My Earliest Travel Memory

“A half to Ayr, please,” I said to the bus driver as I placed my money on the tray.  Mum was still standing on the pavement making sure I’d asked for the right thing and as I took the change and stuffed it in my pocket; I turned around and waved excitedly to her before the bus moved off.
I was 11 ½ and travelling from Glasgow to my Great Aunt’s house 30 miles away by the sea. “It’s only down the coast,” I heard my Dad tell Mum as they were discussing the wisdom of letting me travel on my own. To me, it felt like I was going to another country.

old glasgow to ayr bus
Old Glasgow to Ayr bus

A Survivor’s Guide to the Adventure Travel Show

In less than thirty seconds we’d travelled  two floors and covered a distance of several thousand miles to arrive in the southern hemisphere.  

 “Adventure Travel Show,”- the lift attendant announced.

As the lift doors slowly parted, colourful head masts in red, green and gold screamed ‘African Safaris’. Self Drive Botswana posters teased us with 4-wheel drive adventures through wildlife-laden savannah while a video of Kalambo Falls in Zambia cascaded silently behind an African woman in a flamboyant traditional musisi dress.

 It’s that time of year again; a month past the shortest day, the streets of London are grey and it’s drizzling most of the time. The brightest things on your daily commute are the reflections of the shop lights in puddles. 

You’ve seen the posters while you wait for your tube and the full page ads in the weekend broadsheets.  You’ve fantasised about winning the lottery and quitting the job to travel round the world but are you really prepared for an Adventure Travel Show?