Tuesday, 7 October 2008


I was thinking after I'd read Queen Vixen's last post was there anything else that I wanted to do before I die. Not that I'm planning on dying for a long time mind, if I have any say in it at any rate!

This thought has obviously got stuck in my brain overnight cause in my semi awake dreams the words of the Marianne Faithful song have been doing overtime in my head. The lyrics from the Ballard of Lucy Jordan that go 'at the age of 37..... she'd never get to Paris in a sports car with the warm breeze in her hair',

I've never been to Paris, or for that matter any capitol city in Europe. It seems that some cities are places you go with a partner, such as Paris, and some you go with a gang of mates, Amsterdam, Madrid, Prague the most obvious ones.

This doesn't mean I haven't travelled. As a teenager I went with my parents to Minorca, Malta, Majorca, Corfu. In my 20s I had the most exotic holiday of my life so far, I went with my sister to Sri Lanka.

That was an amazing place to visit, we were there for three weeks. What we hadn't realised was, that is was as much of a honeymoon destination as it was!!! So there would be no one around late afternoon or much after dinner!

We had some astonishing experiences on this beautiful island, seeing the culture, visiting the Sacred Temple of Buddha's Tooth in the old capitol of Kandy. Going to see ruined temples and palaces. I even got to ride on an elephant.

One of the biggest memories though is how versatile the coconut was to the people of Sri Lanka, so coconut milk is used in tea and coffee.. ugh! and fries were cooked in coconut oil.... utterly disgusting! So sis and I spent quite a lot of time talking about food, and craving Mars bars, whilst we worked on our sun tans!

After getting married I went to sea for three months, my husband was an officer in the Merchant Navy. We slow steamed across the Atlantic, there was an oil crisis going on at the time, as was the Falklands War. And I went on a day trip to Canada when we got there! I had a wonderful day in St John's, Nova Scottia, buying magazines, wool, getting a haircut and having my first experience of buying an American Hamburger with the multitude of choices attached, like pickles, type of bread, mayo or whatever, which completely floored me as those sort of questions never happened in the UK.

During my marriage we only twice went away together that didn't include going to stay with his parents in Spain. Which was more visiting the in laws than beach hols!The first driving across Europe to Venice and all places in between, as we had to stay out of the country for three weeks as he'd been let off the ship early, and couldn't go home till a certain date for tax purposes. And the second spending 6 weeks in San Fransisco when he'd been assigned there for 6 months and me and the boys went for the whole of the summer. The last week of which involved the most amazing motor home on the planet and a drive down to Disneyland on the Pacific Highway. And started my love affair with America

In the last 10 years I've got stuck in enjoying the same places, mainly cause I visit friends. So many summers have been spent in Provence, till my friends moved back to Devon, as if they could escape me there!! And going to America, which means being based in Philly, and over the years going to all places drivable in a day.

So I have been to Boston; Baltimore; Washington DC, this included a visit round the White House, before 9/11 and it was closed to tourists;near Richmond Virginia this summer (what a fantastic visit that was!); and New York 3 times so far, the Empire State is a great place to go up late at night and see NY with all of it's buildings lit up across the city.

Going back to where I started, I don't really think there is anywhere else in the world that I have to see before I die, certainly there are places I will go back to, as often as I can afford, and more importantly am welcome! But no hankering desire.

All I really want is a big bag of gold to be able to continue going to the places where the people are I love, with just a little more money to be able to afford to go to Portmerion in Wales with the family once more, as that is the place of my dreams.

Note for Ron! this pic is the only one not taken by me, but by eldest son when he went sailing off the Greek coast!!


Mei Del said...

how lovely to have been to enough places to know where you're happiest going back again. i was thinking that one day i might like to visit the galapagos and brave the antarctic too.

~:*:*:Pixie:*:*:~ said...

Hmmm. I love London... LOVE it. Went to Paris and liked that... both with my Mom. She's the best traveling companion ever; we always have a ball.

Have you been to Coronado Island? Want to meet there and stay at the Hotel Del? Let's do it!!!!! That is my happiest place on Earth...

...mmmmmmmm... thank you for reminding me.



Mel said...

Oh, the places you've been....

And now you've got me thinking. Where is it I'd like to go?


In the warmer months, mind you.


Angela said...

What a really good question to ponder...I have always loved to travel and my husband has not. So there are still places which I haven`t seen, but the greatest wish I had (seeing America) was fulfilled to me, and generously. So would I like to go back and see the US again? Yes, but... It would be strange. If I could meet the same people I had met then, preferably with the same age - and me too, with my current wisdom, or us all older, but at least alive! And of course I DON`T want to see that the beautiful corn field where I used to sit and read my letters has turned into a used-car-selling place (as I was told), and the riding stable where my horse Flicka stood is not there anymore. See what I mean? So going back might be a great disappointment. Africa, of course, yes! Visit Val and my African family, sure thing! And I HOPE this will happen, too.
To Paris I have been, but don`t feel like returning, Copenhagen was nice, Mallorca yes, Taizé in France was interesting, the monastery...but also the Rhine, the Alpes, so many beautiful places to see. My trouble would be that I grow roots faster than I can look, and that makes travelling difficult. Haha, could continue on this subject for hours...

Sorrow said...

Now see this was to thought provoking..guess i am going to have to follow your lead and write a post about...things to do before i shrug off this mortal veil...
I am thinking however , that you have a wonderful travelers list!

