Imagine the scene: You’re sitting on a long-haul flight from London to Singapore. You’ve just settled into your seat – the one you didn’t book in advance because you trust the judgement of the check-in staff – and start planning your viewing for the next 14 hours ahead. You’re excited. You’re a sucker for good inflight entertainment and on-tap beverages.
Then, the seats in front start to fill… with a mother and her two young children. One wild (but could charm the knickers off a nun), the other doing a very good impression of a limpet. The mother is travelling alone, and although exudes an air of calm, you know deep down is already frazzled. Your heart sinks. You should have booked your seats.
This is fair warning to all those travelling on Singapore Airlines in June. We could be those people.
I’m excited. Super excited.
I haven’t been home for a few years and miss both my family and Europe like crazy! Well, Europe anyway. Kidding, mum!
I’ve had flights booked for a while; was just finalizing our entire travel plans, about to book accommodation in Spain and extra flights, when plans changed. Story of my life! Someone in the family has announced exciting plans of their own. But it’s all good. So, although I know where I’m going, the order of travel isn’t set in stone.
Still, I can reveal – finally – where we’ll be spending some time this year.
We fly from Melbourne to Singapore at the beginning of May and will stay for a few nights before flying on to London.
We usually stay at the Transit Hotel within the airport, which is a godsend and essential for someone like me who can’t sleep on a flight. The hotel can be booked by the hour, so it’s perfect if you need to stretch out, or if you have kids and want a short break.
This time we’ve decided to treat ourselves to a little stopover holiday and will relax into holiday mode during a mellow stay in one of Singapore’s ecolodges.
Although regarded merely as a transit hub by many travellers, there’s actually a lot packed into the little island. I’ve stayed for up to a week on previous trips and always manage to find some new hideaway.
Our next stop is London, where we plan to stay for a few days catching up with old friends. I lived in London for 15 years and my partner for 10, so the people we met there are like our extended family. We’ve spent so much time together, been through a lot together, and we miss them terribly so can’t wait to catch up in the flesh.
From there we travel to my hometown, Derry. Yep, or Londonderry – you choose. It will be amazing to spend some time with my family as the last year has been, erm, testing! My youngest, who will be a year and a half then, will meet her maternal side of the family for the first time, and it will be wonderful to see what type of relationship blooms between Alannah, my eldest, and her cousin. They both have fiery little personalities, so it should be fun!
Derry is the City of Culture for 2013 and has a programme of events running throughout the year, which means I won’t be short of something to do every day. I’m mostly looking forward to revisiting old haunts since the city has been revived for the occasion. And on all reports, holding the title of the inaugural City of Culture has injected no small amount of excitement into proud residents.
We’ll also be heading to Donegal to stay for a while; in a little place called Creeslough. It’s where a lot of my family live and where I spent many a summer holiday, so it has a very special place in my heart. We’ll stay in a tiny little two-bedroom cottage on the edge of a farm that was once my Granny’s and is now my sisters. Such wonderful memories of this part of the world make me smile every time I think of the place.
No trip home would be complete without a trip to Barcelona – our spiritual home. My husband and I lived there for a short while a few years ago and continually talk about moving there on a more permanent basis. We both love the place, and the regions around it. We got married in Sitges, just outside Barcelona, and we’ll be in Spain for our anniversary so no doubt we’ll spend a few days there, too.
Unfortunately, Dan has to fly home for work – damn regular jobs – but I’m hoping to stay on for another month. I may be lucky and convince my sister to fly as far as Singapore on the return flight with me, but I may not manage to pull it off.
So, it could be just me and the two chicks flying home. Yikes!
This is where you step in and tell me you’re flying the same route and just happen to love kids (even the crazy ones) and can’t wait to share the load. Or am I expecting too much of my fellow travellers?
Anyone? You know you want to!
*Travel plans for the rest of the year are still in the brewing stages, but so far I’m thinking Tasmania, Queensland and of course more local travel within the state of Victoria. It looks tiny compared to the rest of Australia, but is still roughly the size of the British Isles so much more of this wonderful state to explore.