Where next? And just why aren’t YOU travelling, eh?

So that’ll be January gone then?

It’s not just I who considers Blighty a less than special place when the gloom pervades the short days and the dank drizzle makes grey every colour.

Solution? Get outta here.

So we did, with a cheeky long weekend in Barcelona. Fab.

It had booze aplenty:  vermut, cava, cerveza. Lashings of tapas. The sun shone wall to Gaudi wall. Cable cars, Olympic Park and – ohh yesss – chocolate and churros.

Of course, now we’re back I am bereft and looking forward to another jaunt.

But since you are here. I need to vent a little over the kind of light flak we get about our travels and as such am going to take a moment to provide answers to some of the generic commentary/barbed observations we regularly encounter.

  • “Oooh, you must be loaded?!”

Just how much do you think it costs? Barcelona is in the middle of – according to the media – Catalunyan unrest. So money goes further because people are staying away and it’s January. Shmucks! Flights were £24 each way (with a grown up airline from Gatwick). The hotel was a shade over £55/night and was lovely. Avoid tourist honeypots, don’t eat fancy meals, walk and take public transport, drink local vermut, cervesa, coffee, munch on tapas to keep it cheaper than a weekend in the UK.

Then don’t change your car every year, cancel your Sky subscription, swap the iPhone for a less costly Android, DIY on the house, leave the bathroom refresh for another time, save a few beans here’n’there into a travel fund and plan ahead. Or – better? – grab last minute bargains. Go off season, go obscure, Airbnb it, take overnight trains/planes to save a hotel night occasionally, don’t breakfst/dinner at the hotel, go the weeks before/after the big local shindig, self cater, read Simon Calder in the Independent, read thrifty travel blogs, take a risk.

The bigger league trips – Japan, NYC – require fundamental logistical decisions and sacrifices.

Loaded? No. Thrifty? Yes.

  • “OMG, you’re always going away!”

No we bloody aren’t. But instead of having fixed routines, we mix it up a bit. Our calendar does not include skiing trips – ohhh, I wish it did, but that would preclude the funky stuff – or for that matter set piece summer holidays. Our summer holidays of late have been snatched camping missions whilst the fleeting British summer allows.

We are opportunist travelers. We don’t take any more holidays than the next person.

  • “Ohh, I couldn’t do that.”

You need to get over yourself, because you could. Maybe it is a budget airline. (Although never Ryanair, NEVER AGAIN.) Maybe it is a strange language. A strange place. Maybe the accommodation is an unknown quantity. The food…

I liken it to trying something new off the menu. If you’ve never tried it and it’s not going to a) kill you or b) break the bank then do it. No likee? Then buy a bag of chips on the way home. You’re unlikely to starve.

  • “I don’t know where you find the time.”

Have a look in the mirror. Ask yourself… Am I short of time or merely prioritising something else? Am I lazy? Maybe you can’t face traveling/spending time with people.

This – as I encounter almost everyday in my professional life – is a mindset issue.

We find the time by, er, finding it. We are massively fortunate to be above the bread line. We also enjoy each others company. One of secret weapons is Granny Pat. (Although she’d rather travel than stay at home with J&M I’m sure.) We also go en famille.

When next you see us and travel comes up, please inquire appreciatively (if you are remotely interested). If you are disinterested, please say so because I don’t want to ram it down an unwilling throat.

Rant over. Ahhh.

Roll on New Delhi in September. (Or whatever happens inbetween: passports at the ready…)

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