Due to the COVID-19 restrictions the WARM programme has been suspended since March so I have agreed with the editor Patti that I will use the WARM slot to share some of my travel adventures with you.
Just to set the scene; I retired early from a very stressful job in the NHS in 2008 and my retirement present to myself was a trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos. It was a 12 week trip and included Spanish classes and volunteering in a nursery. I had an amazing time and certainly got the travel bug. In 2009 I met Chris and we have travelled ever since.
Our longest trip was 10 months; five spent house-sitting in Mexico and five travelling around South America.
Our trips all have things in common, which include doing the planning and organising, trying to get to know a bit about the local culture and the people and looking for wildlife experiences as well as seeing famous places. We try and stay in Marine Iguanas Galapagos Madurai Temple Stunning Bolivia simple, low cost, clean and comfortable accommodation and eat local food. To travel around we use local buses and trains, or where distances are great we fly, but things don’t always go to plan. Due to a traffic jam we once missed our booked train in Kochi, India and had to travel 3rd class unreserved hard seat for 4-5 hours!
If you have seen travel documentaries where people are scrambling to get on the trains in India, it’s ‘dog eat dog’ and you just have to sharpen your elbows and go for it.
In Sumatra we bought all of the seats on the back row of a bus so we had enough room! Indonesians are very slim and a single seat was too small.
We boarded a plane in Cusco to fly to the jungle in Peru in torrential rain and 90 minutes later landed back where we had started as the weather was too bad to land.
In the middle of a tropical storm in Thailand we had to get off our ferry and jump down onto a small longboat, carrying our luggage.
It is hard to pick out highlights as there are so many, but for wildlife it will be between the Galapagos, Sumatra, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Namibia. For history and architecture, Turkey and Egypt are obvious choices, but for temples and religious sites, India wins by a country mile. For scenery and nature, New Zealand has something for everyone, but for wild open spaces, Argentina and Bolivia win.
Some of our experiences have been amplified because we shared it with fellow travellers or met amazing local people who touch you and we have encountered incredible kindness. I loved the people in Bolivia, New Zealand and Nepal, but could not warm to people in China and in Egypt, Turkey and in the touristy parts of Peru we were hassled constantly.
Over the next few months, until the WARM walks resume, I will share some of our adventures. The question is where to start?