Keeping healthy on arrival in a new country

We’ve actually been incredibly lucky while on our travels so far that we’ve not had any major illnesses. James suffered with really bad hay fever while in Germany and we had the crazy tale of trying to get to see a doctor in a town where they only spoke German and Russian! Marcus also had tummy upsets but it was while we were in the UK, so proof that it can really happen anywhere.

I think it’s also a misnomer that you can only really have tummy upsets while in developing countries and I do think that any sort of change is going to potentially have an effect on your gut. We’re travelling to the USA, for the first time, in two weeks. Even though it’s not a place that I would think would be bad for us and that we’d need to take precautions I’m sure the change in water and the change in they types of food could well be challenging for us or anyone.

So what to do? Well, normally I’ll admit I would just take it all as it comes, but then generally in our travels we’ve had time to slow down if we needed to. We won’t when we go to the US, we’ll be pretty much on the go from the moment we arrive. Any illness could really impact us hugely.

Common sense prevails though. In order to keep healthy and feel fresh on arrival in a new country I’m thinking about the following:

  • plenty of sleep
  • plenty of water and fluids
  • staying out of the intense heat if applicable
  • not going crazy with too much food too soon!  (hmm remind me of that in america!)
  • keeping a well stocked first aid kit

Another thing we’re doing is also be looking at upping our good tummy bacteria too as I’ve been reading a bit about probiotics and prebiotics lately.  We try and take vitamins already, since I know we don’t eat as well as we can so this is a great extra thing to do.

We could do that by just go crazy with yoghurt drinks, but personally I don’t really like them very much.  The rest of the family do, but I’m a fussy so and so ;)  So I was pleased to find a product from Bimuno Prebiotics which is some chewy pastilles that do a similar job – I’ll be giving them a go!  Better than yucky yoghurt drinks!!

Although I don’t think you can always stop tummy upsets and health issues when you go abroad being prepared can absolutely help to minimise the risk so that’s what we’ll be doing.  Even if we’re just popping over the channel to France and not to deepest darkest India!


New travel plans?

So since it took me so long to catch up with our Normandy trip, it seems I’ve neglected to tell you all about our new plans for travel!

The exciting news is, we’re heading off again!  Although I have realised that actually, the reason why I haven’t told many people the whole story is because I don’t really know the whole story yet!

Here’s what I know:

We’ve really not enjoyed living back where we came home to.  Of course there were good reasons to come back here (job and our orthodontist is here) but it’s not been enjoyable.  For the past 7 months I have been working feverishly away on an escape plan.  Life is too short to be miserable and stuck!  We know we need to base ourselves in the UK still for Marcus’s dental treatment, but I was hopeful we could find a way to still live an interesting and exciting life while doing that.  After all, if we waited for his braces treatment to finish we could be waiting until he was ready to leave home!

So I’ve been working away at Untrapped Life (do come over and take a look…) building my site and a podcast.  It’s all been going rather well.

We took the decision earlier on this year to attend a Podcasting conference over in the US this summer.  We thought it might just be a holiday, but as time wore on, we realised that perhaps this could be the turning point for us.  James was unhappy in his driving job, we hated the house we were in – so we thought ‘let’s move or do something!’

I wanted to travel again.  6 – 8 weeks in an area before coming back to the UK for a bit.  That would still be doable.  We don’t have to do it forever, but we can give it all another go again, and i really want to try travelling in a different way and without our camper van.  The kids are getting older, I nearly have two teens now and if I’m honest I’m not sure how long they’ll be up for it!

So that’s the plan really!  Although in reality we’ll be peppering our time with house sitting.  We were fortunate enough to land a house sitting gig in Scotland that coincided with our return from the US.  It’s for a month and will give us some space to breathe, earn and get back in to this lifestyle.

What we have planned so far is :

US – just over 2 weeks there.  Our first ever time in the US!  We’ll be in Dallas for a week and then will be travelling some of Route 66 and returning from Las Vegas

Scotland – our house sit and then visiting our friends in Rum.

Italy – this country is so elusive!  We hope to get to Tuscany at least and spend October exploring there.  Perhaps we’ll search for a house sit that coincides and fits well.

London – again we’ve been lucky to get a house sit in London for a whole month.  Assuming all goes well we’ll be featuring lots of free museums and learning a load!

That’s as far as we know really!  I’m excited, scared and nervous all at once.  We’re currently in pre launch, moving out mode so all a bit of a stress fest!  The good news is that I will be blogging more and will have more travel adventures to share!

I can’t wait!


Tempted by Turkey

Turkey is one of those places that seems to be adored by so many of my fellow family travellers.  From the culture to the food to the climate, it seems to have everything!  When we visited Istanbul back in February I wasn’t sure if we’d enjoy it as we’d never travelled outside of western europe really!  It was quite a feat to get them to agree to going there instead of Venice (ah, Venice, I will see you one day…) but I think, in the end it was a great choice.  We *all* still love Turkey and we’d all happily visit that country again.

