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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.

Monday, 22 November 2010

E-reading treat

Nicola, Pete, Lola and Nell love to travel, but want to find ways that are as low carbon as possible. This post is from Nicola Baird

Nearly 21 years ago I was living in the South Pacific. The pic on the left is me posing in a small Solomon Islands village, on the island of Makira, dressed up in frangipani lei (flower garland), tapa cloth (made from bark) and painted in tumeric. I was on a journalism trip for Solomon Islands Development Trust rather ruined by the villagers - unusually in this part of the Solomons all Polynesians - asking me not to reveal the detail of their astonishing tumeric harvest. And of course I didn't.

But during my two years as a VSO journalist trainer in the region I collected so many stories, ideas, experiences that had no choice but to merge, fizz and revamp them as a story which anyone could enjoy - and especially people who love to travel or who live in Solomon Islands.

Read Coconut Wireless
Hopefully this will tempt you to look at the new e-novel I've just published. It's called Coconut Wireless and is about life, love and gossip in the country's capital, Honiara. Enjoy downloading some free sample chapters by clicking here or buy for a couple of US dollars from Smashwords as a pdf here.

Half of any money generated by this book will be donated to projects supporting women and children in Solomon Islands.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Chernobyl makes me mad

Pete, Nicola and their kids, Lola and Nell, like to travel the world but are trying to do with as low a carbon footprint as possible. This Mrs Angry post is written by Nicola

It's rare that I use TV to travel but I made an exception when a friend (who'd done some of the filming on What the Green Movement Got Wrong) urged me to watch BBC 4, thursday november 4, which is available at catch up for a while here. The programme enraged me, mostly because it dismissed the idea that here in the West we all have to learn to live with a bit less. As the population keeps on growing - and poorer people expect to share more of the good things of this world, such as electricity - this means we need more and cleaner fuels. In the film, using a couple of turncoat Greens it was suggested this could only be nuclear. (btw No, it does not). But Mark Lynas thinks it is, both talking from his office and on a surprising trip to still-uninhabitable-since-April 1986- Chernobyl.

Two summers ago in Yorkshire I met two Belarus girls, young teenagers - so 2nd generation "Chernobyl" children (around 60 per cent of the radiation spread into neighbouring Belarus with long-term devastating effects). The girls were on a month's holiday organised by the Chernobyl Children's charity, see more here.

You'll die anyway
Last night on TV a scientist told us that not many people died after the 4th reactor went into meltdown, but lots died from alcoholism and stress from fear of radiation! How I laughed (in an ironic way). The host mum of these two girls told me how the Belarus children's exposure to Chernobyl gifts them with a lifetime of chronic ill-health. They are unusually tired, many end up with thyroid problems. It may not be a stark death under a blood-stained blanket, but it's a dreadful legacy. And one we could blight many other people with if we turn again to nuclear as a magic bullet for tackling climate change.

Obviously lots of watchers (it's the first thing most Greens have watched since the news of the failure of Copenhagen's climate talks last December...) were unhappy with the show. I like this calm comment from Craig Bennett at Friends of the Earth. That NGO has also published a briefing about what they thought was wrong with the film, see here.

Go girls
I have an extra complaint about the way "What The Greens Got Wrong" is that it reflects its own premise - Greens are too conservative - by almost exclusively relying on white men in suits. Where are the women who'd talk a lot more sense?

I know so many mothers who are doing their absolute best to help their children become the adults who will be coping with climate change. They are teaching their kids to think and learn real life skills, plus rewarding tolerance and co-operativeness, etc. But they seem to be a missing species in decision making. Probably because they're back home putting the kids to bed. If you're interested in more thoughts on this see this piece in the Guardian (from 2009).