“I’m bored with Europe,” she said, “I want to go somewhere different.” If my wife had possessed the slightest inkling of how events were to unfold, she might not have offered me the license she did to come up with such an unusual destination.
We had been set on a trip to Egypt, but the terrorist attack in Tunisia had shaken our confidence in dipping our holiday toes into any predominantly Muslim country. Greece then? – Hmm… not with their economic situation. Italy? – Not much better. France? – Too French. Germany? Seriously? Who goes on holiday to Germany? No!
Everyone and his dog seemed to be heading to Spain, but we had done Spain too many times and its allure had grown stale. Glorious sunshine and beautiful beaches were what was required but where would we get those without busting the bank?
Dubai seemed to tick most of the boxes but seemed to me to be just a bit too polished and a little too perfect. The truth is, that as I race toward my half century I realize that I still have a yearning for a few more adventures before I settle for the pampered cruise ships and the saga lifestyle.
Not that my family hasn’t had an adventure or too between us: Robbed in Spain, held under armed guard at Miami airport, almost deported the moment I set foot in Ecuador one year, locked up in a Gambian prison, to say nothing of the missed planes and races against the clock to get visas, passports and connecting flights. Yep, holidays are rarely a straightforward business in our family.
“How about Vietnam? It’s nice and hot and quite reasonable.” I offered as I eyed the great deals on the flights to Ho Chi Minh City.
“Is it safe?” Loly asked suspiciously, “I was thinking more like Thailand.”
We crunched the numbers for Thailand and dismay set in as we realised just how expensive it would be. We scoured the internet, scrolling through package deals and comparing flight only offers and soon realised that flying out of London was adding a hefty premium to our holiday budget.
If we were going to afford an exotic location we needed to be more flexible in how we got there. Over the next week the price of flights to Vietnam went up by eight hundred pounds so I began casting my net around other exotic locations. To my great surprise, one of the cheapest locations in the East was one of my bucket list destinations – The paradise island of Sri Lanka.
I began researching the various attractions around the island together with the political climate, the weather and beaches. I was quickly hooked. I built an itinerary for a seventeen night holiday to include beach time and jungle temples and when Loly was still 50-50 I played my trump card – I had included her life-long dream of going on safari.
She was sold. Tickets were booked, suncream was purchased, jabs were arranged. The countdown had begun – in just three short weeks we would be heading for Sri Lanka!