My travel inspiration

More excitement!  I’ve been nominated by Suzanne of the travelbunny to take part in Easyjet’s Inspiration Initiative.  Suzanne is a very well-travelled lady and I love her blog, so I musn’t let her down.  Inspiration to travel?  You only need to browse the current dazzling array of travel blogs.  Easyjet would like to know Who, What, When and Where are the inspiration for your travels?  There are prizes!

Who?  Like many others, I have a great fondness for Michael Palin and his gentle way of being in the world, interested but unobtrusive. (unless you count the camera crew, of course!)  His warmth and humour are ever-present, in sometimes quite trying circumstances.

Class 153, Michael Palin at
Cambridge, Wikipedia

I don’t imagine it was much fun battling altitude sickness in the Himalayas, and he’s certainly slept in some strange places.  Still, watching him on TV was the first time I can ever remember thinking “I want that job”.  I want to travel.  Why, he even has two trains named after him!

Living in hostel accommodation in London in my late teens, I explored back streets and wandered the riverside for hours.  I was besotted with the shiny city, so different from my quiet hometown.  Then one of my room-mates announced that she was emigrating to Australia.  The possibility had just never occurred to me!  Tempted though I was, I never made that leap, a new and lustrous relationship keeping me in place.  Who knows where I’d be today if I had, but I’ll never forget my inspiring, adventurous friend, Di.

London Town viewed from Greenwich Park

What?  It’s books for me, all the way.  I can never walk past the Oxfam shop in Durham without nipping upstairs for a peak at the travel section.  Before I know it I’m sunk in an armchair, with a heap before me on the coffee table.  Buddhist temples, multi-hued mountains, languid beaches- the world at my fingertips.

"Lumiere" 2011, Durham City

And planning?  I read everything related I can get my hands on.  I cannot bear to return from a trip and have somebody say “did you see…” and my answer be “no”.

Years ago I used to watch every episode of “A Place in the Sun”, riveted by the snippets of background on each of the destinations.  Every week I was “living” somewhere different.  Little did I think then that I’d fall in love with, nevermind buy, in Tavira, on the Eastern Algarve.

Ponte Romana and the skyline

When?  I still have home commitments and a husband who loves his work, or my gypsy caravan would have worn its wheels down long ago.  I always dreamed of owning a boat and following the coastline into infinity.  The nearest I’ve managed to date is gulet sailing in Turkey, and ferrying between the islands of Greece, but I’m still hopeful.  In the meantime, whenever I can get a well-priced flight the antenna start to quiver.

Where?  Many of my travels are centred in Portugal, but that’s no hardship.  It’s a beautiful country with one foot still a little bit in the past, and I like that.  From its vivid capital Lisbon, inland to the most wistful of castles at Almourel; from spectacular coastline to historic cities, there’s little that Portugal can’t supply.  I’m on a mission to see the Duoro valley this year.  You just can’t take the wanderlust out of Restlessjo, and I’m often to be found with my head in a travel guide.  Moorish Seville, Granada and Cordoba have surrendered, Jerez and Cadiz yet to be conquered.  Did somebody mention “Tall Ships” this year?  It must have been in the Easyjet magazine.

Real Alcazar gardens in Seville

My new found Polish family introduced me to a different culture, whose cities and landscape I find equally beguiling.  Krakow and the Tatry mountains certainly know how to inspire.  Nor can I discount the pleasure of walking on my native North Yorkshire moors, or a visit to my daughter in lively Nottingham.

Balon Widokowy (tethered hot air balloon) over Krakow

These days every morning presents a different trip.  I open up my emails and am transported to Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam, or to play with traditional dolls in Japan, or climb the Great Wall of China.  How much have my blogging friends enhanced my world and inspired me!  Thank you all.

My 5 nominations are:

Have bag, will travel

Bringing Europe Home

Julie Dawn Fox in Portugal

A bit of culture

Travels of a Non Traveller

Good luck and happy travels folks!


  1. You must be so excited! I’ll be in Tavira for a week or so and looking forward to a traditional wedding ceremony in the village of Alte (it’s all weddings, isn’t it!) so will have something to look forward to reading when I get back.


    1. Wow- thanks Sherry! How long till your African adventure? Guess you’ve got too many offers from people just wanting to ride in your rucksack. It’s one occasion when I could wish to be Flat Ruthie!


  2. Congratulations and hope you continue getting a lot of pleasure out of travelling around our wonderful world! There are so many beautiful things in every country, I also wish I had tons of money and lots of time to see it all…


  3. I am honored that you thought of me, Jo. Thank you! I re-read info on the Easy Jet site, and it says that the competition is open to U.K. residents—so I think I’m not qualified to participate. But, thank you again, and good luck!


  4. what a lovely post Jo! I too love Michael Palin and his gentle enthusiasm.
    and I love the imagery you have used too – wearing the wheels out on your gypsy caravan – and the idea of places being surrendered to you – or waiting to be conquered – brilliant!
    Good luck with the competition – you deserve to win! 🙂


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