A couple of years ago, I started one of those chat enquiries with a travel agent online. “Hi!” types the chirpy agent at the other end. “How can I help you today?” I didn’t know where to start. I just wanted her to tell me how to choose a resort in the Maldives! Read more
So I’ve done this a bit back to front, chronologically speaking. When we went back to the UK last month I wrote all about our time in London which was totally amazing. That was actually the second part of our time there. What I haven’t yet written about is the first part of the trip which was going back to my hometown in Devon.
To be honest… I wasn’t really sure what to write about because none of it is stuff that you guys would necessarily be interested in. Ok, you might be interested in the fact that we had a wonderfully chilled out time and that we saw lots of family and friends because you’re nice people. But not much of what we did was particularly touristy because, well, I’ve done most of it before and we really weren’t there for that long.
What’s a family to do when visiting the town they left for expat adventures? Its a funny experience taking your kids “home” when home for them is now the place you left. The place you are going on holiday is just that. A holiday destination! We used to find ourselves with a jam-packed schedule when we went home. As all the children are getting older, this time we found ourselves with only weekends and evenings booked (and they were still full to the brim!). The daytimes were pretty free leaving us able to show the kids around the city we used to call home. We weren’t there for long enough to do everything on our list but after some planning before we went, I came up with my top 9: Read more
7 sleeps till I take the Things back to the UK. This will be our first ever trip back as expats (including the Houston stint) that hasn’t had a reason other than we just want to go home and see everyone! We haven’t been home as a family in over a year and even the last 2 trips I took over were so whistle-stop that I didn’t have time to see anyone properly. To say we are excited is an understatement!
This isn’t your typical holiday
So what are we going to do? Will this be a holiday or just a jam packed 10 days of seeing people, drinking too much and not sleeping enough? Well, there will definitely be an element of that :-). But I am determined to make this a holiday as well. The last year has made me realise that the place I know as home really isn’t home for the Things. They know it is where we are from, that we have lots of friends and family there and that our old house is there. But Thing 1 has only some fading memories of this place and Thing 2 remembers literally nothing of our life before we moved. So this will be the perfect time to show them where we are from.
How do you visit the place you are already from?
I’ve taken a bit of inspiration this week from Bebe Voyage and Wanderlust Crew on how to be a tourist in your own town and in London (which for us are one and the same). My favourite tips from Bebe Voyage included checking local blogs, taking pictures as if we were real tourists (well I suppose we are really) and taking a guided tour. Wanderlust Crew’s recommendations of riding public transport (you just can’t beat a bus or a tube when you are a deprived expat kid who only gets to go on planes or in cars), doing the tourist stops like the London Eye, Big Ben, etc, going to parks and for afternoon tea have really inspired me too!
So what are we going to do?
Our time will be split in 2:
First off I am taking the Things to Tavistock, Devon which is where I am from. It’s been almost 2 years since we made it down so I’m excited to see the moors and to show them where mummy grew up (for the most part lol). Or activities will include:
- Seeing family and friends
- Walking on the moors
- Jumping in muddy puddles (new welly boots at the ready)
- Feeding the ducks
- Finding tunnels
None of it will be particularly touristy but I love the idea that they are both now old enough to remember this holiday and that they will start to have proper memories of where I am from.
After 5 days Mr Wanderlust will head over to the UK where we will meet up with him in London. The only weekend we are in town will be jam packed seeing family and friends (at least 2 sets per day!). The evenings are set to be quite busy as well: Of course we might be on holiday but everyone we know will still be at work so we are trying to do everything outside of business hours! The upside of this is that the daytimes are going to be quite quiet so we can do some more family focussed things.
We are planning on doing some touristy things like going on the London Eye and taking a river cruise (this isn’t a Merlin Entertainment sponsored post, honest!). We will do a few day trips for example to Wimbledon (where our house is) and Kingston (one of my favourite places to shop!). Both will involve trains / tubes / trams so the Things will be Made Up. If we have time I really want to take them to the aquarium and I know Thing 1 is desperate to go to a soft play that he remembers. (Honestly, take them all the way to the UK and they want to go to soft play which we have done twice a week since we got back from Italy?!!)
The end of the summer
It is still 3 weeks away but I can’t believe we are finally looking at the end of the summer. What stretched out ahead of us is now within reach. The UK will be hard (first proper time I’ve been back since my dad passed away last year) but super fun meeting some new family members as well as some of our favourite people in the whole world. On our return we will be back to 7am departures for school runs and settling Thing 2 into big school (*simultaneous sob / fist pump lol).
And of course I am already looking into options for the October half term break and an amazing Christmas holiday! The planning never stops!
It is so so hard when you are living in the desert over the summer to think of enough things to do with the family to keep everyone entertained. We haven’t even been here all summer and I’m already slowly losing the will to live going to multiple soft plays every week! I mean thank goodness we have access to so many of them but still… it’s pretty mind numbing, not to mention expensive. To be honest, I don’t know why a staycation hadn’t occurred to me before! Read more
Our third and final week in Italy saw us fly to Sicily to meet up with some of Mr Wanderlust’s school friends. And what a week it was!
These lovely chaps happen to have lovely wives and lovely children so we were excited to spend a week catching up. Living away from your country means catch-ups usually happen once a year (twice at best) for an afternoon / evening. You spend the entire time talking as fast as you can to catch up on everyone’s news and leave feeling like you missed something huge. Having a week with friends from home is the ultimate luxury! Read more
The lakes in northern Italy have been on my mum’s bucket list for as long as I can remember! I don’t know why they weren’t high up on mine as they should have been. If they aren’t on yours I recommend you add them IMMEDIATELY! We chose Lake Como but we could also have looked at Lake Garda or Lake Maggiore. Lake Como was recommended by friends and George Clooney has a villa there so if it’s good enough for George it’s good enough for us! Read more
Wow wow wow what an amazing week on the Amalfi Coast! As always our time with family was over way too quickly and before we knew it we were off to the next adventure. It sounds like humblebragging but the reality of expat life is that you don’t always know when you say goodbye when the next hello will be, even when it is to your pregnant best friend and sister-in-law… its not all sunshine and roses, I promise. Read more
If you were following me on Instagram you will already know that we had the most incredible day in Rome to kick off our holiday. We just loved it and would definitely go back again.
How and when to do Rome
We went in mid June which was probably a bit too warm but that was just how our dates worked out. If we could have had the choice (we are sadly now restricted by school holidays), May or October would probably be ideal.
As we only had one full day, the only way to see everything that we wanted to see was to do a tour. Read more
In a desperate attempt to be more organised I am researching what we to do in Italy. This is in no way me procrastinating over the packing that awaits me upstairs… Well maybe not too much! At least I’m being productive… Read more