"Thanks for Stopping By!!!!" Gillybob's Profile
To bring in the necessary pennies to enable my travelling, I work for a large NHS Trust in Manchester - although there are some who would say I rarely work given the amount of travelling I do. I manage this because of two reasons :
1 I have worked for the NHS for over 10 years now so I get 33 days of annual leave each year (April to March) plus the 8 statutory holidays.
2 I don't waste a single day and will often choose an evening flight from Manchester (its great to have the largest regional airport in the UK almost on your doorstep) and still work that day, thereby saving the day's leave for the holiday rather than just the travelling there part.
My friend, Tricia Campbell, had the travel bug first - she passed it on to me and now my motivation for working is my next holiday (and the other after that, and the one after that, and .... well, you get the picture)! One of the big reasons for moving back to the UK after living in South Africa for over ten years, is the fact that its an awful lot easier to travel to places all over the world from the UK than it is from South Africa (wrong hemisphere for travellers).
I'm quite an outspoken individual and I'm a Trade Union Representative (UNISON) at our NHS Foundation Trust. I'm a very forthright person. I don't do shimmy shammy wishy washy opinions. It's straight down the middle, honest truth so be prepared for that if you ask for an opinion. I speak my mind and don't hide behind others and their opinions - I prefer that straight forward approach from people as well. So, as we say in Yorkshire "A spade's a spade"!!!
I've been a late blossomer at this (but now I'm really making up for lost time). My first long haul (other than South Africa) was to Hollywood in 2001. I was really lucky with this trip as it was a prize from an internet competition so I took my mate Tricia and off we went for 5 nights and had a great time.
Since then I've been back to South Africa a few times - even managing to get some travelling done there - as well as visiting Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, USA (a bunch of times), Dubai, Maldives (three times) and Australia (three times). I've also been to Dublin, Paris, Amsterdam, Bergamo, Copenhagen, Gibraltar, Kuala Lumpur, Brussels, Santorini and Brugge for short visits.
Forthcoming trips include :
8 - 11 January 2015 - Faro, Portugal Getting away from the cold and grey skies to somewhere slightly warmer and hoping to encounter sunshine.
22 January to 7 February 2015 - Israel Time to make good on a promise and to see this wonderful country.
1 - 7 March 2015 - Egypt Looking forward to some face-down-in-the-water time and seeing this country for the first time.
September 2015 - Canada Visiting family and seeing this great country for the first time.
My trips tend to be very busy with little, if any, rest time because I can do that at home at the weekends; when on my travels, I want to see all that I can of the place I am visiting.
Who knows what that will hold?
I'd really like it to have a big, fat lottery win so that I can give up working, take care of family and friends in the ways that I have already said I will and, most importantly of all, travel like there's no tomorrow (or at least no WORK tomorrow)!!!!
In reality, I'll probably be here 10 years from now, maybe not doing the same as I am presently, but probably still in the same department but almost definitely at the same Trust. The people I work with are a great bunch (as you tend to find with NHS staff) and we have a great time when we're out partying.
Like so many others, I stumbled across Virtual Tourist by accident and, like so many others who have gone before me, it's become my virtual second home.
I love this on-line 'community' and the people who 'live' here. I believe the management has found the right balance between allowing the website to develop itself and 'controlling' the content and discussions that take place. Its a source of inspiration and, at times, perspiration when I'm trying my best to build a tip or page and those photos just WON'T load - ggrrrr!! But, more importantly, its a fun place. I've made SO many friends on here and have had the privilege to meet a good few of them too! VT also gave me the opportunity to take one of the most memorable trips of my life to the Northern Territory of Australia. Zig, my thanks to you for this very special insight to Australia, the Northern Territory and aboriginal culture - special times!
My fellow VTers have offered me a shoulder to cry on, an ear to bend, a hand to hold whilst I stepped off into the unknown and even a bed to rest my weary head - to those who have been there through the thick, the thin, the long, the tall and the short of it - I say a hearty and well felt THANK YOU!! When you read about the internet these days, you read about the spammers, the scammers, the paedophiles and the hackers and, oh boy, it puts you off. Then, along comes Virtual Tourist and shines a light out from under the bush, lighting the darkness. Its had its tough and rough times - and may well do again in the future - but this community is a survivor - long may it continue to do so!!!
So, if this is one of the first homepages you've stumbled along - I say "Welcome".
To those who have been around the block a bit - I say "Where've you been? I've been waiting SO long for you to come along!"
And to those who I happily call friends - I say "Pass the bottle opener!"
One thing's for sure, the more you immerse yourself in VT, the more you're likely to travel. Take a look at 2010 - my intentions were a trip to South Africa to visit my father, EuroMeet in Krakow and a trip to India to volunteer at the Commonwealth Games. Well, the trip to South Africa went ahead but, after receiving no response to my application to volunteer in India, I went off to Virginia, USA for a VT Meet in Fredericksburg instead. Two of the English Roses were joined by our own bonnie gentleman from Scotland, IainT for 12 days of fun and frolics. To plan this, I ended up in Scotland for a weekend. I also had a weekend in Chester welcoming one of our Australia members, Tattugran to the north of England - something we like to do for members who head 'Oop North'!
These days, it seems many of my trips are planned to incorporate a VT meet or hooking up with friends that I have made on VT, and then met in real life. This truly is a special place.
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