"Around the World in 80 Years!!" Firestar24's Profile

Hope it doesn't take that long!

I am a tourist.

I don’t think tourist is a dirty word – but I’d love to be a traveller. The difference strikes me because no matter how far off the beaten track I tread and no matter how much I try to immerse myself in the local culture, learn the language, cook the food, etc. etc. – at the end of my 3 weeks (at the most) I always head home, do all the washing and put the clothes from my backpack into my “holiday” drawer until next time I can afford to beg some time off work. I grieve for travel. I’m so obsessed that, even though Jonathan has traded in his backpack for a wheelie-suitcase the size of a small bungalow, I refuse to put my luggage in it and insist in carrying my belongings on my back, as God intended, in the Karrimor 75 litre backpack I bought for the year out travelling I was going to take 7 years ago which was cancelled 1 week before departure. I long to be out there forever… but my excuses are uninventive and boring and unlikely to go away… So for now I’ll continue to plan complicated holidays, crossing as many borders as possible in every 3 week stretch and dream of the day when I don’t have to return home.

Jonathan & I have just returned from The Gambia, and so my African dream has been, briefly, fulfilled. We’ve also recently been to Turkey where we visited Istanbul, Ankara, Urgup, Gőreme and Bozburun which was fantastic. Other than that, last year we went on short breaks to Barcelona, Dublin to visit friends, and Le Mans in France for the 24 hour race.

In November 2006 we went to Panama & Costa Rica from San Jose to Panama City the long way round and making an appearance as bridesmaid for two very good friends, Yanixa & Glyn. It was fantastic to catch up with Yari & Yanixa again and we had the pleasure of meeting the rest of the family who are all lovely. They still need updating, but please check out the highlights in my pages:

San Jose
La Paz Waterfall Gardens and The Peace Lodge
Panama City

And forgive me for still lagging behind with updates - I'm working on it!!

In 2006 we also took a trip to Morocco on a cheap deal from the UK to Agadir (Flights plus 7 nights accommodation for £200!!) and took the bus down to Marrakech which was just fantastic. We’ve promised to return to Morocco to check out the places we missed.

I’d like to say it’s good to be back home but I’m still getting itchy feet again and have started thinking of ideas for a couple of trips this year. We're off to Assen in The Netherlands to watch the Moto GP in June and slipping in a visit to Amsterdam on the way - a city I will visit for the first time but Jonathan has been on many Stag nights there. I hope he'll see a different side of Amsterdam this time round. I still want to get a big African Expedition underway but I think that will have to be put on hold for the moment since we may have to head back to Panama for another Wedding soon!

Panama: A Canal runs through it...

Ah! But did you know there’s also a railway? When our kayaking excursion on the Canal was rained off, Jonathan and I decided to take the Canal train, on the country’s only railroad, up to Colon on the Caribbean side of the isthmus.
We both loved Panama City, even more so since we met up with local and Barrovian friends for Glyn and Yanixa’s wedding. I think we all got that bubbly, excited feeling when we met up at the airport – the feeling that we’d accomplished something difficult and were about to reap the rewards. Three months had passed since the six of us sat in our back yard on a summer's day, drinking cheap wine and discussing the possibility of meeting in Panama City. And now Gary was bursting with all the experiences he’d had and discoveries he’d made while we’d been in Costa Rica.

And now we’re back in Barrow and Panama is just another blue splodge on my VT map. And though Yanixa now lives in Barrow and she and Glyn are settled and happy together, we don’t know for sure how long it will be before we see Yarineth again.

Miss you Yari xxx

The Important Things...

There are so many crisis, disasters and tragedies from all over the World that I find it impossible to help with or even to understand each cause. I read the newspapers and watch the News, but I still find that I just can’t take everything in, especially when it comes to understanding the history behind a lot of the human-induced emergencies. But I support Oxfam and The Red Cross and trust those guys know who needs my extra money the most. I figure if every person gives what they can to the people they think might make a difference to causes that concern them – then maybe the World might just become a happier, healthier place…. It’s worth a shot, Right?

