Summer travels.....creating great memories

In a little over a week, me and my boys will be flying out to spend 6 weeks in Spain.  After reading another school report card that showed a lot of struggle with Spanish, I had the bright idea of "Wouldn't it be a great experience for the kids (and us) to live in Spain for the summer."  Wanting to live like locals, and not to mention it being a lot cheaper, I arranged to exchange houses with some families in different parts of Spain.  When I made the plans 6 months ago it all sounded ever so fabulous, but now as my head is spinning with all the planning and prepping, I'm beginning to think what the heck was I thinking???

Over 25 years ago when I was in my second year at art college, my 3 girlfriends and I decided to live in France for 6 weeks during the summer semester.  At that time, packing up was dumping my few belongings at my Mum's house, throwing a couple of bikinis in a back pack and catching a train.  We didn't even know where we were heading, where we'd sleep, we had barely enough money to last a week and I was the designated interpretor, using my meager skills from 4 years of shirking my French vocabulary at school.  

All we cared about was getting away from the dreary UK climate and having fun. After a few days of traveling through France, we set up our temporary home in a tiny wee town in the Southern coast, where we somehow managed to buy a second hand tent and fell into some jobs.  There was no picking grapes or waitressing for me, I ended up earning my Francs as "La Femme Serpent" -  working with a couple of pythons in a traveling fairground that had set up in town for the summer.  So desperate was I to be a bronzed beach bum and not return home to yet another rainy Scottish summer, I deeply buried my terror of snakes (and drank quite a few glasses of the local vino on my first few nights on the job).  Naivety is a marvelous thing sometimes!

Me trying to be a very mysterious snake charmer
Wearing some of the earrings I made and
was selling on the beach
This was Frederic, one of the two pythons I worked with

Beach bums in our tent.  Yes that's me with the very big 80's hair
So as I find my head in a whirlwind, stressing about buying train tickets from one city to another, organizing tennis camps for my kids, who'll water my garden when I'm gone, how much sun block should I bring, the list goes on and on......, I want to remind myself of my summer in France.  I had the most fabulous time, met some amazing interesting people, my French truly did improve and we made a lot of mistakes too, but all in all it was a tremendous life experience.  Traveling is a great adventure, it's not as simple traveling now as it was for me then, but it has enriched my life in such a valuable way, as I hope it will my children.   So with all this in mind, I'm going to try and chill out as much as I can in this coming week and know that I don't have to plan everything perfectly.   I'm sure we'll make a lot of mistakes, but that's all part of the journey, and ultimately I know we'll create a lot of great memories, 

So stay tuned, I've got my instagram all set up and raring to go.

Happy Summer and happy travels to you all!