Archive for March 6th, 2011

Over the past what is almost 10 years (yay!) since I arrived in the UK, I have been somewhat obsessed by travel.  The ‘bug’ bit big time when I arrived in Ireland for what I thought at that stage, would be a 2 month visit with my sister and her hubbie who were living in Dublin at the time.

river liffey penny farthing bridge dublin ireland

the Penny Farthing Bridge and River Liffey, Dublin, Ireland

They took me everywhere, showing off their favourite haunts and together we discovered others…..e.g. TRIM in county Trim. (still one of the best weekends I have ever had)  We travelled far and wide, north, east, south and west.  I fell seriously in love with Ireland and next to London and the UK it is still my absolute favourite place to be.

rock of cashell ireland

me and caroline trying to escape a 'vicious' bull near the Rock of Cashell, on one of our many adventures

and this photo is really blurred coz my brother-in-law was laughing fit to bust at me trying to scramble over the wall!!!

Meant to visit from October to December, thence to return to South Africa, I fell so hopelessly in love with Ireland, I stayed!!  Three days before I was due to fly out, I cancelled my ticket home and only left when I had no choice……my 6 month visa ran out.   Not to be deterred and determined to return; in March 0f 2002 I went to London (to see the Queen) amongst others 🙂 and to collate the paperwork I needed to apply for an Ancestral Visa.  I returned to South Africa very briefly and by April 23rd (my birthday) I landed back in the United Kingdom!! Hooray.

Now I could really get my teeth into travel.  And this I did. First Italy, to Venice (a long held dream 🙂 ), Verona and a gem of a discovery; Sirmione on the southern end of Lake Garda.  Then America: 1st stop New York where I met up with my beloved daughter (working in Florida at the time), she picked me up from the airport in a Limosine and showed me the sights and delights; we had a fabulous time, then to Florida, whre we had the best time ever and I fell in love (!) and briefly to Georgia (to visit a dear friend)…..I also fell in love with America.

Soon my daughter joined me in the UK, and we travelled to Amsterdam (whew! what an education!) and Gouda, then we went to Paris for my 50th, again she treated me; this time with a ride in a soft-top Cadillac and like in the song: “I rode through Paris with the wind in my hair”! (God, it still makes me cry when I recall that trip). Another trip to America, this time for a Caribbean cruise, then Gibraltar, then back to America again, this time Arizona, back to Paris and on to Bruges, frequent visits (9 and still counting) to Ireland, then Wales, and Scotland and pretty much every county in Southern England and then some.

All the while I ‘entertained’ my poor beleagured family and friends with very, very, very long emails, describing my trips and the things I saw.  One day in 2008, my daughter suggested I start a blog….which I duly did and suddenly my writing took wings, my first post was short and sweet!  Now instead of bombarding my F&F’s with multiple, exceptionally long emails, I started blogging.  I loved it. I could write about anything I wanted. 🙂

I had always wanted to write, and had produced a few poems over the years, in school one of my English teachers suggested I pursue a career in fictional writing.  This I find most difficult and prefer to write about what is actually happening in the ‘here and now’.  Over the years my writing has improved, my direction has changed and I started writing under the nom-deplume ‘notjustagranny’, an expression coined one day after a chat with someone who wanted to know if I had grandchildren (not yet), and then, last year when the idea (from my daughter – a real ideas person) to start a London blog and write about my adventures in London started, I really found my wings.  This idea came about when a friend on twitter who lives in USA said she & her hubby had a long lay-over at Heathrow and could I suggest something to do.  So I wrote an itinerary of one of my favourite walks and emailed it to her. And from there the idea was born. Although they didn’t actually do the itinerary, two of my London based friends have, and gave me great feedback.

Now I virtually live in front of my computer between adventures!  The London blog has grown from writing about London to really ‘writing’ about London and out of that a business has sprouted.

After sacrificing just about the whole of my summer, autumn and winter time-off  in 2010, sitting writing till sometimes 2am, and every spare second I could, about 4 months into writing post after post, I was invited by the lovely Karen of Europe a lá Carte, to feature as one of their travel writers (whoo hoo!!).  Then just this year Melvin from TravelDudes invited me to write an article for his website, which I did and he loved it (I now have 3 published articles on the site, which is just bloody brilliant). Whee….. things were beginning to happen.  And then just a few weeks ago Patricia of GotSaga contacted me and invited me to write for her website too.  OMG!!!! and WHOA!!!  And on Wednesday this week my first article for GotSaga went live.

Now featured on three of the biggest online travel sites, suddenly I have become what I wanted to be: a Travel Writer!

I am over the moon with joy and excitement.

What is really bizarre, is that I did not set the ‘intent’ to become a Travel Writer, instead I just combined my two passions (three if you include London): travelling and writing and voila!  My dreams have come true!  So the point of this blog is to say………..


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