Friday 28th January 2022

Travel Tales. #LifeThisWeek 42/52. 2017.119.

Travel Tales. #LifeThisWeek 42/52. 2017.119.

I have enjoyed travel a lot.

In fact, I am considering some travel next year but my surgical team and my ability  to eat properly will determine that. However, I can still plan. High on my list in 2018 is a visit to Canberra around Autumn to capture the leaves and to maybe visit with some blogging friends who live there! Yes, I am thinking of you Leanne and you too Claire and Lauren of course.

My favourite form of travel is SOLO.

Yes, organised by me (with help from a travel agent as necessary) and enjoyed by me!! Look, honestly, I spent all those years on holidays with the family and then with the spouse and half the time is spent negotiating who wants to do what and where and when and by my 50s I was O V E R that. And I am not afraid to travel solo and I actually enjoy experiences of meeting other people when and if I choose. Seriously. Have you tried it?

Where is this travel tale set?

It took me a bit of tossing up and it was between my OS (only one!) trip to the U.S. West Coast, Las Vegas and Hawaii OR this area: Far North Queensland. I know this is not its name now but it is how I refer to it!! Three Travel Tales To The Magical Tropics of Far North Queensland. 2002, 2003 and 2010.

Regular readers know that I left my role as a school principal due to ill-health. That was in September 2002 but in October 2002 I had already planned to attend a conference in Palm Cove and was being supported by my employer to attend. Work cover was fine about that so I went. It could not have happened at a better time as I needed both distraction and enjoyment back in my life. Here is what I found I loved about this first trip:

  • the warm air and water – it was not quite stinger time so I ventured in once I think to the actual sea, but the rest of time was the resort pool.
  • the ambience and the beauty of the surroundings.
  • the colours.
  • the part of the reef I ventured to was Green Island.
  • the hinterland.
  • so much to take in and enjoy it was hard to come home!

Mid-year 2003 when I was indeed now fully retired from the role of principal and my husband was about to finally stop his part-time teaching role, we wanted to mark the occasion with a special place to celebrate. I chose Port Douglas this time and B was happy to agree. Until the plane trip up. I am fine travelling economy (well, fine enough) but my poor  guy with spinal pain and well over 6’2″ was NOT. At all. He could barely express how hard it was to travel well over 3 hours like that: add in the airport trip from home, even though we did use a hire car, the waiting at the airport, the disembarking and the drive from Cairns to Port Douglas: So that put a LARGE dampener on the trip at the start, and if I tell the truth, most of the stay. I had selected a one bedroom apartment with air con and all comforts but did not know there was no lift and it meant up around 4 flights to our room. There were days, B did not leave the room.

He actually said “I cannot go home like that” and I agreed. We then changed our tickets home to business class at a cost of (back then) $1500 to enable him to have some comfort. When we did go to fly home we were delayed at Cairns due to the late incoming Qantas flight which was bringing up a tiger for a local zoo. By the time we embarked on the same plane we were ready to enjoy every part of the $1500 worth and yes, it was awesome travelling that way. At the Sydney end on the June evening, our then son-in-law was picking us up and the huge storm that we encountered out of Sydney and on landing did slow down our going home as the luggage handlers could not go out on the tarmac in the storms. We eventually got our ride home…and that, dear readers, is the last time I have travelled on a plane with my husband!

The Next Time I Retired. September 2010. My dear spouse had not been well for the past year or so and even though we found out some two years later due to HIS investigations and proactive work and seeing a new GP that he did NOT have Parkinsons Disease, it was timely for me to have a little break. Where else did I choose? Far North Queensland. From the drop off to the airport to arrival in Cairns and picking up my rental car for the trip to Palm Cove I was fine. In fact, it was a bit sad to be away from B because we thought he was unwell. Yes he was but not from what the Drs said. Grrrr. Story for another time maybe.

I had picked a one bedroom studio overlooking the water. And the resort had one of those magical beach type pools. It was great. Except, again, for the long walk UP 3 flights of stairs to my room. Why, resorts, why do you not put in lifts?? I made the most of the spa on the verandah and swam in the pool. Ordered some room service but mostly walked along the wonderful Williams Esplanade to a cafe for breakfast. I did some day trips in the car to my much loved Mossman Gorge and went on a day bus trip to the Tablelands. I LOVED up there too. I could get on a plane right now and be back there. I feel an affinity spiritually and physically to the area. I am adding some poor image quality photos to this post as a memory of what it was for me then.

