I do not like to waste annual leave sitting around doing nothing. It just so happens that I have a spare six days this year without the boy. Louis has a fortnight long October half term and I thought he'd be with me for one of the weeks. But instead the lucky lad is off for a midweek-midweek trip to the Big Apple with his dad. So that gives me some rare time off all without a kid in tow. Now I'm a creature who swings widely between party animal and hermit. On this occasion I fancied using the opportunity to go off alone.
I contemplated a week of navel gazing in Klaus the Knaus, my motorhome in Cornwall, a kind of mini retreat with a bottle or two of wine and a large pile of books. But then the low cost of our flights to Lisbon in February half term got me thinking. Surely I might be able to go somewhere for less than the cost of a train journey to London if I did my research properly? Unfortunately Spain is out at the moment. Boycotting the country is my way of protesting about heavy handed action taken by the authorities in Catalonia. In my book democracy doesn't involve representatives of the government beating up people when they're going to vote even if the election isn't unofficially recognised. That ruled out Mallorca and my beloved Andalucia, both as cheap as chips to get to. I plugged my available dates into Skyscanner and came up with Malta, as an alternative, for just a tad over fifty pounds for return flights.
Now I am not flush at the moment. I'd also like the chance of meeting some other travellers and chillin' with them. So, even though I'm likely to be viewed as an old age pensioner by other guests, I've gone for a backpackers hostel rather than a proper grown up hotel. My compromise is that I've booked a single room and will take ear plugs. The prospect of sharing a mixed sex dorm with hipsters thirty years my junior was a step too far in the direction of economising. Having a T-shirt printed with 'I am not a cougar' on it has already been suggested.
This is my first experience of solo travelling without Klaus the Knaus. If you remember just me and him went away to Brittany together three years ago. I never did the gap year thing and I plan to be globetrotting around the world into my retirement. Any reticence is superimposed with a great big dose of excitement. I'm sure that I will have adventures!