Anticipation is all part of the fun of travelling

It’s Christmas Eve. Summer holidays have started here in Australia and after a week of damaging thunderstorms, the weather has finally caught up with us, giving us a balmy 34 degree day, causing my feet to burn as I race barefoot to the letterbox to see if my last-minute Christmas orders have arrived. I’m looking forward to Christmas Day, and have been singing along to carols all day as I’ve cleaned and cooked in preparation for our Christmas celebrations.

My globe Christmas decoration
My globe Christmas decoration, bought in 2014 from an Oliver Bonas store when I was staying in London.

For me, most of the fun of Christmas is in the lead-up to the day – the anticipation and planning that goes in to it. Christmastime in South Australia generally begins with the Christmas Pageant in early November, and slowly builds as light displays pop up around the neighbourhood, each council holds its own outdoor Christmas carol sing-along, and our social calendars start getting crowded with end-of-year parties. When December hits, and the end of the year is in sight, planning goes into turbo mode. Shops stay open longer for frazzled present-hunters and last-minute grocery runs, all culminating with the ultimate pay-off: an enjoyable and (mostly) relaxing Christmas Day with friends and family.

Just like Christmas, anticipating and planning for trips is all part of the fun of travelling.

With travel, you decide where you want to go, book your tickets, and find yourself daydreaming about strolling down streets lined with beautiful eighteenth-century buildings and stopping along the way for a drink at a local cafe.

You research, asking friends, family and the Internet for suggestions on what to see and do, adding more detail to your vision with each new piece of information, until you can smell that cafe au lait and can picture standing at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower as it sparkles in its hourly light show. You feel the swirl of butterflies in your chest as you look forward to the day when you are actually standing there.

There are websites that will forecast the temperature of your destination on the dates you are going, even though it’s four months away. Beach weather sounds glorious when the sky is overcast and raining outside your window. A white Christmas is a fascinating alternative to a scorching 40 degree Celsius Christmas Day. You make a list of books and movies to download to keep you busy on long-haul flights. You go and buy them. You start to plan what you will pack, and what you need to buy. Buying off-season clothes feels like a scavenger hunt, especially when you’ve left it to the last minute, but you’re determined to win.

By the time the day comes to leave on your trip, you’ve already imagined yourself on it a thousand times (hopefully they all turned out well, and weren’t worst-case scenarios), but the best part is yet to come – you still have your whole trip ahead of you.


Why I’ve Become a Member of the National Trust

Why I've become a member of the National Trust
Why I’ve Become a Member of the National Trust

A letter arrived for me last Thursday, welcoming me on becoming a member of the National Trust. For the past two years I had been going over the pros and cons of the membership, wondering whether I’d have a chance to actually use it. Finally, last Sunday, I decided to sign up.

The National Trust is an organisation dedicated to the conservation of historical buildings and objects as well as areas of natural beauty. Becoming a member of the National Trust gives you free or discounted entry to a number of historically and culturally significant sites not only within Australia but throughout the world.

So why did I wait to join the National Trust until after I came back from a trip to the UK? Before I left on my holiday, I knew that an Australian membership would give me discounts to National Trust properties in the UK. I could have saved myself several pounds in entry fees to Gladstone’s Land in Edinburgh, the Glenfinnan Monument in the Scottish Highlands, and Aberconwy House in Wales. But the truth was I wasn’t sure that I would get my money’s worth out of the $211 National Trust membership ($176 for a three year individual membership plus a $35 joining fee). I might have saved some money during my trips overseas, but when I returned to Australia and fell back in to my daily non-travelling routine, would I make an effort to visit the nearby properties managed by the National Trust in order to outweigh the membership cost?

Then I realised – does it really matter whether I get my money’s worth out of the membership? Shouldn’t it be enough to me that I’ve made a contribution towards the conservation and promotion of a part of my country’s history? Shouldn’t it be enough that my membership supports two of my greatest interests: history and period architecture?

Yes, I decided. Rather than worry about getting the most out of my National Trust membership that I can, I should concentrate on the positive effect it will have towards continuing to conserve our history for future generations. It’s part of what makes me want to travel. It’s part of what made me want to start this blog.

Interested in becoming a National Trust member? Find out more about the work the National Trust does and the locations they protect: