"Getting itchy feet........" suvanki's Profile
Well 2012 was a busy year - not sure what adventures 2013 will bring .....
February - VT meet in Manchester - an Ooop North welcome for VTer MalenaN
MarchA visit to Bristol for work, then a long weekend in Bergamo with Gillybob for our final reccy before Eurmeet 2012
AprilA weekend in Halifax with Phil, where we had a great time with Ricky52 and Sheila.
A dash to London to see Phil Lynott exhibition and another VT meet - Chicago Comes to London - in the form of riorich55 and his wife Sue.
Co-hosted EURMEET 2012 in Bergamo with Gillybob and leics. Gilly and I then spent a few nights on Lake Como, before heading to Milan to see Bruce Springsteen in concert, then Brescia before heading back home for 4 nights..... Then it was off to Madrid for the weekend - Another Springsteen concert, and a day out in Toledo with Vter Redang (Santi)
Back home, and time to see the Olympic Torch arrive in Sheffield.
The last weekend of June found me camping near Skipton, in the Yorkshire Dales for our VT Ooop North Camping Weekend, this was organised by alyf1961, who also organised the first VT meet of
July Skipton Sheep Day.
A week later, I was in Zurich, where I was very well looked after by yumyum (Sonja), who invited me to stay at her home, showed me the sights of her city, organised a VT meet - a day out to Rapperswil, and came with me to see Bruce Springsteen. I arrived home via Geneva.
My next planned trip was a disaster- I was due to fly to Dublin to see Springsteen, which I was really looking forward to, especially as I had planned to see annemariebyrne, who had got me my ticket, and was also going to the concert. Well through a frustrating (and expensive) chain of events, I arrived at Manchester Airport, just as the plane doors were closing.
August A mini VT meet with Benson35 - showing her the sights of Sheffield - I understand that she is recovering from the experience!
17th -19th Myfanwes annual Welsh VT Camping Meet - 4 of us braved the rain of Dolgellau (again)!
Rushbearing and Scarecrows - Ricky52's biennial Meeting in Halifax
September 15th - 22nd
A week in Vilnius with Phil - our first time in Lithuania
A lovely weekend in Whitby
Growing up in Nottinghamshire (Robin Hood Country), I was aware that there was a big world out there! I couldn't wait to explore!
Family and friends who lived or holidayed abroad had me transfixed with stories of their travels. My prized possessions were a globe and encyclopaedia. I used to spend hours reading about foreign countries. I also received my first camera, starting years of snap happy moments.
CHILDHOOD AND TEENAGE YEARS
Family holidays were mainly spent camping in Scotland or the Yorkshire Dales. My cries of "Why can't we go to Spain like normal families"? were ignored, as we set off up yet another rain soaked mountain. Years later, I realised how lucky I'd been to see these stunning, unspoilt places.
1971 My first trip abroad aged 11, to Belgium, Holland and Germany on a school trip. I've never forgotten the magic of arriving in Valkenburg, Holland, at night time. The bars and streets were dimly lit. It had such an exciting 'foreign' atmosphere! I loved the differences, such as ham & cheese for breakfast! I think this was the spark that ignited my love of travel.
Summer '76, the year of THE HEATWAVE, ladybirds everywhere! I was waiting for my O'level results. We headed off in our caravan, to Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg (still not Spain, but at least we were on foreign soil)
Amsterdam was fascinating, if a bit scary - our campsite was guarded by gun toting security men. We also visited Radio Luxembourg - the station I was (secretly) tuned into every night at home.
INDEPENDENCE......and Paying for my own trips now!!
At 18, I left home for the bright lights of Sheffield, to start my Nursing career. Earning money, and owning a passport - I was off!
My first holiday with 4 friends was to Lake Como, with a day trip to Venice.
Long weekends and 'nights-off' were spent in Europe.
Married, I continued to enjoy the benefits of student travel. I even got to Spain! oh and enjoyed camping holidays and backpacking around Scotland and the Yorkshire Dales! My honeymoon was spent camping in Derbyshire!
Despite some great holidays in Europe and USA, and spending the night together in a police cell in Utrecht (That's another story!) we divorced.
THE GREAT ESCAPE!!
This was the start of an exciting whole new life for me!
Needing a holiday, I arranged a flight and accom in a small Cretan village, where we'd spent our last holiday.
My 1st holiday alone - I absolutely loved it!!
This gave me the taste for travelling by myself.
