As someone who loves travel and the opportunity to experience different destinations and their culture, history and traditions, it would be pretty difficult to name just one destination that I’d love to visit.
But that’s just what Mark Warner has asked its 2018 ambassador-wannabees to do. And this year, I’m putting myself forward as one of those wannabees!
However, the world is a huge place and, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a huge playground just waiting to be explored and relished.
I love adventure, activities, going off the beaten path, meeting the locals, discovering little-known places and making new friends.
We're not a ‘fly and flop' family; travel offers the opportunity to broaden our horizons, to self-educate and to be respectful of different ways of life.
You only have to look at some of our previous getaways for evidence of our yearning for fun and adventure. One of my favourite memories was a family holiday to South Africa when I snorkelled with sharks.
VIP and I also took the kids to a township on that getaway – to educate them about the world in which others live.
And although it was a very humbling experience, it was also a liberating one; the kids all played together despite the language barrier and I felt a rush of pride as I watched my two kids share their sweets with their new friends. Talk about making memories!
But rules are rules, so before I decide on the one destination I’d love to visit (I’m still weighing up my options as I write this!), let’s have a quick peek at my two favourite destinations of all time – at home and abroad.
A couple of years ago my favourite destination in the UK would probably have been Bath. I love its rustic charm, cobbled streets, quaint little shops and stunning architecture.
But then two years ago, VIP and I decided to take a detour to Wiltshire on our way home (to Kent) – and we ended up discovering Salisbury.
It might have been because the sun was shining, or it might even have been because I was in a positive, happy mood that day, but there and then I decided that I loved Salisbury more than any other place I’d been to in the UK.
It was such a pretty city, but felt more like a town than a city. For me, it was the epitome of what a classic English town should look (and feel) like.
Heck, I even started looking in estate agents’ windows to check out the house prices – that’s how keen I was!
And now, every time I hear someone telling me they’re heading south west, I’ll encourage them to stop off in Salisbury – even if it’s just for a couple of hours.
I know I’d jump at the chance to go back; thinking about it, we’ve got a few bank holidays coming up soon – perhaps I could convince the rest of the Wrights to revisit this year.
Turkey will always be special to me. Having a Turkish father meant that pretty much all of the summer school holiday as a child was spent playing on the beaches of the Black Sea.
My brother and I would return to school in September tanned to the max and our friends would assume we were mega rich as we’d been away for the whole summer, when in reality we’d just stayed with our relatives.
But in terms of holidaying in Turkey, you won’t find a friendlier and more hospitable nation than the Turks.
Their genuine warmth is something to be experienced and I’m really proud to say I’m half Turkish – even if I still only know a handful of words in the local lingo!
What also really warms me about the Turks is how much time they have for children. When mine were much younger total strangers would fuss over them, and make them feel welcome – even older children in Turkey are clearly brought up knowing family values and respect. It’s lovely to see.
And the other great news about Turkey is that Mark Warner has added it as a new destination for this year – even more reason to celebrate (and make plans to return!)
On the horizon…
So, where to next? Well, we’ve got a trip lined up to the Black Forest in Germany this year.
My son Luis is learning German at secondary school, so we thought if he is choosing it as one of his GCSEs, we’d help boost his confidence and put him in the thick of it – the things we do, eh?!
And it’s no secret that two experiences have remained unchecked on my bucket list for years now – a trip to the Caribbean and a cruise.
Trust me, I’ve attempted to tick one of them off, but having to resort to remortgaging isn’t on the priority list right now. Especially when my leaky bathroom basin is crying out to be fixed!
So…where else is on my (realistic) holiday radar? After careful consideration I’ve decided that the one place I’d really like to visit this year is…..
The land of Fire and Ice! Otherwise known as Iceland. I’ve always fancied the idea of taking a dip in the Blue Lagoon and marveling at the Geysir Hot Springs. Just saying the word Geysir (geezer!) has long amused me, so actually standing next to one of them would be pretty awesome.
But the one thing that I’ve longed to do in Iceland is to witness the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).
To watch the beautiful lights dance across the sky must be so awe-inspiring; I would imagine that I’d probably feel quite insignificant as I stood there taking in the spectacle.
And to witness one of life’s amazing natural phenomena would be a memory that I’d forever cherish – and that’s what happens on amazing holidays isn’t it? Creating wonderful memories.