I don’t know about you and your travel companion, but John and I have different expectations of a holiday. He is an adventurer, happy to rough it, excited about going to inaccessible places. Me, I’ll do any adventure you like as long as there’s a reasonable degree of comfort. Don’t offer me a basic hotel with a shared loo – I’m just not up for it. At this age, I’m travelling in more style and if I can have the odd night in the likes of the Taj Mahal Palace I’ll be happy.
Question – is it holiday or is it work?
John loves working in different countries. I understand why – we have such a different experience. We spend time with local people, see what life’s really like, eat real food, step out of the tourist bubble and it’s fascinating.
Like when we visited China recently to run a workshop. We flew to Beijing to meet our hosts, then took the bullet train with them to Nanjing to work for five days.
And our trip to Singapore recently – another workshop – where we spent each evening with our Singapore / Aussie host visiting some very different and interesting restaurants. Not to mention developing a taste for Singapore Slings. That one put us in close proximity to Borneo, so we flew off to see the Orang-utans and Pigmy Elephants before going home.
So John’s right – it does make a refreshing difference to step out of tourist mode. It also adds another layer of complexity to princess packing – deciding on comfy clothes for a hot, sticky holiday, as well as the smart clothes, shoes, jewellery for work. And you know what I’m like with packing – I can faff with the best.
Which brings me to this present round of decisions. We’re off to run a coach training programme for Women Lead in Kathmandu. Because the course requires two breaks between sessions, we are also returning to Bhutan for some peace, renewal and meditation, then visiting Jaipur to get a shot of hustle and bustle.
So off we go again – which hotel, how much trekking, how Judith friendly will the food be (gluten and lactose allergic), will we need / want guides…………..
It’s all a matter of compromise.
If we can’t find a reasonable hotel, I’ll manage as long as it’s followed pretty fast by somewhere decent. I must have my pillow with silk pillowcase (well, I did say I was a princess!) and plenty of pashminas in case evenings get chilly – that’s non-negotiable. I’ll go for trekking within reason: after all, I did walk to the Tigers Nest Monastery last time we went to Bhutan – five hours of uphill ‘climbing’ to my mind, but I did it – at altitude too. And I’ll manage food – it’s no hardship to go without bread for a while and I can always take my packs of Gourmet Lentils to keep me going…..
After hours of scouring Trip Advisor for hotels in Bhutan, we’re nearly there. Of course, we’ve put off the discussion for too long, so we probably won’t get our first choice – but I have to accept that since it’ll probably my procrastination that made us late. And we do have some friends there to refer to.
Then there’s Jaipur.
Every morning we plan to make the call to Audley Travel to work out a plan and get them on the case, but the most I’ve done is watch the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel again to check out the city. That was great fun, but it really is getting late, so maybe I should stop writing about it and get on with doing it. Maybe… But then where do we both want to stay? Will a smart hotel answer his adventure needs and will his desire to rough feel safe and comfortable enough for me??????