When it comes to foreign travel three men have changed my life: Bill Bryson, Tim Berners-Lee and Michael O’Leary.  Let me explain:

When I was a boy in the 1950s and 1960s family holidays came once a year and were rotated tri-annually between a caravan in Norfolk, a caravan in Cornwall and a caravan in Wales.  I’m not being ungrateful because these holidays were great fun and in those days it was all that my parents could afford.  To be perfectly honest the very idea of going to Europe was faintly absurd, I knew of people who had been to France or Spain of course (or said that they had) but I always regarded them as slightly eccentric and wondered if they were telling the whole truth!  As for going further than Europe I might as well have made plans to go to the moon!

Despite these severe limitations on travel opportunities I developed a desire to see interesting places after visiting them through the stories that my father used to tell me.  He was a well read and an educated man who passed on to me his love of history and geography.  The family house was never short of books and encyclopaedias and he always had an abundance of time to enjoy them and share their stories with me.  Through his inspiration I learnt about Paris, Rome, Athens and Madrid and travellers like Marco Polo and Captain Cook and I vowed that one day I would see these places for myself.

Mundesley 1959

As I grew older I became even more aware of the wider world and in my teenage years started to think ambitiously about overseas travel, a bit like George Bailey in ‘A Wonderful Life’, and I promised myself that one-day I would travel.  Really travel.  Since then I have been here and there but I hadn’t really travelled until those three men changed my life.

Bill Bryson is my favourite author (not counting people like Shakespeare of course, and I am sure that Bill wouldn’t mind that), because his books make me laugh and he has put fun into travel and reawakened for me the teenage dreams that I used to have of endless globetrotting to far off interesting places.  His books made me want to be an independent traveller, to make my own arrangements and to discover the places that I had always wanted to see but was never quite sure how to go about it.

And then I discovered the Internet and the World Wide Web and this opened up vast new horizons for me and I thank Tim Berners-Lee for that.  It is quite likely that I will be technically challenged on this point so just to be clear the Internet and the World Wide Web are not the same thing: the Internet is a collection of interconnected computer networks and the Web is a collection of interconnected documents and other resources, linked by hyperlinks and URLs. Anyway the technical details do not really matter, what it means to me is access to information and unlimited travel opportunities.

In the 1970s and the 1980s for most people it was only really possible to travel if you used the services of a High Street Travel Agent because only they had the necessary network of connections to the big holiday companies and overseas hotels.  And then the Web came along and opened up vast new horizons.  Suddenly it was possible to delve into previously unknown dimensions and start to think about the unthinkable.  Arranging your own overseas holidays directly and bypassing the travel agents and their 10% commission (possibly more, I don’t know).

That was all well and good but how was one to get to these new locations and the opportunities that were opening up?  The answer came thanks to Michael O’Leary and Ryanair.  Low cost air travel!  That was what I was waiting for and thanks to St Michael that is what now makes European travel available to us all.  I like the 1p flights and have set out to take advantage of them for as long as they are available and see as much of Europe as I possibly can.

What follows is a journal of my mid-life travels made possible by these three men (four if you count my father, which I do of course).

Greece 2008 124


30 responses to “Andrew

  1. Far be it from me to make my first comment a disagreement, but I never used a travel company until the 90s – and then only on a handful of occasions.

    So my challenge isn’t on technical grounds 😀 it’s on individual planning v holiday companies, doing the research at the local library, and being an avid reader of time-tables, and packing a rucksack. All of which was possible on a budget in the 70s and 80s 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment. I did things the opposite way. Always used tour companies but regret it now. I haven’t been on a package holiday since 2005 but this year I am travelling with grandchildren and it turned out to be the best option available.

  2. Hey Gramps, still like your blogs. Just made my partner read your dental post 😀

  3. No. Not in a million years. I could echo your dental post and more if I could bring myself to write about the ****ing *******s My asterisks not WP censorship. I daresay you can work it out. Last time I went was 199? just before I went to Madrid whenever that was (only way I can remember it). They were still telling me I should have my wisdom teeth out because at some point they were going to hurt. They’d been telling me that crap for 20 years. It wears a bit thin after a while.

    You have more blogs than me. OK, nearly more than me. Took me ages to find where I had posted this 😀 it was the Portugal stuff that reminded me. I must write more posts on all my blogs to keep up.

  4. Thanks so much for sharing your travels and all of your adventures with all of us. We enjoy your blog tremendously, which is why we just nominated you for the Sunshine Award!

  5. Hello Andrew, not sure if you’re an awards person. Nonetheless, I’ve nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award because I absolutely love the way you document your travels! You can check out the details here:

  6. G’day Andrew. Sounds like you’re enjoying life – and let’s face it, that’s the best way to be. I enjoyed reading your About Me. I’ll follow you now and see what you get up to in the coming years.
    All the best from Brisbane, Australia.

  7. techchallengedmillenial

    Dear Andrew,

    My name is Lidia Medina and I am with the World Spa & Travel magazine’s
    marketing team. World Spa & Travel is a luxury travel magazine devoted to
    bringing our readers & new refreshing content while building a community of like-minded individuals. Our company launched a blog this week! I came across your blog and loved it! I was wondering if you were interested in writing some blog posts depending on your availability. Our website is and the blog is under “Travel Network”. Feel free to message me any questions!

    All the best,


  8. I nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! Check out my post to see how it works. 🙂

  9. Really like your posts, looking forward to see more from you…I also like your picture, most of mine are also with open arms 😉 🙂

  10. Hi Andrew,

    I just reached here by chance, but I’ll be a regular visitor from now on.

    Nice write up and beautiful photos.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences.


  11. Very inspiring – hope you have many more travels in 2014!

  12. This is a beautiful blog!!

  13. Hi Andrew,
    My first look at your blog was Santorini. I really want to visit there even more now that I have seen that post! I have subscribed and will be reading through more.
    Thanks for stopping by and for the like. Come by again anytime!

  14. Is your father my father’s brother? 🙂 My father also planted the love for travel in me. He would read about far away places, namely London, Paris and New York and then talked about the places as if he had been there himself. You should have heard his colorful stories! I have been to quite a few places and am happy to say that I took my father and mother to NYC and other places in the US.

  15. Great photos of Moroccan medinas!!! Not easy getting those photos…

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