thesticks

In September 2014 we travelled to South Africa and Swaziland. It was the Webmaster's first holiday for years and it had taken the offer of an African safari to tempt him to renew his passport and put his beloved dogs in kennels for two weeks. But he didn't regret it. Even the grumpy Webmaster managed to smile and enjoy himself without too much moaning and groaning. After considering a range of safaris in East Africa and Namibia we finally decided on the Zululand and Kruger Wildlife tour from the travel company Explore

In October 1993 Andy and I travelled to Syria with a tour organised by Voyages Jules Verne. There were no direct flights to Syria so we flew into and out of Amman, Jordan. Although the tour was only a week long we covered a lot of ground. Our tour guide was a civil engineer and archeologist. He was friendly, enthusiastic and informative, but we did often have to cope with the cold when visiting  sites where some of the earliest writing had been found or where crusades had been fought.

We visited many of the places which have now, sadly become familiar through the daily news reports of destruction, devastation and suffering: Aleppo, Homs, Palmyra and, one of the early casualties, Maalula, where the early Christian monastery was seriously damaged in 2014.

Although I've now been to the USA on several occassions, I have not forgotten my first impressions and reading back recently through the diary I kept at the time has been very interesting. My daughter has recently returned from spending a year in California and comparing notes has highlighted similarities and differences between her experiences and mine.

This is a transcription of the diary I made when travelling to India for the first time. It was 1981 and I had never been outside Europe before. Travelling alone to India and Nepal was a great experience.

I have been to many places around the world since but this journey remains the most memorable. Like most young people at the time I had to travel on a small budget and this undoubtedly meant I got to meet more local people and experience the real hospitality of India than if I had stayed in large hotels and travelled by car.