The travel  bug struck me late in life.  Not for me the student rovings on international trains, backpacking or hostels. I was a working class girl who neither had the desire,  experience or opportunity to travel in my youth.

 Then chronic homesickness, that painful yearning for  the familiarity of my own bed whenever I left it, limited even family holidays to a week.

  By the time I overcame that handicap in my late 50s I discovered a whole new world I never knew existed. Literally!

 Falling in love with Paris started it. This introduced me to solo travel. Through which  I discovered   the freedom of exploring places without having to answer to anyone else. I also realised the liberation of facing your demons of loneliness  fear and self reliance. Having faced these demons and lived with them, I  know they are no longer the monsters I thought they were and I can cope with them.

 Last year, when a friend dropped out of a trip to Krakow. I went alone anyway. And had a wonderful time. Through walking tours  I met other solo travellers, some of whom had been travelling for months.  There was the  Indian-American man around 40. who had given up his job and had been travelling for 5 months, through south America. Asia and now Europe  and an African American woman who had taken six months out to travel from New York to Nigeria, where she was starting a design business.

  At the moment I am yearning to go somewhere, anywhere. I have to wait two weeks before I can escape to  Paris for the weekend.

  I find myself planning and scheming escapes. Even if it is local.   I dream of taking my bike onto the  Lancashire moors, staying in a hostel and cycling around for days in  England mountains green,…. as in the song Jerusalem….. Which I hear in my mind  every time I drive  across the M62  and reach the highest motorway point in England and see the spectacular view.  I also remember that there are still victims of the moors murderers, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley buried somewhere up there 
Windswept grass - Saddleworth Moor

Two of my favourite bloggers have both been on holiday.  Sylvia from finding noon has been in Africa.  Her inspired blog reports read like a novel and I eagerly await each instalment. 

Mary kay,from Out and about in Paris, on the other hand has been in Anapolis in the US.  Of great interest to me as I am visiting Boston a in a month. 
But this yearning to travel is now getting chronic and painful, like a physical ache.. Watching Michael Palin in the Himalayas on TV today I know that going travelling is now in my bucket list.  If I had no ties, I am sure I would sell my house, give up my job and go wherever the fancy took me for however long it took to get it out of my system. Which is awful because I have a loving family and those “ties” are the most precious things in my life.

For now though, I will make do with short  trips as I have to work to fund them and I have a wonderful husband whom I love dearly, who understands my need to travel alone and humours my strange solo day trips up into the Lancashire  hills and my forays abroad.

….. and then I am reminded of the old Sanscript proverb that was read out at our wedding

.Look to this day:
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence.
The bliss of growth,
The glory of action,
The splendour of achievement
Are but experiences of time. 

For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision;
And today well-lived, makes
Yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well therefore to this day;
Such is the salutation to the ever-new dawn! 

…and I realise I am truly blessed!



8 thoughts on “LIFE IS A JOURNEY

  1. Oh Denise, it's like you can read my mind! Your FB post about living for tomorrow and not enjoying today struck such a chord in me and now this post…….I fantasize all the time about quitting my job (which I hate, but it allows me to fund our trips) and moving to Paris. Realistically, I know I could not be away from my kids and grandkids for such a long time, yet like you, it is on my mind constantly. I know I should live in the now and enjoy every single day, but I can't stop planning trips and counting down the days to the next one. At least I'm not the only one, lolI also started traveling late (first trip to Europe was 5 years ago for our 25th anniversary) and feel like I have a lot of catching up to do. Ok, enough about me, lolThanks for sharing so much of yourself with us. You are a very brave and honest woman and your posts always make me think.Jo


  2. Never too late to start! I love solo travel too, although there are moments when I wish I had someone to share experiences with, I'd rather just go do what I want to do than wait and maybe end up never doing these things. I hope you can bear the two weeks till Paris 🙂


  3. Thanks for the thought-provoking, beautifully written post, Denise. As with Jo, your words struck a chord within me because I've had the urge to travel for as long as I can remember. I just read an article about women who dressed as men "back in the day" so that they could enlist as sailors in the Royal Navy and see the world. I would have had a difficult time living in a small village for my entire life and only reading about faraway lands. Thank goodness that we're alive during a time when women have more opportunities to travel or not, as they chose.And many thanks for mentioning my blog. I'm back in Paris now and look forward to reading about your adventures in Boston. I'm so happy that your next destination (after Paris) is one of my favorite American cities.


  4. Oh, I forgot to say another thanks for including the Sanskrit proverb. I've seen parts of it on coffee mugs and post cards but never the entire thing. It's definitely one to remember!


  5. I have found it really difficult to reply to you all. I felt that this post was a bit whiney, unfinished and somehow unexplained as it started as one thing and finished as another. Jo you summed it up. The waste of wishing my life away and the conflict between needing to travel and the love for my precious husband and family. On all my trips now I never want to come home, except I miss my husband particularly, and the sad truth is I don't know how much time we have left together.I wonder if it any different for people who travelled when they were young? Mary Kay. you have lived all over the world and yet seem still to have a travel bug. Interesting about the women who dressed up as men to travel, I can empathise with their desperation. Although working in the Royal Navy in those days must have been a high price to pay.Gwan, I really admire you. Despite losing your job,you turn it around to something positive and enjoy going places on a budget. Good for you. I am sure you will not regret it when you are old. As for being nice to have someone to share. This is where I feel SO guilty, because I am blessed with ( very understanding) people to share if I choose, yet rather selfishly want to go alone. So What am I complaining about?Only 10 days to wait!Love Denise


  6. Thanks Mega….. new plan forming in head! The 24 hour flight is a bit daunting. I will get the flight to California next May over with first! Although to you I am sure that is just a hop skip and jump. LOL!


  7. Pingback: WHO IS YOUR INSPIRATION? …… | denisefrombolton

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