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Thursday 20 July 2023

Tell Us About Travel

Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton at Pearl Harbour on a holiday to Hawaii in 2005

Dear friends.  It's time for the monthly Tell Us About challenge. This month's prompt, Travel, was chosen by Australian blogger Sue Loncaric of Women Living Well Over 50. 

As far as travel is concerned, I must confess to feeling a bit of a fraud. Although I have been to 18 countries in Europe, plus Sri Lanka, Dubai, Canada, and 13 states of the USA,  I don't consider myself particularly well travelled. The reason? 

I Didn't See Very Much

The problem is that with the exception of my Sri Lankan holiday, and a three country tour of Scandinavia, both before I met John, I didn't see much of the countries I visited.

Many of them, in particular the US and Dubai visits, were business trips. I could kick myself now for not extending the trips as other colleagues did, and seeing sights such as the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam on my four visits to Las Vegas for a sales and marketing conference. 

Some of the European visits were also for work, and usually took the form of a one or two day face-to-face- a meeting or training course, followed by a recreational activity or dinner. 

The Eiffel Tower was climbed during a trip to Paris. A lavish dinner was enjoyed in the shadow of Prague Castle. There was quite a lot of craic in Ireland, where my US company had a large manufacturing presence, but most of it "tourist-ville" - for example, dinner at Malahide Castle and going to see Irish dancing. 

I was also lucky to experience two Disneyworlds as a team building exercise, in Paris and Anaheim. 

John's Marathons

Another category of visit was "John's international marathons."  In the early to mid 2000s, John was running 2 or 3 marathons a year and ticked off the world's top 10 at the time.   I went with him as photographer and administrator of embrocation.

We had a lovely holiday in Hawaii in early December when he ran the Hawaii Marathon, plus visits to Toronto, Chicago, New York, Boston, Berlin, Stockholm, Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Paris. 

The marathon visits usually followed a set formula:  
  • Registration at the marathon expo;
  • "Pasta feast," organized by the marathon, for carb stacking; 
  • The Marathon, which saw me scurrying around trying to attract J's attention at a few vantage points, sometimes holding a huge helium dolphin so he could see me;
  • Recovery for J the following day, allowing me to go shopping, and a flight home a few hours later.
The Amsterdam Marathon, below, in 2007 was J's favourite because he did his fastest time, 3 hours 40.

Is This Mutton blogger Gail Hanlon with husband J after he ran the Amsterdam Marathon in 2007

There were very few opportunities for sight-seeing. In New York I had just two hours but managed to do some serious damage in the shops and bought a coat amongst other things, as it was a lot colder than I'd expected. 

We had a bit longer in Toronto and managed to see the CN Tower and Niagara Falls, which I mentioned in my post about Time. In Chicago we did a boat tour and walked along Navy Pier, where I remember being fascinated by a museum dedicated to stained glass, which seemed a bit incongruous near a fun fair. 

In Hawaii in 2005 we only managed to visit the Pearl Harbour memorial (top pic).  We sat on the beach the rest of the time. J deserved his recovery after running the marathon in such hot weather it started at 5am. 

Why didn't I experience more during my biz trips?

The main reason was that I'm an "outgoing introvert."  I would put a lot of energy into the day, at the training or meetings I was attending, and by the end would be desperate to withdraw for a few hours to rest and rebuild my energy.  Introverts can often bluff their way through meeting strangers, giving talks to hundreds of people and leading sessions, but we expend all our energy doing it. It was a huge effort for me sometimes to continue the day with an evening activity. So I shouldn't feel too bad about it, I guess. 

This Year's Travels 

We have two or three holidays a year, a relaxing beach stay in Greece in the summer, and some brisk walking and ghyll scrambling in the Lake District in the spring and autumn. 

I have a few unfulfilled travel ambitions. I was planning to visit three countries of South America in 2021, but Covid intervened and tour operators weren't running them in November when I had a month's sabbatical. 

I'd also like to visit Australia and New Zealand. But with my mum being 91, I'm reluctant to disappear for three or four weeks, if I'm honest. 

At the moment I'm thinking about a couple of few short stays in Kosovo, Thessaloniki in Greece and Vilnius, Lithuania. I'd do these with independent travelers because J is not keen on sight-seeing breaks.

Is your travelling experience similar to mine, or do you feel you've had a life well travelled? What's your favourite country? Do let us know in the comments. 

How my blogging friends got on....

Marsha from Marsha in the Middle and her husband rode the Empire Builder from Chicago to Seattle and loved each and every minute!  But, they didn't stop there!  Head over to the blog to read all about it.

Debbie from Deb's World has a family motto - "'To Travel is to Live' and her blog is all about Midlife- travel, fun and adventure. Yet she had a lot of trouble with this prompt.  Go back to the beginning to read how her family got the travel bug!

Leslie from Once Upon a Time and Happily Ever After says the only traveling she is doing is visiting the blogs of her Tell Us About buddies,  reading about the traveling they are enjoying.  She says stop by her blog for a power nap and she'll join you. 

Suzy at The Grey Brunette says having moved from England to Portugal when she was a child, she got the travel bug quite early on. Read about some of the wonderful places she's visited. 

Penny from Frugal Fashion Shopper thought she had nothing to write about as she felt her travelling days were over. Then she reflected on how many adventures she had when traveling as a young woman. In fact she had so much to say Travel has been split into two parts! 

Mary Katherine from MK's Adventures finally gets to write about her favorite hobby, and reflects on some of the fun times she's had on trips over the years.

Hope you enjoyed our travel stories. Unfortunately Sue from Women Living Well After 50 couldn't join us this month. We wish her all the best. 

There's more Mutton tomorrow with the monthly book reviews, and some crackers there are too. 

Sharing this post with: #AnythingGoes at My Random Musings, Hello Monday at Sunshine and Books, Rena at Fine WhateverTalent Sharing Tuesdays at Scribbling Boomer#SpreadTheKindness  and #Linkup on the Edge at Shelbee on the Edge,  #Neverendingstyle at The Grey BrunetteTraffic Jam Weekend at Marsha in the Middle Senior Salon Pitstop at Esme Salon Crafty Creators at Life as a Leo Wife, 5 on Friday at Penny's Passion 


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