So why did we love Turkey so much?  Well, certainly for Alex, my 12 year old it was when she realised how cheap it was compared to France and Germany.  She could buy souvenirs and trinkets and still have money for sweets!  Since we’re such budget travellers we welcomed the cheap cost of food too.  While in Europe we would generally just self catered from the supermarket and we never went out for meals.  In Turkey we had the option of both, so it was a nice change.

There’s so much more to Turkey than Istanbul though which is why we’re tempted to return and explore more.

There are the resorts round the Aegean coast, with its blue sparkling sea and gorgeous sands.  There are loads of ways to get there with travel agents like First Choice or you can, of course, go it alone.  The Dalaman area is where I’m tempted.  I mean, it’s nickname is the Turquoise Coast, that just makes me want to go there and explore the beaches so much!  But I’ve also seen many people rave about Fethiye which is one of the larger towns there and how great a base it is.  Sometimes it’s hard to know the best places to try so I like to get recommendations.

The fact that there is so much to see in Turkey is appealing too.  On my list is – Ephesus, which I though was Roman ruins, but actually turns out is Greek – Alex will love that!  The thermal pools at Pamukkale (honestly, these look so awesome!  The first time I saw a picture I knew I had to go there!) and of course, Cappadocia, which isn’t by the coast, but cannot be missed.  I want to do a hot air balloon trip, but if we do it might have to be just me and Alex since James and Marcus are scared of heights.

But the other great thing for me is the climate.  A place that is warm pretty much year round gets my vote.  Being able to visit in the shoulder season, when the crowds have died down, but still having great weather is what really tempts me to Turkey.  I do love the sunshine.  I love to walk and explore.  I love to sit on the beach and watch the sun set.  Perfect.  Do you think I’ll get that in Turkey?

Reflecting at Pointe Du Hoc and Omaha Beach

It was time for us all to turn round and trundle back up towards Calais.

On the way we took in Omaha beach, Pont du Hoc and the American Cemetery.

We can often get grumpy (that’s probably not the right word, narked?) in the UK about the American help that we got, I don’t think we like to admit that the Americans made such a difference to the victory  ;)  We especially don’t like Hollywood changing the stories, and as the years have gone by it’s kind of a well known view that the Americans think they won the war and we don’t like that!  Seeing the areas that they arrived and the huge job they had brings it all in to perspective though.  How can you ever have any feeling other than gratefulness when you see the huge loss of life, the huge undertaking and just the whole thing through your own eyes?

Pointe Du Hoc

Memorial at Pointe Du Hoc

American Cemetary in Normandy

Visiting Normandy reaffirmed my reasons for travelling with my kids.  We all enjoy history, but there is a huge difference to learning about something in a book, or on a tv programme than seeing it in real life.  When we ever talk about Normandy or watch a film about it (which we have done lots since we came back) we can relate to it much more, it’s not a random beach name, it’s somewhere we have walked and seen.  It’s not just a nation helping out and a number of people killed, it’s the field with thousands of crosses in it with individuals named.

I think I’ll be reflecting on this trip for some time to come.

More rain and the best beach so far!

When we arrived in Normandy I kept seeing lots of joke souvenirs about the weather.  Mugs and t-shirts with people in rain jackets and umbrellas with witty french sayings that I can’t quite remember.  After about a week in Normandy I understood.  It rained a lot!

It might not seem apparent from the pics I’ve posted, but we had to dodge the rain so many times!  That is one of the best things about motorhome travel though, you can stay inside in comfort waiting for that break in the rain.  Some days it doesn’t come though and you just have to go out and brave the elements!

We headed over to the west side of Normandy, away from the D-day beaches to explore round there.  Our first stop there was a wash out, completely, but the second stop was just perfect.  The worst thing about it was that you could only stay for 24 hours.  I could see why.

It was a village called Sciotot and the beach was a surfing beach.

When we travelled in 2013 with the van I expected to find my perfect beach.  I like nature, I like to walk for ages along it, I like to hear the waves, I hate over commercialised beaches.  I had to be able to imagine myself walking a dog there with hardly anyone else around.  We didn’t really find anything that felt right really and I was surprised at that.

This one really hit the spot though.

It felt like we’d hit upon a gorgeous secluded beach in Cornwall, it just reminded me of that kind of place, but with some french characteristics!  There was hardly anything there except a huge expanse of sand.  It was just stunning.

It was rainy when we arrived, but it cleared later on and it was just perfect for walking along, climbing over rocks and listening to those waves crash.

High tide and sunset seemed to coincide so spent ages there trying to get good shots on our camera while the kids threw stones (kept them quiet for *ever*!) .  James tried to take a selfie with the sunset, but the sun wasn’t right and he got me instead!!  ;)

Just beautiful.  I probably shouldn’t have told you where it was ;)