This week’s guest post comes from The Time of Our Lives. They explain ‘Going right back to his teenage years, Nigel’s ambition has been to travel to 50 countries by the time he was 50. This goal has motivated him to explore the globe – often with his family in tow. He has taken his two daughters to destinations from Marrakech to the Sinai, believing strongly that travel is an integral part of a child’s education. His daughters are now of an age where they can fend for themselves and his work life as a freelance business coach (and maintaining his alter ego – The Commercial Traveller) gives him lots of flexibility. So, although still needing to earn a crust, cheer on his beloved Saracens and catch up with friends and family, his focus is increasingly turning to travel. And, fortunately, the same can be said for his new partner, Jane. Jane’s happiest with a travel ticket and a notebook. A former award winning radio producer, newsreader, newspaper journalist and PR officer for a world famous hospital, she asked to take the money and run from her last job at the BBC. She now sates her wanderlust by working as a voiceover and as a TV and movie extra; rarely standing still unless she hears the command ‘CUT!’ from whoever’s directing that day. Since the end of those 3.30 a.m alarm calls as a breakfast show producer, she’s watched her own two fledglings fly the nest and has flown a bit too, to New York, Chicago, Wisconsin….and has roamed alone in Rome, Edinburgh, London, Paris…and Nice. Could it be nicer, though, maybe, with a travelling companion? Find out, as she and fellow empty nester, Nigel, put that theory to the test.’
1.What is your name and where do you come from?
We’re Nigel and Jane, relatively new in a relationship and both recent empty nesters. Currently, we flip-flop between Jane’s home in Ludlow, Shropshire and Nigel’s place in Horsham, West Sussex.
2. What sort of traveller are you? Full time / part time / business / backpacker etc?
We’re part-time. We’ve done a couple of holidays and breaks, but the big one comes in the autumn with a 9 country, 57-day round the world trip. In the medium term, we are looking to build a lifestyle that has us travelling for 3 or 4 months a year.
3. How do you fund your travelling?
Currently it’s out of income, but we have a plan to use property rental to fund our trips starting next year.
4. Where is the best place you have ever been and why?
So many to choose from! Jane’s heart is in the pretty seaside town of Aberdovey, West Wales and for Nigel, it’s probably Green Turtle Cay in the Bahamas. So fair to say, we like the sandy stuff, but in different climates!
5. Where is the worst place you have ever been and why?
Jane did a ‘girl’s’ holiday as a teenager to Magaluf. She couldn’t imagine going there again ‘in a million years’, with all the tacky British pubs. Nigel’s least favourite place is incidentally one of Jane’s favourites. It’s Paris. A load of bad experiences, rude people and dirty streets. We’ll have to look elsewhere for a romantic citybreak!
6. Do you have a Bucket List? If so where are the 3 top places on it?
We both have destinations and experiences that we’ve dreamt of for many years. We’re doing a number of them on our round the world trip in autumn 2016. On Jane’s list is Tonga. She’s wanted to travel there since her Dad, who was a royal bodyguard, visited on an official tour in 1970. We have 5 days booked there on our trip. Top of Nigel’s list has always been Japan and we have a week there to explore Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Osaka. And high on both of our lists was a trip on the Rocky Mountaineer. This comes early in our trip, with a two-day journey from Banff to Vancouver.
7. What 3 things (apart from the essentials – food/water etc) do you always travel with?
Nigel’s camera, a device for communicating with our daughters when we reach wifi and Jane’s scarlet lippie!
8. What makes you happy and why?
Wow! That’s a big question! One thing we’ve both noticed is that we are both as happy experiencing something simple as something grand. We haven’t really got into the whole mindfulness thing that is very ‘current’, but if we think back to great travel experiences we’ve had together so far, they include sitting on a wall in Lucca eating gelato in the sunshine and watching London from the Thames on the clipper service (Jane could seriously go up and down on this hydrofoil ALL DAY). If you have a curiosity and give yourself up to marvelling at the world around you, it’s very easy to be happy.
9. How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
We have blogged separately for 3 or 4 years. Jane’s a journalist by trade and so writing is very much in her DNA. Nigel’s always loved photography and his writing is coming along. We started thetimeofourlives back in February 2016 – so not long. We started because we wanted to document our experiences, but also to ask for help.
10. What makes your blog unique and why should people read it?
When we decided to write a blog about travelling at this empty nester stage of life, we obviously researched who else was doing it. We found that there weren’t many travel blogs that were aimed at people like us – people who want to do independent travel, but are not gap year backpackers. We don’t want to stay in hostels, but equally, we don’t want to do it five star. We can’t claim it’s unique, but it’s certainly niche.
From ESLT – thank you Jane and Nigel for taking the time to answer our questions. First of all can we just say how jealous we are that you have such an amazing trip planned. Even though we’ve been to almost 70 countries we have never actually been travelling for longer than 24 days at one time. We can imagine there is a lot of planning going on at the moment but we’re positive it will all be worth it the second you step foot on the plane! p.s. I’m (Vicky) completely with Jane – I can’t go anywhere without my lippie either 🙂 Safe Travels!