So I’m sitting in my study at home, catching up on the weekend newspapers – yes, I still like to read “real” paper newspapers – and read that there have been more than two billion copies of Agatha Christie books sold, in 70 languages, and I was instantly taken back to 1979, when I lived and worked in Nice in France, and used to borrow books from the English and American Library, and used to devour Agatha Christie novels. (One book I read had the last page missing, so I didn’t find out “who dunnit” – no “Google” in those days, of course.) This was part of my fifteen months living and working in Europe and the UK between 1978 and 1980, when I first experienced the joy of travel and learning about other countries, other cultures, other ways of living.
During that holiday, my brother Bruce came to Europe for a few weeks and we visited Morocco, and were travelling on a local bus in Marrakesh and stopped at a traffic light, and outside the bus’s window, we saw a Moroccan with four horses hooves (I’m not sure what to call these, they were about six or nine inches high, so probably a bit more than the hooves), which were obviously going into the family’s stew that day. Later, we saw a butcher’s shop, with paintings of sheep, cows and horses on the outside, and we said that we couldn’t imagine eating horse. Later on, I was back in France, and found out that I’d already eaten horse, it was very similar to rump steak, the horse that I’d eaten, but less juicy – I’m not sure if I would have eaten it if I’d known what it was.
My original plan, when I departed for Europe for my fifteen month holiday, was to camp throughout Europe, to save money. However, I soon found out that the camping grounds, which are very popular in summer, close in winter, for a very practical reason. Not just because it’s pretty cold, and therefore not enjoyable, but because it’s just so cold that the water in the water pipes freezes and expands and bursts the pipes, so they drain the pipes before winter to prevent this happening.
Before winter, while it was still pretty cold, I can remember going to the shower block, figuring out how to put money into the meter for the hot water, then out comes the hot water, and I’ve still got about five layers of clothing on, so by the time I’m ready to shower, the money for the hot water is just about to run out – how spoiled we are in Australia.
Back to 2017, and I’ve just seen a friend of mine, who owns a travel agency in Melbourne, and has been “in travel” for decades, posting his photos and video on Facebook from Norway a couple of hours ago, and he’s clearly “just so excited” to be there and to be experiencing new places and experiences, even though he, like so many people “in travel”, like me, have travelled repeatedly and frequently, for decades.
Just seen another Facebook page (where does the day go…) which resonates with me so much. ‘They say, “It’s better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times.” We couldn’t agree more!’
One of the advantages of working in travel, as I’ve done for the past couple of decades now, as Founder and Managing Director of Seniors Holiday Travel Team, is that I see numerous travel ideas every day, and many of these allow me to reflect on my own personal travel experiences, while others, of course, are part of my personal bucket list, and so inspire me to plan more travel – it’s quite a long list, my personal bucket list!
And, yes, that bucket list does include the Orient Express, as in “Murder on the Orient Express”, one of Agatha Christie’s most famous novels.