school mates, I stayed in the beautiful town of Kitzbuhel. Fast forward to 1979 and I moved to Paris to study and work. I lived in the 16th Arrondissement, in a place called Port de St Cloud but I spent every possible free moment walking the streets of central Paris, visiting museums and sitting watching people from the seats outside Deux Maggots which was near my school.
Since the Seventies, I have travelled overseas most years. Its always fun doing the alphabet of countries and I can normally find somewhere visited for every letter, with the exception of L, Q, X and Y. Qatar is the only Q and who knows I may get there one day. Yemen is the only Y and I am unlikely to visit. ‘L’ has a few options and I may decide to visit at least one of them at some point in the future. No country or sovereign state begins with the letter X.
2012 was, for us, a significant exception to the overseas travel rule. I refused to leave the UK, it was an act of defiance, of rebellion and it came at a time when I was still grieving for the loss of my mother. I refused to leave the UK until my husband agreed to an adventure. It was a withdrawal of willingness to go back to our usual haunts.
So, when foreign travel was off the agenda, I took a flat for a winter rental from 3rd January 2012, luckily for me the rental was extended to the middle of May. The flat overlooked a pebble beach and I could watch the sea coming in and going out.
It was the therapy I needed. It was the place where I started to write fiction. It was also the place where we planned our travel bucket list. We had different perspectives on when we should embark on our adventures: My husband assumed it would all happen when we retired; I felt strongly that we had to do it while we were still working and young enough to climb onto ribs and endure the hardships of some of the journeys we were considering.
Top of that list was Antarctica and in 2013 we undertook a most amazing journey which included a trip over to Easter Island. Fast forward and we have seen and done way more travel than we ever expected.
We had plans for last year including a trip to New Zealand but those plans were put on hold because of family illness. We also had lots of plans for this year, but they will not now happen. We wonder if we will ever travel by air again; we hope for a vaccine.
So, for the second time this summer, we travelled to spend a week in a flat over-looking the sea. We fell asleep to the sound of waves lapping or crashing onto pebbles. We walked the beach from Bracklesham Bay to East Head or vice versa. We sunbathed on a tiny balcony. We had a Chinese takeaway!
We started to think about future adventures and we agreed that for the next couple of years these adventures may need to take place in the UK. Re-engaged with our love of sailing, we considered the possibility of sailing around the UK. We realised that even though we will not be flying anywhere, we have many options and the only thing that holds us back from experiencing more adventure will be our own hesitation.
Once again I am grateful to East Wittering, the beach, the sea, the holiday agents for organising accommodation, and the people working in the shops and restaurants for providing for our every need. It seems that East Wittering is, for me, an inspiring place. Its a place where my husband and I engage in important discussions and it is where we seem to take important decisions.
Now, we will work out exactly how to make our plans a reality!!
In the meantime, I have decided to sort my photos into alphabetical country order so I am sharing my travel alphabet below. I am really interested to know where others have travelled, so, do message me.
My Travel Alphabet
A = Africa, Argentina, Antarctica, Austria, Antigua, Australia and Ascension Island
B= Belgium, Brazil, Bolivia, Belize, British Virgin Islands and Barbados
C= Chile, Capo Verde, Canada, Cuba and Cyprus
E = Egypt
F= France and the most amazing Falkland Islands (how did I miss this off the first time I did the list!)
G= Germany, Greece, Grenada and Guatamala
H – Holland, Hong Kong
I – Ireland, India and Italy
J = Jersey and Japan
K = Kenya
M = Mexico, Mustique, Martinique, Montserrat and Moldova
N = Nigeria and Norway
O – Oman
P = Peru, Paraguay and Poland
R = Romania (This is a bit of a stretch, Moldova was once part of Romania!)
S = Spain, St Lucia, St Martin, Senegal, St Kitts, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Sri Lanka and Switzerland.
T = Tanzania Tunisia Turkey Trinidad and Tobago
U = United States of America United Arab Emirates and Uganda
V= Vancouver Island, Virgin Islands (US) Vatican City
W= Wales (this doesn’t come up in the Encyclopedia Britannica’s list of countries, but I am including it anyway!)
Z = Zanzibar