"My history in travel" Personal Page by toonsarah
As a child, growing up in the sixties, family holidays were almost always taken in Britain, usually Cornwall or Wales. A holiday overseas was considered an unaffordable luxury, but there was one exception. My uncle was in the Royal Air Force and spent a couple of years stationed in Germany, so my first ever trip abroad was to visit him and my aunt in Brueggen, near Dusseldorf, when I was 10.
After that my next adventure was the school’s French Exchange when I was 14, which meant ten days in a small French village north of Paris: ten days speaking the language, sampling the food (including horse meat and my first black coffee, now the staple that gets me through the day) and several days out in the capital which made a huge impression on me. To this day I would probably chose Paris as my favourite city in the world.
When I was 17 I was lucky enough to be able to take part in a camping trip arranged by my school – to Canada! This meant scraping together every penny I could from my Saturday job, plus what I could beg from my parents, but the effort was worthwhile, and looking back I think it was this trip that shaped my love of travel. In those days (early seventies) for a teenager from my background to have the opportunity to see Niagara Falls and the wilds of the Algonquin Park and (on our way home) enjoy a day in New York City, was just incredible.
But it was only when I met, and later married, Chris that I found my ideal travel buddy and started to make foreign travel a regular part of my life. Our first holiday together was to Prague and Austria (where Chris had spent a year living and working), and this was followed in 1981 by our honeymoon in France (Paris and Besançon). The next year we chose a trip to New York above the need to install central heating in our new flat, and a pattern began to emerge – from then on holidays were to be high on our list of priorities.
At first our budgets kept us mainly confined to Europe, but gradually other destinations became feasible: Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Jordan. By the nineties we had discovered the delights of driving in the US: exploring the wonderful national parks and indulging our shared fascination with small town America.
We also went to China and Australia, and more recently still have started to explore South America, fast becoming perhaps my favourite continent. Many of these trips are too far back for me to have digital photos, or detailed memories, but with the help of a newly acquired slide scanner and old diaries and scrapbooks I am doing my best to work through the personal archives and document them for VT.
Meanwhile Europe is not neglected, and we have many short trips there: to visit friends in Austria or Germany, to follow our beloved football team Newcastle United (see my Toon Army albums - although that pleasure has been denied us by poor performances in recent seasons) or just to get away for a few days.
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