I returned to Crete a couple of times.
Next, I booked a "holiday of a lifetime " to China, somewhere I'd wanted to visit since I was 5 yrs old.
Unfortunately, the tragedy of Tiannamen Square led to cancellation by the Foreign Office.
I ended up booking a last min package to Turkey, a country I knew very little about. It was love at first sight! Very soon I was obsessed by this fascinating country, the people, culture, scenery, food, language etc.
I also visited Athens and some of the Greek Islands
ANOTHER CHANGE OF DIRECTION...
During this time, I met Phil -we were both working behind a bar -me to earn extra money for my trips etc, him as he was studying for his degree. We enjoyed many trips in the UK and to Turkey, Crete and Spain. We also enjoyed solo trips, and trips away with friends.
In 1999 Becoming disillusioned with nursing, I spent a few months working as a holiday rep. in Turkey, based in Marmaris and Icmeler.
A job I found frustrating when the clients wanted everything to be English, and weren't interested in Turkey at all, except for its bargain t shirts, cheap drinks etc..
I returned home to Sheffield, to Phil, and to Nursing (After a period doing agency nursing, I was employed as a Staff Nurse in Emergency Admissions, which was completely different to my previous job. I loved the work, but was approached about a job in research - I didn't expect to get this, especially as it was 2 grades higher than my present job, so I was very shocked to find I had the job (I was actually in the process of booking a flight to Cyprus when I got the call, and thought it was a 'Thanks but No Thanks' call, so I'm afraid that I wasn't really listening - until I heard the mention of checking my records etc.
Sadly, Phil and I parted company a couple of years later, but I continued weekends away with friends and my solo trips.
My new job meant more money for trips, and my work involved travel around Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley as well as to Bristol for training and meetings. (This now includes Oxford, as I'm now employed by Oxford University).
I also enjoyed holidays in Symi (2002 and 2003) and a long wished for trip to Kerala (2003/4)
In 2004, I discovered VT, and life has never been the same since!
I've had lots more trips, but often of shorter duration.
Thanks to Ryanair/EasyJet etc, plus having weekends off work, I've had the opportunity for visiting so many places in Europe.
Christmases since 2006 have been spent in Venice.
In 2008, I finally got to visit somewhere that had long been at the top of my must see places -Iran. It far exceeded my expectations!
In 2004, I was reading Wanderlust Magazine, and came across a short paragraph with a website address for something called Virtual Tourist!
Little did I realise that this would change my life so much.....
I've always enjoyed my holidays - exploring every nook and cranny, trying the local cuisine and learning about the culture etc. Oh and taking lots of photos!! I'm afraid that I'm not good at sunbathing or laying by a pool all day.
I tried to keep a diary (or at least some scribbled notes), and usually came home with a wad of receipts/tickets/brochures and flyers etc.
Returning to work after trips away, the question "Did You Have a Good Time"? fruastratingly meant a Yes or No answer - (The same as when someone asks "How are You"? They don't really want to know the details)......and producing holiday snaps is a complete No No!!!
So, clicking onto VT, I soon discovered that 'This was the site for me'!
I think I started with my Symi and Kerala pages - I was quite happy downloading my photos and writing tips etc. Others seemed to like these as I started getting ratings and positive comments. I added more pages for Sheffield and Edwinstowe My present and past homes. I had lots of pics and info to keep me busy.
I'd also got quite a few Virtual Friends - sharing an interest of places visited etc.
My 45th Birthday was looming, and I'd planned to celebrate in Marrakech, but was getting increasingly discouraging comments - horror stories from friends of friends, and even first hand experiences - I was on the verge of cancelling, when I decided to post a question about my concerns as a solo female traveller to Marrakech in the travel forum - Straight away, I received encouraging replies from VTers including diageva and angiebabe Thanks to them, I did go to Marrakech, and had a Brilliant time. This trip, I was conscious that I was taking even more photos and taking notes with the main aim of creating my VT pages!!
Angie and Evas help led to me participating more in the travel forums, hoping to help others by answering their questions on places that I'd visited.
VT was a way for me to relax after a day at work, writing my tips, and reading of others trips and their interesting lives.
I had noticed the meetings page and had glanced at it a few times, but didn't really want to sign up, as I'd asumed that these meets would be cliquey and full of WIWI's trying to outdo each other with their travel stories.
However, as I was making more Virtual friends, I knew that some were going to the Euromeet in Santorini I signed up, but cancelled when this co-incided with another trip, same again a year later when I signed up for Karlsruhe.
