When St Elizabeth’s Hospice asked me to help Phil Wix promote his pop-up shop to sell his wife’s designer clothes, I jumped at the chance. I also know how important it is to raise money for the hospice as they only receive a small fraction of money from the government, the rest comes from donations.Read More
A whole month alcohol free plus 31 days of activity part of Suffolk Mind’s #redjanuary. Watch out February, here I comeRead More
My 3 boys had experiences as gifts this year. Ryan made a knife at a Suffolk forge, Lyle recorded a song at Dove Studio and Richard joined a 10 week Jaffa running courseRead More
I picked up Shine by Andy Cope and Gavin Oates at Stansted airport in June en route to Sardinia.
My copy is now rather dog-eared because I took it everywhere with me, the beach, the restaurants, the bars. Whenever I had 5 minutes to spare I read one of the short chapters. It’s full of humour and strategies on how to live a full life. I remember reading the chapter called That Wee Piece of Magic, explaining how we’ve lost the childlike art of playfulness. The writers pose questions like when did you last play with a cardboard box?
Not exactly relevant but I’m reminded of the time my 28 year old son jumped out of a cardboard box to surprise me on my birthday. It was such an emotional time in so many ways, just a few days before my husband was diagnosed with cancer
I was reading on the beach at Giardini Naxos, when I looked up to see 4 children with beach towels tied around their necks like capes, jumping off upturned boats, racing around like superheroes. I’d just witness the perfect demonstration of let’s pretend play that children enjoy so much. The authors ask, When did you decide that today was the day you decided to stop playing, to stop approaching everyday situations with playfulness, creativity and joy?
It’s a wonderfully simple, fun and thought-provoking book to read. I still think about many of the ideas in this book.
My 4 favourite ideas
See the things that happen to you as interesting plot twists, weave them into the story of your life rather than talk about the disaster, the dramas that turn you into one of life’s victims
There are only 3 things important for a healthy life, to eat well, move more and sleep enough
Put on your shine tinted spectacles and see the world bathed in a clear shiny light
Don’t half-ass anything, always use your full ass
Give it a Try
For the price of 3 Starbucks coffees, I’d recommend Shine. I’m sure you’ll get something from it. What’s your favourite book that makes you feel all warm and glowing inside?
I love going to festivals, Steve and I went to WOMAD every year. This year I decided to go to Folk East on my own. This is what happened.Read More
The first year is by far the hardest but in the second year, the cloud around you thins and you begin to make sense of this different life you’re leadingRead More
Going out on your own after a bereavement is no walk in the park. Check out #MeetpMondays as a great way to meet new friends over a cup of coffeeRead More
A useful strategy if you hate spidersRead More
Steve loved train travel and in 2016 he went overland from Ipswich to Japan and back again. He didn’t like flying, he thought it was an unsustainable form of transport so he used trains and boats to make that long journey across Asia to visit our son in Japan.
We planned to do a similar journey in 2017 but Steve became ill and travel was impossible. As Steve lay dying, slipping out of consciousness, I made a commitment to him that I was going to travel in his footsteps overland through China and Russia. I planned to take the journal Steve wrote with me on that journey.
For 60 days I traveled solo covering 20,000 miles, visiting Azerbaijan, Dubai, Japan, China and finally catching the Trans-Siberian train to Moscow, a staggering 6 full days on the train! You can read all about my adventures here www.bit.ly/elenes60days.
When I look back on that trip, I was full up with grief but I was also determined, on a mission. I ran this script in my head, I need to travel by myself to show I can live in the world without my rock, my life, my soul mate. If I can manage that, I know I will be able to carry on living.
I survived, you could say I flourished. I found people to talk to, to connect with, to share tears with. My impression (OK somewhat limited, I know) was that people around the world were caring and empathetic. I had one of my best hugs from a Chinese market trader in Beijing. I guess my story of undying love is universal.
On the first day of my adventure, a feeling of apprehension swept over me as I waved goodbye to my sister in law at Heathrow. As I walked away from her towards the check-in desk I wondered, “What have I done?” I’d never bought a one-way airline ticket before! It was a fleeting concern because I the sparkly top I was wearing set off the security alarms and I was soon caught up in body scans and bag checks. My fear behind me, my journey truly had begun.
Looking back on my trip now, it’s hard to believe that every train journey, every connection, every transfer, every pick-up worked like magic.
Was someone looking out for me?
Give it a Try
Plan a solo trip. It doesn’t have to be too far. Maybe a day trip to London to visit an exhibition could be your first step. If you’d like to go somewhere further afield, get help from a travel adviser. I’ve used Travel with Jules.
People often think that it’s more expensive to use a travel company but agents can often find better deals. Also with an independent travel company, you have a person to contact when you’re travelling. My solo holiday this year to Sicily was one of the best experiences ever. I’ll be writing about that trip soon.
Have you ever had a solo holiday? I’d love to hear your experiences. Please write in the comments below.
I loved the island of Sicily, the food, the people and the climate. I can’t wait to returnRead More
It’s hard to cook for one but making smoothies and cooking enough food to last a few meals helped meRead More