"I just love travelling!!!" haleysmith's Profile
I suppose my love for independent travel started when I was a teenager back in the early 80's when I went with some friends backpacking to Greece. Like lots of people, we got to Piraeus at crack of dawn and just headed out to the first island on our list, armed with nothing much more than the 'Rough Guide'. The most memorable place for me was Ios. I am sure I'd hate it now for the very reasons I was so captivated back then - load and loads of partying teenagers, the whole tiny village just awash with good spirited, brown, fun loving young people. And the days spend naked sunbathing on the gorgeous beaches! Shocking! But our first taste of freedom!
We've done loads of travelling in the meantime but I suppose the most amazing, 'first time' experiences we enjoyed as a family were when we went to Malaysia back in 2002. My husband Lou and our three kids (then aged 7, 9 and 11) started off in Singapore, headed up to Mersing where we caught a very sick making boat to Tioman Island. What paradise! We just couldn't believe such beauty, such warm and lovely people, such delicious food and all and what we considered to be just pennies. After that we headed back to the mainland and had 4 day jungle experience in Taman Nagara. What a most fantastic time we had - night time safaris, white water rafting, cave crawling, jungle trekking. Truly a life enriching, wonderful experience.
The following year we returned to Malaysia and stayed in Gayana in Sabah. We sayed in beautiful little thatched cottages perched on stilts in the water. We organised it all independently and at a fraction of the cost that you see similar places in Maldives and such. From Gayana we did Poring Hot Springs, Mount Kinabalu, KK, wonderful scuba diving and river rafting. Again, the Malaysian we met were warm, special people.
We've enjoyed many cities in the US. New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco and of course, Orlando. What a fantastic country it is. We have loved it so much and for very different reasons that above. I just love the Americans! Yes, some say they are niaive and insincere and I suppose if you were in a fault finding mood you might find good examples of this but I just find them uplifting and fun to be around. Everything in the US seems to remind you of scenes from a movie - you feel you're on a giant film set! We're keen to get to know some more of the US - Chicago and Siattle look good and I am keen to check out more of Florida.
We went to Mauritius this year booked through a travel agent. It is a beautiful island and we met some truly lovely people there. We stayed in the most gorgeous hotel - The Residence. However, it made me realise how much more satisfying and fun it is to travel independently. Firstly, we went in August which we subsequently discovered is winter there. Although it was an excellent travel agents with whom we booked and we have had the utmost confidence in them, they didn't inform us of this rather important fact. And although the hotel was divine, we found it to be rather restrictive and quite dull really.
All went to Whistler in Canada earlier this year. Well, not really much to say other than everyone loved it and can't wait to do it again.......... except me!!!
So I suppose what I've come to realise is that my ideal travel involves experiencing a different culture, getting to interract with the locals, travelling around the country a bit and really getting the feeling that you've enriched your life by 'living' just a little of another country.
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