My teachers would always tell me not to talk back but I always did.
Just like recently when The Scary One reminded me that I’d been away 10 times this year…
I reminded her that it was actually 11 if you count my trip up to Northern Ireland for the Open Golf Championship.
Which I definitely do.
For all the trips I’ve had it has been an exceptional year after I struck out on my own after 30 years as a wage slave.
And while every one of the destinations boasted a beautiful vista or historical site or activity they all shared one thing in common.
Unforgettable people… and animals!
Because it really is faces, not places, that make a holiday for me.
So if you want sunsets and sand, pools and paella then I’d suggest another site.
Or gated community (or asylum)!
So where do I start? Lost (again) in a national park in the Eastern Cape of South Africa… http://www.southafrica.net and http://www.southafrica.net/meetyoursouthafrica.
With local guide Alan who knows the land like the back of his hand.
Only it can’t be this land as we discovered going around in circles and only arriving back in our Port Elizabeth hotel at midnight.
After the bar had closed… never a good look for an Irish party!
Ian had more of a handle on things when he took us out on safari.
And helped us track down a leopard!
And all the time the ever-patient and always T-shirted Siseko kept us on track all across the Eastern Cape.
Our English host Rachel added smiles and youth to an old man’s photographs.
And Xhanti put on a braai (or barbecue) for us in the biggest township in South Africa… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/day-in-the-life-of-a-township/
While telling us stories from the armed conflict when he used to hide under the bed from the authorities.
When he wasn’t locked up in a prison cell.
Where the guards would give prisoners a Bible for redemption.
Only the Good Book is replete with stories of how the oppressed will rise up.
Good planning there!
Of course there’s always one on every trip.
And as my good friend and doyen of the Travel circuit Eoghan Corry says: ‘if you don’t know who that is: it’s probably you.’
You see I wasn’t being woke enough for my thirtysomething Itish colleague about something or other.
Hey ho, it wouldn’t be the last person I’d fall out with over the year.
Still we made up by the end of the evening and back in Dublin we met at a function and it was air kisses all round.
MEET YOU ON THE ROAD