Josie and I started travelling together in 1998 with Paris. The habit of taking a photo of our hotel morphed as did our approach to this adventure. At first it was just the hotel, then we had to be in the photo (sensible, otherwise it’s just a photo of a hotel!) and as we extended the invitation to others, they too had to be in the photo. This invitation started in 99 when Josie bravely invited her sister, Annette and her husband David. I say bravely because Josie hates juggling different priorities but it worked really well. We all got on famously. They were approved companion Miss Adventurers!
Our first trip to Paris, although amazing was during a period in my life where I was suffering as a result of my gall bladder which meant I was verboten from partaking in the amazing pastries, cheeses and anything with cream would send me through the roof. Having said that I distinctly remember eating mussels in a white wine sauce – I’m sure that had cream. It was the advent of booking restaurants online and I remember we got to our first venue and got the best seat in the house simply because I was one of the first customers to be brave enough to book online.
In 2003 our three girls joined in the fun. They were of similar age and given money was a challenge it meant they got a short holiday abroad and an introduction to travelling. Needless to say they are all still travelling! 2004 Josie upped the ante as we had two trips, primarily because we HAD to have one just the two of us. In 2008 Josh was old enough to come along and joined us for a 2 city adventure to Florence and Pisa. This was not long after I had separated from their Dad and we met him and his new partner in Pisa where Josh then joined them on a holiday.
The two city idea continued with an amazing trip to Switzerland in 2011 with two of our children, Katy and Joshua – Hannah and Jessica I think were independent at that point. This included an amazing train trip to the Jungfrau which should be on everybody’s bucket list. The two cities were Basel and Interlaken. We also packed two trips in that year although the second was at home in Chester, a lovely little place where we managed to drink cocktails for free and I think Josie reminded me our accommodation was something like £10 due to some cock up – we were not complaining.
In 2013 we did another 2 city break largely because our friends Jayne and Neil had bought a lovely new apartment in NYC and I wanted an excuse to see it. This was the year where I ticked another item of my bucket list (which only exists in my head) and got the privilege of experiencing firstly class travel. Although I swore I’d never pay full price for the pleasure it was a great experience. Given the damage I did falling over in NYC I was very grateful for the flat bed en route home.
We have stayed in all sorts of places. From the Travelodge in London through to the lovely Hotel Casa Blanca in Mexico City. We’ve capitalised on having friends in nice places and taken them up on their kind hospitality. As always we’ve moved with the times and in 2015 we booked our first AirBnB for Cape Town where there were 5 of us and we needed to keep costs down. Never have we come across somewhere so bad we’ve had to change hotels and most of the time we have been pleasantly surprised. When we started Josie had a wonderful travel agent in Haddington, where she lived, who would organise everything for us. These days we tend to go straight to the online sites like Expedia or Opodo and book it all ourselves. It is just so easy.