"Aletta's Life and Travels" AlettaCrofton's Profile

The desire to travel is born

From my first visit as teenager to an airport I have had the desire to travel and see places beyond the borders of South Africa.

Time went by and I married Mervyn, an outdoor fanatic who has been climbing the mountains of the Western Cape along with members of the Mountain Club of South Africa since the age of 12.

Mervyn introduced me to the world of mountains through his experiences and his collection of books. He introduced me to the Himalayas, Edmund Hillary, the sherpas and of course …. our own Table Mountain!

While sipping coffee from our flask on the high ridges of Table Mountain we often shared our readings from travel books and wondered if we would ever have the opportunity to travel the world.

A few years later, in 1992, my brother and his wife invited us to join them on a 7 day tour to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was a dream came true.
On return we immediately started a special savings account where we saved for a next adventure.

That happened in 1994 when we accepted an invitation by friends on St Helena Island. The only way to get to this little island in the South Atlantic Ocean is by a boat called the Royal Mail Ship (RMS – St Helena). The voyage from Cape Town to the island took 5 days. (Soon to come: my St Helena Island page).

Many years passed before our next opportunity came along and that was in 2001 when once again my brother and his wife invited us to accompany them to Malaysia for two weeks.

By this time there was no stopping us. I started to subscribe to every available local travel agent’s electronic newsletter.

In 2003 Mervyn and I visited a friend in Brazil for 2 weeks.

Tragedy strikes

Then tragedy struck: Mervyn was diagnosed with a bone marrow problem which left him chronically fatigued. But he did not give up on his dream to visit Nepal and see the Himalayas. He was fully aware of his physical limitations, that he would never be able to climb a mountain or walk long distances again. But his longing to go to this region was very strong. His specialist did not think that it was a good idea because of the high altitude.

My sister in law one day suggested that we do a 'test run' to Buenos Aires in Argentina. She reasoned that it is a direct flight from Cape Town to Buenos Aires, the city itself is flat and easy to navigate and most people living there understand English.

So a few weeks later we took the plunge and off we went on our Argentine adventure.

On return Mervyn was beaming with excitement (and health).

My sister in law again reasoned that it’s now or never and convinced me to book that trip to Nepal!

An understanding travel agent booked us on a trip that included 9 nights accommodation in Kathmandu, 2 nights in Pokhara and 2 nights in a mountain resort with one or two half day tours of the cities and a mountain flight over the Himalayas. At last Mervyn saw his beloved Everest.

Why stop now?

In the mean time travel newsletters have been tempting me week after week with more specials and one day a "seven days in London" special jumped out at me. Mervyn was not overly over the moon, because London was one of the last destinations on our list. But we went and as usual, were not sorry.
Two months later my brother invited us to accompany himself and his wife to Cairo, Egypt, where he had to attend a conference on interactive electronic white boards. Needless to say, we immediately said 'yes'.

What does 2009 hold?

In December 2008 Mervyn landed in hospital where he spent one month in intensive care. Doctors were not sure if he was going to survive, but he did. By March the following year he started talking about travelling, indicating that his health was improving. So off we went for a week in London.!!

India - at last!

India was the one country that I have always dreamed of visiting. Mervyn reluctantly agreed and I booked us to go on the 'golden triangle'. When my brother heard the news, he decided to join us. Unfortunately his wife's parents were both very sick at the time, but she encouraged my brother to go. We visited Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. The festival of Diwali was on while we were in Jaipur and what an experience it was! Of course seeing and touching the Taj Mahal was the absolute highlight.
I was not disappointed in India or its people. I long to go back and spend more time there.

Two Weeks in Kathmandu

In May 2010 we enjoyed an unforgettable two weeks in Kathmandu, exploring all the sights we zoomed passed on our visit 3 years ago. This time we spent one whole day at the Monkey Temple, a day in Patan, a day in Bhaktapur, etc. We stayed at the Malla hotel in the centre of Thamel. My younger brother and his wife came along and we had an absolute ball of a time!


In December 2010 we returned from a week in Mumbai and I can recommend this destination to anyone who longs for a leisurely break while at the same time experiencing a different and interesting culture.

Far East Here We Come!

March 2011: Our tour of four cities in the Far East was magnificent. We spent 4 nights each in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Hong Kong.

November 2011: Well, here we are in Kathmandu again with my brother and his wife. Neither of them have ever been to this part of the world before. We spent the whole day walking the streets of Thamel and from tomorrow we will be doing more exciting sight seeing. We are staying at the Courtyard Hotel in Thamel where we are being treated like family. I hope to add to my Kathmandu pages soon!

March 2012: Back in Kathmandu, staying at the Courtyard Hotel, Thamel again. This time Mervyn and I are taking it easy and decided to explore all the backstreets of the city either on foot or by rickshaw.

In September 2013: Mervyn and I have just returned from another two magical weeks in Kathmandu. We again stayed at the Courtyard Hotel.
One month later, on 26 October 2013, Mervyn passed away.

In May 2014 a friend invited me to accompany her to Mumbay for ten days. Travelling was not the same without Mervyn, but I made the best of it.
India is magical and I enjoyed the time there.

Will I travel again in the future? Only time will tell.

  • Intro Updated Oct 25, 2014
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Comments (9)

  • isolatedpawn's Profile Photo
    Sep 11, 2014 at 3:29 PM

    happy birthday to you happy birthday to you happy birthday happy birthday happy birthday to you

  • kahnjetta's Profile Photo
    Sep 11, 2014 at 9:57 AM

    Happy Birthday! I hope you enjoy your special day.

  • isolatedpawn's Profile Photo
    Sep 23, 2013 at 9:52 PM

    happy birthday from calapan city, philippines

  • Donna_in_India's Profile Photo
    Sep 12, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    Happy birthday!

  • toemayn's Profile Photo
    Sep 11, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    Hope your birthday is filled with all the fun you can handle!

  • walter2001's Profile Photo
    Nov 23, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    Happy Birthday to YOU!
    It's your special day, so enjoy it. And don't forget to share with the friends in your life, what you are doing today. Arthur Dubai.

  • Donna_in_India's Profile Photo
    Sep 11, 2012 at 4:03 AM

    Hi Aletta - wishing you a very happy birthday! How have you been? I have not heard from you in some time.

  • DaHongHua's Profile Photo
    Sep 11, 2012 at 1:47 AM

    Read your touching story from 2008. A warm happy birthday greeting from Malaysia to you and Mervyn. Wish you lots of good luck, lots of happiness and keep enjoy travelling. Cheers.

  • Nov 18, 2011 at 1:54 AM

    Hi Aletta -- I loved reading about the birth of your desire to travel, especially how you started the special travel savings fund after that first trip to Rio de Janierro. Nice pictures of you and Mervyn in Karol Bagh and at Taj Mahal. My wife & I are in India now and will be seeing those places next month. Sincerely, Keith Stanley.

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Aletta Crofton
Cape Town, South Africa
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