I have always loved travelling and the thrill of discovering the unknown. I backpacked around India and Thailand for six months, writing a column for my local newspaper. I slept in cockroach-infested hostels and rundown palaces, rode a camel through a Rajasthani desert and boated down the backwaters of Kerala.
At university I spent a year in Paris where I discovered, with the luxury of living there, that you don’t need to rush around from sight to sight to get to know a place. Sometimes you can discover more about an area by acting more like a local, less like a tourist – walking the streets, sitting in cafés and having a picnic in the park.
On the travel desk of the Daily and Sunday Telegraph I wrote a weekly hotel column and interviewed celebrities about their travels and packing dilemmas. I wrote numerous city guides and travelled constantly – diving in Zanzibar, snowboarding in Canada, walking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and ice fishing in Norway. I used to love getting on a plane, arriving in a town I’d never been to before and spending a couple of days walking its streets and visiting its sights until it became familiar.
Life now I’ve got two children isn’t nearly so glamorous but that hasn’t stopped me travelling. Nor should it. As a family we’ve been to Brazil, Bali, Egypt, New York, Morocco, most of Europe and all over the UK. The boys love their adventures, whether it’s snorkelling over a coral reef in the Indian Ocean, watching snake charmers in Marrakesh, building a sandcastle on the beach in Crete or watching a jousting match at Hever Castle.
Family travel is not just about a summer holiday on the beach. It’s about walking a stretch of the South West Coastal Path with the dog. It’s about eating fish and chips on a rainy beach in Suffolk or dressing up as a knight at Dover Castle. It’s about seeing the Van Goghs in The National Gallery or watching a flamenco show in Seville. But most of all it’s about having fun and discovering something new.
Suitcases and Sandcastles is here to inspire and entertain you. I’ll be telling you about all the places we’ve been – the good and the bad bits – and sharing my tips for stress-free family holidays. I’ll be coming up with ideas for great trips whether you’re looking for a safari in Botswana, a beach holiday in Greece, want to know the most child-friendly museums in Paris or fancy a day out in a UK castle.
I’ll also be writing about books. Books to take on holiday for both the kids and the grown-ups. Books that take you travelling even when you’re stuck at home and books to get your children excited about reading. Stay awhile. I hope you enjoy it.
If you’d like to contact me, my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org