Do you have a special place that forms part of your travel tales? Denyse. Joining with Alicia here for Open Slather and here with Kell for Mummy Mondays.

Thank you for linking up here everyone  for Life This Week.

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  1. I love solo travel. In 2014, i completed a road trip all the way down to Eden by myself and it was awesome. I also travelled San Francisco alone and loved it. I hope to travel solo again but maybe with some groups too in a bid to meet people. And how gorgeous is FNQ?! I have been to Cairns but want to go back for a longer holiday.

    • Another fan of solo travel. Love it. I discovered it via the stories I wrote here, and did my one & only US trip solo. Seeing I love my car and driving too it has been something I have planned to do up here. It won’t happen for a while but I do see myself doing some driving hols. As for FNQ, stay further up the coast at either Palm Cove or Port Douglas and you will not be disappointed! For my first holiday there the car I hired was one where I could put the top down, and I did, for the wonderful drives from Cairns where the road follows the sea!!

  2. I’m so glad that you were able to afford the Business class tickets back. It’s never good to be in pain but it’s especially bad when you’ve spent a tonne of money to go somewhere and have a good time. And as his spouse you must have felt awful that B was in so much pain. It’s just not fun for anyone.
    Having said all of that, and pain aside, I think I’m a better traveller on my own for all the first reasons that you mentioned (except I haven’t really don’t family trips so I can’t say anything about that). I always feel like I have to accommodate everyone else and don’t do all the things that I want to do. We were supposed to be away for the weekend, but we left for home at 10.30am today. It can be frustrating at times.

    • Yes, yep and yeah. I think I did all my compromising as a mum and grandma for travelling until those trips. To be honest, B only said he would do the FNQ for my sake. He is always in pain from a severely diseased spine so the best travel he can do is armchair. And he doesnt mind it. We did a short stay in 2015 to Port Mac in his car (very comfy) but by the time my anxiety & IBS ruined it for me and his pain for him…we have not done any more trips except those day ones to Sydney to drs!
      I am excited to even be considering a break to Canberra next year. I LOVE meeting up with people I know via blogging and that is a big plus. I drove down to Young on two different occasions to see my biology friend Daisy who is now in Qld and to just drive through the country and stop and take pics and keep on going. My idea of a holiday not anyone else’s. I hope you continue your relationship (lol) but continue to take solo trips as I believe they refresh those of us who give and please others!! D x

  3. How lovely. I tend to do the Singapore Grand Prix Solo, and I love the speed and ease which I can get around seeing all I want to see.

    • Thanks Lydia, it is great isn’t it! I am glad know there are more like me than I realised. Power to solo travel for women! D x

  4. Travelling solo sounds amazing. I am forever doing mum stuff when I travel so it’s never very relaxing.
    I did travel on The Ghan with my 87 year old mum this year and we had a fantastic time! I loved The Ghan and relaxing in Darwin sans kids.

    • Oh I am glad you have had a taste of travel without the kids but I am imagine even with Mum you probably did not put yourself first. Even a night away can seem magical to a busy mum as you are. Take care, my friend, I think of you a lot and hope you continue to do well. D xx

  5. I love solo travel too, Denyse! So glad there was a happier ending to the trip with your husband to Port Douglas!

    SSG xxx

    • It is ace isn’t it? It took me a BIG first step to do it once, and then I was off! My 18 days in US was solo. I don’t mind eating alone nor being alone. In fact it is ideal for people watching!! D xx

  6. I’ve actually never traveled solo. Time to remedy that methinks!

  7. When I got off the plane in Vancouver I felt like I was at home. I don’t know if it was familiarity after years of watching TV shows set there or if it was sheer relief after so many hours of travel, but it felt comfortable.
    There are lots of places I’d like to go though! I’ve never been to many places in QLD so I think even starting in my home state would be great.

    • I think your state is delightful even though I haven’t really been to Brisbane except as a kid. We have holidayed in high rises at Surfers and Burleigh. When I travelled solo on another occasion it was to the Sunshine Coast because I had never been and like I hope to do next year I also caught up with bloggers and twitter friends. In fact I has lunch with Nikki fro SY and Stacey Veggie Mama when she was pregnant with#2 who is about to start school! I also drove up to Gympie to have morning tea with a FB friend who was so shy she said she couldnt meet me but she did, and another friend from twitter had me visit at her place. Old is another definite on my furture travels list. D x

  8. Yes I have tried travelling solo (just interstate) and although it was scary at first in the end I enjoyed it for the reason you said- you can do what you want when you want without having to negotiate!