Fire Byrd said...

mei, the antartic, that's an impressive ambition, too cold for me!

pix, where Coronado Island, book me in I'll be there.

mel, alaska another impressive place to want to go to, but what about bumping into Sarah Pallin, as surely she'll be back there then???

angela. great list of places. I agree going back can sometimes be such a let down.

sorrow, I was going to write about what I want to do, but it just turned into a travel log. And I think all I really want to do nowadays is live my life the best way I can with whatever gets thrown at me, rather than have unfulfilled ambitions.

ChrisH said...

Hmn, catching up with your posts it's sounds as if you've needed some travel, both real and virtual, to recover from everything that's been going on. Here's wishing you a windfall to take you to some of the places you dream of visiting.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you have seen a lot of places. There are many places I would like to go but I always like my homeland most.

CJ xx

Exmoorjane said...

Ah Portmeirion, just lovely. I love this post - makes me think of my favourite places (vast tracts of the US, Greece, Egypt, Ireland, SW France, Barcelona, vast tracts of the UK....) I would just love to go back to India properly (ie not on a package to Goa!) and I would love to see some of the big cities too - Prague, Berlin, Naples, Rome, Budapest, Istanbul etc eetc).....jxxxx

Fire Byrd said...

chris, I think having just got depressed by the news we all need a windfall now!

crystal, and me, I enjoy going places but I so like coming home again.

jane,lets hope you get to see the places you want some time soon.


elizabethm said...

This is so interesting. I love cities and have seen lots of great places (odd thing to say perhaps of someone now firmly tied to the rural life). I love New York, Paris, Berlin and Madrid. Had a great time in Budapest and liked Amsterdam and Barcelona. I have never been to any Scandinavian cities and would love to see Stockholm and have been told by my freakily cheerful American friend that copenhagen is full of astonishingly smiley people so the mind boggles.
I think I am getting a bit like you though in knowing where I want to go and not being fixated on travel for the sake of novelty. Provence would be on my list too.
Thanks for making me think about it!

Cait O'Connor said...

You have travelled widely. I haven't been to many countries and at the moment I am a bit of a home bird and it's good to travel in my armachair. Who knows, I may change in the future.
I haven't even been to Portmeirion yet! Shame on me.

Fire Byrd said...

elizabeth, you seem to have done loads even if you're now more comfortable at home. I'm off to New York again in November and I can't wait.

cait, there's nothing wrong with armchair travel, just think of the money your saving in todays economic climate!!! Portmerion is a very wonderful place, 'specially if you get to actually stay there rather than just do a day visit.


Walker said...

You have seen quite alot if you ask me.
I haven't been to to many places but i did get to go to New Zealand Australia, Brussels and Greece.
Hawaii is beautiful.
I'd love to see the world a little more Egypt if they would stop killing people and I have been invited to go to the UK for several years y people i let stay with me when they visit here ut i have yet the time to get there.

Its fun seeing how others live and living like even if its for a short period of time

Lori ann said...

hi fire byrd, i am coming over from val's. i've not had a chance to read more than this post, but i will be back!

this is a subject that is so interesting to me since i love to travel so much. and i'm like you, i love to go and then i love to come back home. i wonder if i would be the same person i am without the travel i've done in my life, i think it is the best way to know compassion.
thank you for sharing!

xx lori

nitebyrd said...

You're very well travelled! Should I come into a big pot of gold, I'll come over to share it with you. I'd like to see Scotland and the UK before I die.

Ronjazz said...

Then I was right...you do have quite the artistic eye. Another quality about you that makes me want to just sell everything and come find you! Women like you are so rare in my life, for some reason.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

What makes our journey through life special and memorable is not so much the places we visit as the people we see. I end up going to the same places now because of family but they are special to me for the memories they've given me.

Cormac Mac Art said...

I think you've covered quite a lot of group. Though I love all the city's I've visited in Europe, I think you might have done just as well to go elsewhere, off the beaten track. Someplace different from the rest of us.

Strangely, about the only city I like in the USA - for all its size! - is New York. Every other city seemed to be dull carbon copys of each other.

My own plans include ANYWHERE warm! I'm from Ireland, and we get too much feckin' bad wet weather! Especially in summer!

Fire Byrd said...

well let me know when you've booked your ticket Walker and I'll book you in to my spare bed.

lori-ann, lovely to meet you, thank you for visiting, and getting home was as enjoyable as ever for you!!

nitebyrd, I'll do the same for you then if I get a pot of gold!

ron, you let me know when you've booked your ticket and I'll just move over in the bed!

wake up you're so right, it's all to do with the people nowadays.

cormac well when you get to that warm place send a postcard to all of us starting to freeze our bits off here.


~:*:*:Pixie:*:*:~ said...

Let's go.


<3 + <3 = <3

This is funny! My word verification is okwrdo... is that 'ok, weirdo'?


~:*:*:Pixie:*:*:~ said...




Fire Byrd said...

~*~*pix~*~* what a hotel! I'll start buying lottery tickets now! $380 for cheapest deal, $1200 for the zoo and sea world.But hey I've been to both of those already in San Diego, so that will save some money!!
I wish~~*~*
Instead I'll go out for lunch with a mate to a pretty pub and dream.

Merkin said...

'All I really want is a big bag of gold to be . . . '

Life was filled with guns and war,

And everyone got trampled on the floor,

I wish we'd all been ready

Children died, the days grew cold,

A piece of bread could buy a bag of gold,

Hiyah, FireyOne loved the photos and wish I could get back to travellin' as well.

The lyrocs are from a song i used to sing during my 'churchy' days thirty years ago - but are getting increasingly relevant.

see ya, M.o.P x

miss*R said...

have you ever thought of visiting Australia??
sometimes, when I read wish lists of places to visit.. I notice that Aus is not on the list and I wonder why. Is it because it is too far, too hot ...

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