492I am a single mum from London. I have been travelling with Lilly-May since she was 8 months old. What inspired me? Having to be strong, my love of travel and more importantly the fact that anyone can do anything they want if they put their minds to it.
Im not going to lie to you, my life has been a struggle and still is at times, i seem to be one of those people who attracts the jealous type of woman and men who want to break me down. I am a secondary school teacher, i trained when lilly was three years old but started working in a school when she was one. Up until Lilly was three years old i took small trips with her abroad. It was only after a trip to Colorado to visit her father, which didnt go so well for the first time aged 18 months that i really thought, what is important to me, what do i want for Lilly, what do i love. Travel, i love travel. Before i had Lilly i travelled through India for seven months exploring all the different cultures, mixing with the locals, loving the language and the food. I spent a month in Myanmar listening to the struggles of the people but witnessing such a beautiful yet painful country. I trained as a PADI dive master and lived and worked in Thailand for a year; this is where i met Lilly’s dad. Previous to this i travelled around Europe, discovered Croatia, Sarajevo, Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece and the hidden depts of Turkey. If i am off the beaten track, away from the tourists, then i am really travelling and do you know what? i love to write. I used to write every day whilst travelling. I remember saying to my mum when i was pregnant and on my own that i wanted to be a travel writer, she laughed, you cant do that your pregnant, it was at this point i felt that my life could be over..and for a while this part of my life was..was she right? Should i stop travelling, was this it?
So, where would i go? In April 2010 (during the easter holidays) i took Lilly to India. This invloved having to aquire a decree absoloute from a solicitor who was a friend of a friend..as you cannot take children into India without the other parents permission..i even had the solicitor asking whether i really thought this was a good idea? I remember thinking, no i have to do this, it will be fine. As i knew India i did my research, we would fly into Mumbai and head down to the south of Goa, a tame trip but a great first start…as soon as we landed on Indian soil and i smelt that Mumbai air, i knew we had made the right decision, four years earier i had cried leaving this place and here i was returning to show the most precious person (aged 2 and a half) in my life the most magical country in the world. It wasnt all plain sailing though, on arrival i had booked into the salvation army hostel..they had no idea we were arriving and we waited for about 2 hours before i called another hotel in my lonely planet. My first lesson on travelling with a child, get confirmation of your first nights stay in writing. All was ok though and we spent two great days in Mumbai before taking the train down to agonda beach in Goa…here we were met with a stunning long wide sandy beach and fantastic beach huts for £5 a night. Lilly was in heaven and so was i. I potty trained her here! We met some amazing people, Indian and western alike. For the first time i experienced travelling with a child, what a change but a good one. I called my mum from the hut, ‘we love this, we are so happy’ The reception from the locals and tourists was amazing..we explored the area, found the secret beach, sat next to each other in an internet cafe..she was my travelling partner! This was awesome. Then the news hit us, a volcano had erupted in Iceland..could we get home?? i hoped not! I called emirates..they could confirm nothing..so we took the train back up to Mumbai and the ever faithful Bentleys hotel..We called Emirates again, no news. The next evening we went to Chowpatty Beach, what a great place for children, we sat on the mats and ate..i called Emirates..yes maam, there are no flights until two weeks. Great. Another two weeks in India. There is something about India, i just feel so at home. I turned around and started talking to an Australian girl, ‘you stuck too?’ no im not stuck ive just arrived..we chatted and became instant friends. I told her how to get her ticket to Goa (you have to go to the tourist desk, not the normal one) we were staying in the same place and so grabbed dinner together that evening. We decided to head back down to Goa, this time to Palolem beach, a much more lively place..still very calm though. This is when i realised that for the first time i could also be young still and have lilly…I could be around people my age and people accepted me. This was a great swimming beach for Lilly and we stayed here for a week. We then decided to go to Hampi, this was an overnight bus with beds…this was awful! never ever again have i gone on one of these….but we arrived. As i was travelling with Lilly i decided that i didnt want to stay in the hostel but over the river in one of those huts (where id dreamed of staying four years earlier with my brother) so i did and i bargained it down to £4 a night. Hampi is the centre of the Hindu universe a magical place full of temples and boulders that rise out of the land…After five days we went back on an overnight bus (children just sleep on these) and back to Mumbai. What a place/what a trip. My first with Lilly-May and certainly not the last..this was the start of someting big?? where could we go next?
In the half term of 2010 i took Lilly on her first camping trip to the mountains of Snowdoniwa, that summer 2010 travelled around Indonesia, the Christmas to Stockholm, the easter to India, the following summer we camped around Europe for 6 weeks, Just Us, last year we travelled around Morroco for five weeks, we went to log cabins in Wales in January and skiing last feb. We love to camp in the UK, often visiting Dorset and the south coast.
We love to travel, she loves to travel, its just incredible.


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