Saturday, 7 December 2013

Not so well travelled

I was recently invited to write an article for the 'Inside Learning Technologies' magazine link and so I produced a piece entitled "What I would say to my younger self", wherein I shared some of the stuff I wish I'd known when I was 'growing up' (which assumes, of course, that I have indeed grown up. The jury's still out on that one). 

Number 3 of my messages in a bottle to myself was "Don't pass up the opportunity to travel". I went on "...get into the habit while you're young and can do it on the cheap... If you don't do it now, you'll find it all the more challenging when you get older".

Well, I never did. I'm one of the least travelled people you'll ever meet.  For a variety of reasons, I didn't hear that message from my future self in time and, as a result, can pretty much count on one hand the countries I have managed to visit, and within those countries, the destinations and sights I have managed to explore.  I've been OK with that over the years, have managed to holiday and travel within the UK both as a callow youth and as a husband and dad on family holidays. To be honest, the idea of foreign travel with young children always struck as way too much hard work - just child care in a different climate! Funnily enough, both children, now nearly 22 and solidly 18, have managed to travel more through their friendship groups and opportunities already, than I have.

But now, as I approach 58, I can hear my travel alarm ticking away. Someone said to me a while ago "Do the difficult travel while you still can; save the easy stuff for when you're older and can't - the cruises, the Great Train Journeys, etc.  Mandy and I cruised for the first time three years ago, our Silver Wedding Anniversary present to ourselves, and absolutely loved it. We're thinking about what to do for our 30th in 2015, but are we going to go for the easy and luxurious, or the more challenging? We'll need to wait and see.

So this brings me to my 58th Birthday present from my daughter and my wife - Mandy and I are off to Rome on Thursday for a couple of days! Basically, it's all booked, flights, private Colosseum tour guide and Vatican tickets arranged. All I've got to do is turn up and go! I am very excited about this. And I'm loving that excitement. I've bought and am working my way through the Lonely Planet guide to Rome, I've asked my network for their recommendations of places to see and places to eat, and I can't wait.

In my message to my younger self, I also said "It's easy and it will broaden your knowledge, perceptions and experience." I may have left it a bit late, but in terms of my ever-continuing learning journey, Rome looks like just the place to do that. 

The only question left is, where next?

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