  9. I am so happy to read that you are beginning to think about more travel and Canberra in Autumn is beautiful. I have in the past done a lot of solo travel and really enjoyed it. Sorry to hear that you and B haven’t always had good experiences; we are very fortunate because we travel well together (not to suggest that there are not sometimes challenges 😉

    • Thanks Jan, I knew when I started to feel like travelling again it was another sign of my improved emotional health too. I have always enjoyed my solo trips to Canberra when we lived in Sydney and probably went every two years or so. I love the portrait gallery, old parliament house and the high court and can never leave without my visit to the War Memorial. Twice I have made it my mission to attend the sunset ceremony. B and I have travelled well enough when his body was in better condition but he has extraordinary pain from his spine and neuropathy in his legs and feet so his motto each day is do what he can but not over do it. Hence any future travel will be solo but he is not as keen as I am anyway so we shall see what occurs. Budget has taken a hit with my surgery and the implants to come so OS may not happen but around Aus might! I loved following your trip too. D xx

  10. Oooh! I can’t wait for your trip to Canberra. Yipeee for meeeee!

    • I know! I am excited too. I always went to Canberra every 2-3 years when we lived in Sydney and it was about 3 hours as we lived just off the M7. This time I will need to drive down to get to M7 but will take my time and enjoy! D xx

  11. Looks like some amazing trips there. I’ve never traveled solo. Maybe one day. You never know! And yes, traveling with a family is just taking your life to a different location, more or less. It can be done, BUT…

    The trip to Canberra sounds lovely. Something to look forward to. x

    • Thanks Ness, I agree that some family holidays are just ‘same old same old’ but with a beach view. That’s for the mum anyway. I think that is why once I got the notion of doing holidays solo they became my preferred way. I hope you do some trips once your boys are older and can be left at home. D xx

  12. It’s a long time since I’ve done any travel by myself, but would jump at the chance to do it again. I enjoy the freedom to do exactly what I want to do, without having to consult with anyone else. I also think you are more likely to get to chat to some amazing people if you are on your own. Fingers crossed you get the all clear to travel to Canberra next year.

    • Thank you so much Jenni. I will, I believe, be the one to give me the all-clear. I am in a place now though where it is hard to plan ahead because I do not know when my next surgery will be. I would LIKE it to be this year but when all of Sydney (Australia?) closes down professional services such as surgery from around mid-December into early Feb I may have to wait. I will know some more about what is next after a visit to the specialist dentist next Monday. I hope you can sort out some travel for yourself too! D x

    • Thank you so much Jenni. I will, I believe, be the one to give me the all-clear. I am in a place now though where it is hard to plan ahead because I do not know when my next surgery will be. I would LIKE it to be this year but when all of Sydney (Australia?) closes down professional services such as surgery from around mid-December into early Feb I may have to wait. I will know some more about what is next after a visit to the specialist dentist next Monday. I hope you can sort out some travel for yourself too! D x

  13. I always think people who travel solo are so brave. My mum loves to travel that way and has met some wonderful friends in the process – she is more outgoing than me so finds it easy to start chatting to strangers. My husband and I are off on a holiday at the beginning of December – having another crack at trying to find a holiday combination that appeals to our opposite personalities – not easy!

    • I don’t think of myself as brave Leanne! But I do consider myself as meeting my needs rather than others when I travel. I also happily go out for coffee by myself too. I like my company (but also enjoy a good chat too!) and it’s a pleasant people-watching thing to do. I wish you well on your ventures!! IF you get a chance this week, I would love you to read my post for Tuesday. I am wanting to share my views and voice with older readers and bloggers. Would welcome your thoughts very much. Denyse x

  14. I get a headache just thinking about travelling! I think it’s the organising a household to go on that holiday that is the hard bit. It is fine and good once it is all over, a good time is had and I realise there wasn’t too much to stress about! I’d love a holiday away on my own, that would be lovely, not sure where I would go though! I’ve been going east a lot lately, maybe North or West!

  15. I have just began to do some solo travel nothing big yet but I can definitely see more of it in my future!