2008, I spotted a meet that I couldn't ignore 'Ricky52's Fish, Chips and Mushy Peas' in Halifax. This looked like a fun packed weekend, I 'knew' quite a few of the VTers attending and it was an hour or so drive from my home.
Blimey, this weekend turned my life upside down ......and it's not been the same since!!!
Yes, I nearly turned round a few times on the way there, especially as there was a torrential downpour on the drive over, but I'm so glad that I went to this meet - as well as meeting the friendliest group of people, I had a wonderful weekend doing things that I'd not done before such as clay pigeon shooting. Any worries about cliques and WIWI's were soon dispelled - I now know that travel isn't the main topic of conversation at VT Meets.
After the weekend, I was invited to join poons and Suet next day, who were taking Hansi and loripori on a trip to see the Yorkshire Dales - YES!!! I didn't want the weekend to end - angiebabe made up the 6th member for a Great trip out. These were people that I hadn't met until a couple of days ago, but strangely I felt like I'd known them all a lot longer.
VT was getting more addictive........ I'd booked a flight to Dublin, but when I realised that there was a meet in Cork that same weekend, Where some of the VTers I'd met in Halifax were going to.
I hastily arranged a flight from Dublin to Cork and made the restaurant for the evening meal.
November saw me at the Manchester Christmas Markets meet - again, meeting 'old friends' and new ones too.
So, now I had real VT friends as well as my virtual friends, I was having to work hard to keep up with my tip writing, replying to e-mails and forum questions...... I even began venturing into Misc forums - just to read at first, but then started joining in. I found that my ratings were now increasing too,and I was in the top 5 for some of the places I was writing about, which was quite encouraging
There was no going back.......I was well and truly in deep!!!
Now, I was heading for bigger things -My first Euromeet !- Cascais 2009. Luckily I now knew quite a few who would be attending, and I got there on the Wednesday, so it wasn't as daunting as If I'd arrived on the Friday or Saturday not knowing anybody.
2010, my second Euromeet - Krakow, followed by a post meet in Lviv and a road trip as The English Roses- poons, Suet, Gillybob and myself.
September, I ended up helping out with organising Ricky52's Pork Pie and Mushy Peas meet in Halifax along with Gillybob and davesut.
Later that month I was to find myself with a new 'friend' At the London Treasure Hunt, I was asked to 'look after' a stuffed toy sheep known as Barney (I was 'honoured' with this task as I was going to the Manchester Christmas Markets meet) Barney UK was the 2nd of the VT mascots (AussieBarney being the 1st) followed by EuroBarney, AmericanBarney, Asian Barney and O'Barney etc. The idea was to get him to as many meets as possible.
Well, Barney required me to spend more hours on VT - writing up his pages, replying to e-mails and comments as Barney, as well as trying to keep up with my own pages.
At the Manchester Christmas Markets meet, there was another turning point for me.... Gillybob, leics and I were discussing Euromeets -We had realised that the 2011 meet in Macedonia would be difficult for us and many other VTers to get to, and started thinking of places that would have good access and plenty to see and do - after considering Turkey, South of France etc, Italy was mentioned - The neurones connected... Bergamo would be ideal!!! So Eurmeet 2012 was conceived and approved!!
This now meant planning and secrecy... and some fun putting hints on the forums and comments etc. Co-erceing VTers to record lines for a video that was 'part of Gillys work project'!!
January 2011 meant a winter warmer trip to Torremolinos that co-incided with the first Barney Awards ceremony -I was chuffed to be nominated in 2 categories.
May 2011, I hosted my first VT meet - A Yummy Day Out - Sonja (yumyum) was visiting Manchester, and Gilly was looking for an alternative day out. Hathersage is on the trainline between Manchester and Sheffield.
Later that month, Gillybob, leics and myself headed to Bergamo to reccy and launch the announcement that Eurmeet2012 would be held in Bergamo, Italy
I later hosted a camping weekend in Halifax.
BarneyUK is now residing with alyf1961 - pheew!
As if this isn't enough to keep me occupied, I'm now one of the Ooop North Crew
Plus there is a VT page, an Ooop North Crew and Eurmeet page on FaceBook (oh and my own FB page)
Somehow, I still find time for travels and Work!!
My travels often revolve around VT meets now, but not always.
So, you have been warned........ VT is VERY Addictive!!!
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