As you may well know from my previous blog post, I never had great aspirations to travel throughout most of my life. That’s not to say that I didn’t love going on holiday and experiencing different cultures (From the safety of a package holiday…).
Spanish has always been a passion of mine, I feel so much more alive and animated when I speak Spanish. I must have gone on holiday to Spain about 14 times in my life and I love talking to local children and impressing my family by ordering our food and drink in Spanish!
It’s hard to remember every holiday to Spain, I must have been to just Benidorm at least 7 times. Package holidays may be nice but they no longer satiate my wanderlust.
So here is a brief history of my pre-sabbatical travel!
Aged 2= Lloret De Mar- Catalunia.
I was a jet setter when I was still in nappies! Although I can’t remember anything about my first trip my parent’s tell me that I used to charm the local ice cream man into giving me broken ice lollies and that I was absolutely terrified of the sea. I developed a pencent for pushing boys in to swimming pools and ate spaghetti on my third birthday.
Aged 3-8 Local holidays in the UK.
I had enough of the jet set lifestyle so we holidayed in the UK. I absolutely loved camping and roughing it and I had plenty of practice when we camped in North Wales (Betws y coed), the Isle of Skye in Scotland and other places in the UK. I was a very social side and loved Pontins and Butlins and was so lucky that I was able to get away so often.
Aged 8=Benidorm- Spain.
My second visit to Spain made me realise how much I love the sun. I loved swimming in the sea or pool and talking to other youngsters. I wore my hair in really cool tiny plaits that made every child around the pool jealous.
Aged 9=Calella- Catelonia
We travelled to Calella by coach and ferry. I remember it took 36 hours to get there but that figure may have been exaggerated over the years. It felt like we were travelling there and back for the same time that we were actually in Calella. It was a real test of my patience but I loved staring out of the coach window, admiring the changing landscape. Calella felt very ‘Spanish’ and I loved trying to communicate with local children and admiring the glamorous Spanish women at the Feria.
Aged 11-=Gran Canaria, Spain
We stayed in a hotel at the top of a hill with amazing views. The beach was rocky but I loved exploring with my sister. In hindsight the crowded bars decorated with neon bars remind me of Khao San road!
Aged 12=The Algarve, Portugal
I was astounded at Portuguese hospitality, so friendly and giving. We tried a lot of Portuguese food too which was delicious. I need to visit again sometime soon.
Aged 13= Benidorm, Spain
I went to Benidorm so many times I can’t remember how many times we went. This time was special because I gained a love of ssnorkelingbafter sailing to Peacock island and spending the day exploring the water with people from all around the world. I saw a massive moray ell which gave me a life long phobia!
Aged 14-=Lanzarote, Spain
Such a beautiful island. All of the hotels and complexes are low rise and most are painted white. I remember choosing what fish to have for dinner from a massive fish tank in the restaurant. I’ve never felt so cruel but the fish was delicious.
Aged 19=Ibiza, Spain
This was my first holiday with my ex boyfriend. I envisioned nights of dancing at the top clubs but couldn’t believe it when it was 50 euro just to get in a club! We went on a little cruise, sunbathed and explored. I had a wonderful time.
Aged 20=Salou, Spain
A short get away which included a day trip to Barcelona. I absolutely loved Las Ramblas and I’m embarrassed to say that we ate Burger King in Barcelona… Now I wouldn’t even dream of eating at Burger king when in Spain, land of delicious tapas!
Aged 21=Tenerife, Spain
We stayed in a private villa with my family and ex boyfriend. It was a lovely relaxed way of life and we ate in a delicious Italian restaurant most nights where they made us feel like family. I went Tenerife the following year too, single .
Aged 23=Benidorm, Spain
I’m including Benidorm again because it was my first and only girly holiday with my sister. We spent the days partying in the clubs and bars and the days eating and sunbathing by the pool. Benidorm is famous for it’s strip shows and we were shocked when the stripper would just stride on to the dancefloor and start their act, sometimes trapping up so we couldn’t get away!
So there is the round up of my travel pre-sabbatical! Not mentioned was the many camping holidays and holidays to Benidorm interspersed between the others.
I’m so lucky I was given the opportunity to travel so much when I was younger, most friends of mine rarely went on holiday with their families, let alone multiple times a year like I did.
I learned to rough it, sometimes when we camped I would walk up a massive hill for our daily water. The bucket was our toilet and the river was our bath/beer cooler. My friends now can’t believe that I roughed it like that when I was a kid and when I was on my sabbatical because I look so polished and wear vintage clothes. I love not being what people expect me to be.
I learn’t life skills on holiday that I could never learn in school, language skills, communication skills, having the courage to try new food and develop a natural curiosity for the world. Without the life lessons I learn’t when I was younger I doubt I would have handled nursing myself through horrible Dengue fever in Thailand and coping with the crippling weakness afterwards.
The reason I didn’t travel from the ages of 23-25 was because I was single. My friends were not interested in travel and I didn’t realise that it was possible to go on holiday alone, let alone travel the world solo! I’m so glad I plucked up the courage to take a sabbatical, my quarter life crisis was the best thing that could have ever happened to me!
Travel has definitely changed and moulded me throughout the years, for the better!
Do my pre-sabbatical travels surprise you? Did you travel when you were young? Did you always want to travel or was forging a career your top priority like mine?