I think that’s why travel is so important to me. I want to understand more about the World and why everything is as it is. Plus I have an absolutely magical time doing it!!! I don’t want to look back at my life when I’m eighty and wonder if I’ve put my time to good use – I want to know I have.

The things I’d love to do:

I think the biggest thing that drives me through life is learning. It’s how I spend my leisure time and what makes my work interesting. I’ve been learning French for 15 years and I still can’t hold a decent conversation! But I’ll keep trying and one day I’ll crack it! I like to learn little bits of other languages too – One that particularly interests me is Arabic. Other than that, 2008 is the Year I Learn to Drive!!!

And I still love to cook, to read, to write and, of course, to travel.

Where the heart is...

Home, Sweet Home. One of the greatest gifts Yarineth & Yanixa have given me is a new appreciation of my Home Town. Barrow has a lively town centre, beautiful coastline beaches, easy access to the Lake District National Park and many historic landmarks. Furness Abbey (pictured) is one of my favourite places.

I spent many years of my childhood dreaming of leaving Barrow. And at 16 I left town and travelled through England alone. By 19 I had lived in seven different towns: Grasmere, Rochdale, Southport, Brixham, Twickenham, Hammersmith and Guernsey. At 19, ill health brought me back to Barrow, where I furiously began concocting plans to leave again.

But then I met Jonathan, fell in love and settled down to a quiet life of living in one place and travelling to other countries for extended holidays, always knowing that the day will come when I return to Barrow and start planning our next adventure. There was a time when I said I’d never live in Barrow again. Now I think it will be a long time before I live anywhere else. Now I know that there are far worse places to live and in fact, Barrow has quite a lot going for it.

The Best Laid Plans….

Almost as much as I love to travel, I love to plan my travel. It’s like Advent, the build up to Christmas, is so jam packed with anticipation and planning that I almost can’t sleep at night. Planning a trip I get butterflies in my stomach that make me feel sick with excitement. I start by working out how much time I can feasibly spend away without getting sacked! Then I make a list of all the things I’d like to do on my trip. I make Jonathan add to the list (his contribution is consistently “drink beer” and “watch a car race” ) and then work out the best places to achieve my list. So we make a shortlist and then look into each country in detail and add any extra bonus’ each country might offer. And that’s how we decide where to go! Generally we try not to go back to the same place twice – Even if I loved one particular place, the country nextdoor could be my dream destination and I wouldn’t even know it!

I know some puritans will say that my method of travelling takes the spontaneity and purity out of travel, but I’m afraid I’m just not the “stick a pin in a map” kind of lady. I like to know where I’m going and research the place before I go so that I don’t return home to find that the World’s Greatest Festival was in the next town over and we didn’t know about it! So, YES, I salivate over maps and get goosebumps over guidebooks!

Actually, since my lifetime ambition is to visit every country in the world it shouldn't really matter where we go next - I want to see it all! I worked out that if there are 193 countries in the World (recognising Taiwan & Vatican City) and you had two weeks to explore each of them it would take eight years continuous travelling to see them all. EASY!!!!
Ah, well - I can dream. Now to arrange that audience with the Pope....

40 Miles for Oxfam!

I'm training hard at the moment for my massive 40 mile walk to raise money for Oxfam. I'm grateful for any amount of sponsorship and those who are happy to give can do so at www.justgiving.com/40milesforoxfam where you'll find more information about my big walk and generally more desperate pleas to get you to part with your cash! ;o)

I love to walk but so far the furthest I have ever gone is a mere twenty miles, so forty is going to be a big adventure for me! And Oxfam is such a wonderful charity - I'm so happy to have the oportunity to try and raise a bit of money for them. Their size is impressive and gives them a certain power and, most importantly, access to places where many smaller organisations would struggle to get to, to provide aid. This is why Oxfam is always my charity of choice. I hope you'll choose it too and give a little while I walk a lot-o! ;o)

Thanks, truly, for anything you can spare xxxxx

  • Intro Updated Apr 16, 2008
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Barrow in Furness, United Kingdom
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