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What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog begun in 2012 about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.

I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps.

Around 2018 I tried a new way of writing my family's and my own UK travel adventures. Britain is a brilliant place for a staycation, mini-break and day trips. It's also a fantastic place to explore so I've begun to write up reports of places that are easy to reach by public transport. And when they are not that easy to reach I'll offer some tips on how to get there.

See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Today we go home

Nicola, Pete, Lola and Nell want to travel the world with a difference. We hope to get a taste of many countries without adding to climate change (with needless emissions from aeroplanes) or having to waste hours of holiday time in airport terminals. We hope our adventures inspire you to take a Grand Tour of your neighbourhood whatever the weather. This post is from Nicola

Mixed emotions for us all as Lola, Nell and I head back to home in London - Pete opted to be in the advance party so we won't get to experience an unusally silent house with piles of post, unfortunate dead insects, empty fridge and three-month-old mould covered dishes in the sink.

This wouldn't have happened anyway as my friend Tom who was staying there all summer only moved all his stuff out yesterday. He says he likes the area so much (to his surprise?) that he's opted to rent another place nearby. And also various lovely neighbours, but especially Nicolette, have been tackling post piles and overflowing water butts.

For the past five days the slow three have had time in Hertfordshire to join in a range of community fundraisers, chat with Granny Fiona, enjoy Anthony's delicious feasts, play with one-year-old cousin Jago, raid the secondhand shops in Bishop's Stortford, swim, swing and make blackberry jam.

I tend to worry about things one thing at a time (to the detriment of the future maybe) but my biggest concern today, five hours before we leave for the train is how I'm going to drag our backpack and extras up to London while keeping the mice and kids safe, and the jam upright. Once this is done roll on the rest of the things that matter - from traffic calming and world peace to when my organic veg box gets delivered again.

There are lots of jobs for September - back to school obviously - but also an autumn pulling together this travel blog into something that makes people really, really want to visit Britain, or at the very least capture the pleasures of travelling around it. And that task is obviously a lot more hard graft than the exhilarating freedom I felt from being agenda-free and on the road...

I think the girls feel the same way as they've already been suggesting places they'd like to go or see next summer - Chester, Taransay, Ullapool, Bristol, Cornwall, the Cotswolds, Stratford-upon-Avon, the Isle of Wight, the New Forest etc, etc. We've been very lucky, not a single dud stopover, even during the wettest British summer since Celia Finnes did her epic ride around England in the 1690s (a mini ice age). Then again we've got Gore-tex, trains, mobile phones and daily newspapers so the odds were high that we would have an easy time.

What we haven't been able to do is pick out a highlight. Excellent moments included walking much of Hadrian's Wall; seeing a Roman slipper being removed from the mud at Vindolanda; spotting lots of live wildlife (eg, hare, deer) and farm diversification wildlife (buffalo, ostriches); going down a coal mine, and completing the Power Tour. Big days out may be memorable, but simple pleasures like going for walks with a borrowed dog, or playing in a ditch - preferably with a rope swing over it - are what Lola and Nell enjoyed the best. Clearly there's work to be done in our tiny garden and some rescue pet centres to visit.

Here's a huge thank you to everyone who helped us, but most especially the people who lent us their houses (plus pets and vegetable gardens), showed us the places to go, or had us to stay.

1 comment:

Rita said...

Welcome back home!! You've done a fantastic job in recording your amazing adventure, well done!

Rita xx