With the New Year not far off, I've been thinking about where to go next year. It's going to be yet another year in which I'll have to think carefully about what I can afford to do. (Will there ever be a year in which I can plan holidays exactly as I please?) Still, the outlook is far from gloomy! It still looks like 65 nights away. But concentrated into three longish trips.
The first will take place in March and April, before Easter itself. That'll be a West Country Tour. West Dorset and North Devon as usual, plus Somerset, but this time Cornwall also. I want to go back to the Carnon Downs site between Truro and Falmouth, which I found to be such a good place to see Mid and West Cornwall from in 2010, when I last took the caravan to the county. It'll be very early-season, but that'll also mean the crowds of holidaymakers will be absent, and parking easy. That suits me!
The second will take place in June. It will be my Scottish Holiday, taking in Northern England on the way up and the way back. I want to see my friends in Fife and elsewhere. I won't go as far north as last time, nor down to the south-west, but I might well look at the Firth of Clyde (a boat trip to Rothesay, perhaps?) and the Dumfries area. In England: Northumberland on the way north; the western Lake District and the Peak District on the way south.
The third trip will be the usual North Devon thing in late September/early October, when the Appledore Book Festival is on, plus Newport in South Wales.
Besides these three major trips, I will also try to fit in a few days elsewhere, if the cost hasn't become an issue. I'd like to revisit Lincolnshire (Lincoln and the Wolds), west Norfolk, the Suffolk coast, northern and north-eastern Essex, and the New Forest. And there are always the Cotswolds.
It amuses me when people assume that a 'holiday' must automatically mean a 'holiday abroad'. I haven't holidayed abroad for some time.
The last time I went into a travel agent's shop - it was Trailfinders in Brighton - was to put together the flights, campervan hire, and stopover hotel accommodation for the two-month New Zealand holiday M--- and I had in early 2007. Everything else about that holiday was going to be completely winged, although we had of course done some research concerning what to see and where to go, and what our road route might be in both islands in order to best connect these points of interest. I booked the inter-island ferries only once I was in NZ, while staying with my step-daughter and her husband, who lived south of Auckland. (We stayed with them at the start and end of the NZ part of our trip)
Apart from that blockbuster round-the-world trip in 2007 - which included time in Los Angeles and Hong Kong - what can I claim? My forays beyond the shores of Blighty have been few. Package holidays in Majorca with Mum and Dad in 1971 and 1972. A weekend in Jersey with them in 1974. The French gîte holidays with M--- in 1995 and 2000. A few days in Jersey with her in 1999. Our caravan trip to France in 2002. That western Mediterranean cruise with Dad in 2009. My week in Guernsey in 2010.
In Europe I've seen Lisbon, Gibraltar, Rome, Florence, and Barcelona. I've never seen Paris, nor any other European capital city. I think this has severely limited my experience of the wider world. And yet I feel no great urge to rectify this. Partly because travel abroad does not look safe. Partly because travel abroad involves a lot of hassle. Partly because it's all so expensive. And partly because my caravan holidays around the UK have shown me that there is so much to see and experience in this country.
If I were deprived of my caravan, but could use the money freshly available on other kinds of holiday, would I immediately book a series of foreign holidays, despite that seeming a hard-work option? Impossible to say. I might try some city visits to Paris (naturally), Madrid, Venice, Vienna, Prague, Berlin, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo and Reykjavik. Beyond that, a week in the USA - in New England, not Florida. The trouble is, I am not fond of flying, whatever the distance. And because of that, Tenby is as likely to be my destination as Turin. Bottom line: I'd prefer to drive there in Fiona, and potter around on my own terms. Which succinctly explains why I love my caravan.