“Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life”
- Michael Palin
I too, have been bitten by the travel bug and it is certainly the only bite I have ever really enjoyed. Mosquitoes love me and I have had the unfortunate experience of being bitten by bed bugs at least two-hundred times (all at the same time, might I add) so I feel I can say I have experience of bugs, but enough of the bug talk.
Travel has always been a love of mine. My first big trip is one I cannot remember as I was barely one-years-old when Dad, Mum, myself and my two (teenagers at that time) siblings packed up and went travelling around the USA through Dad’s work. According to my parents I was the best traveller of them all as I didn’t make a sound on the plane and loved eating in my high-chair at restaurants. Although my Dad always says it was a waste of money if I can’t remember any of it, I did achieve a life-first on that trip. On my first birthday, I walked for the very first time in San Francisco, in Disneyland. I think that everywhere you go travelling, you should try something new whether it is a new language, new food or a new activity – makes it interesting and makes your travelling adventures have context. Most of all it provides great memories for you and others.
Even when I am not away, I love researching for the next possible destination. I adore travel documentaries and people like Michael Palin and Alan Whicker (who sadly passed away very recently) have inspired me to visit places outside the comfort zone. I have a subscription to the wonderful magazine Wanderlust and I have a few Lonely Planet and Rough Guide books on some of the places I have been to. I don’t have a particular favourite destination or type of trip. I like to mix it up. My interests do help me choose my destinations. I have a History degree and in my final year I did a specialist subject in Stalin’s Russia. The history intrigued me so much that Russia had to be included in our world trip itinerary in 2007 (went with my long-term boyfriend and now husband) via the Trans-Siberian Railway. I love food and I have no hang-ups about trying something new, Vietnam blew my culinary socks off and I’m always on the search for new experiences for my palate. I have travelled extensively but once you have been bitten by the travel bug (I’m talking about bugs again, sorry!) your bucket-list constantly continues.
Travelling has even infiltrated my recent academic background. With my MSc Strategic Public Relations and Communication Management, I completed a dissertation on how tourism is a significant factor of cultural diplomacy in a politically unstable country, such as Northern Ireland. I also did a travel PR module as part of the course. In the past year I completed a course in creative travel writing with Cambridge University online (ICE) which I thoroughly enjoyed and received good feedback. I am about to start writing a paper on tourism for the Institute of Cultural Diplomacy as part of an online course. I like to keep adding new skills to complement my MSc.
So why I am only blogging now, I hear you ask? This is a very good question. I have actually created a blog before, as part of a digital media PR module towards my MSc Strategic Public Relations and Communication Management (2010). The blog was really good fun and it was something I wanted to continue but alas it never happened. My bad!
I am living abroad (currently in Portugal) with my husband who is doing an ERASMUS funded PhD and I followed him so I could experience the expatriate life, as well as jump at any opportunity to travel about the place. We lived in Paris last year which was an experience. My career prospects had stalled up until now as I was never in Paris long enough to get a job due to wedding commitments back home and then tragedy struck my family.
Unfortunately my Mum had become gravely ill at the end of last summer and had unknowingly advanced ovarian cancer. Within two weeks of knowing of the cancer diagnosis, she died peacefully in hospital with her family around her. My world crumbled. I didn’t know what to do. After the initial terrible grieving I realised how lucky in life I have been. I have a loving husband, great friends and a fantastic family and I had the most amazing Mummy in the world who had given me a great start in life. Mum provided me warmth, worthy advice and great chats that were interesting and intelligent.
All of this made me realise how precious and short life is and that if I don’t sort out what I want to do in my own life, then I cannot blame anyone else but myself. I wish I had not listened to my inner demons telling me that I would not be good enough to become a writer. My advice to aspiring young travel writers out there, don’t do what I did. Just go out there and put yourself out there as you only get one chance at life and you never know what journey it will take you.
Monarch Butterfly Voyager is all about travel. Where I have been, Where I am about to go, where I would love to go and where I might avoid. It will also include travel tips, reviews, and my points of views on current affairs that affect travel. I will be asking for your opinions on anything about travel. If you are wondering why I named my website after the Monarch butterfly it is because this species travels very long distances each year. Therefore I thought it was apt for my personal website as I like butterflies and I love travelling.
I really hope you like this website. I would love to hear what you think, so please feel free to comment on my posts, contact me or follow me on Twitter.
I dedicate this website to my dearly missed and forever loved Mum.