May Play


Daisies – slightly better than the bluebells!

How seriously am I playing this month? I’m guessing aiming for a travel journalism scholarship takes a hobby to the next level, so that’s pretty serious. Just in case you haven’t been following my efforts, it’s organised by Lonely Planet and Nomad Travel Insurance, with all three winners (me and my two new best friends, of course) flying out to San Francisco on the 10th August for a four day writing workshop. Then off we go on our individual, personalised travels around North America for ten days, with a significant sum of money stashed in our backpacks. You can read my efforts at

Equal weight is given to your accompanying ‘pitch’ about why you should win, so for this I drew on my old copywriter skills from back in the day – I figured my USP (unique selling point) is being old (compared to all the youngsters out of uni who are bound to apply); so I decided to link this rather deftly to the essential need for decent travel insurance when my decrepit body (or wandering mind) do their worse.

The character limit is 1500, and you have to say why you should win and what it would mean to you if you did. This is my submission:

I am at that stage of life where the nest is emptying yet I yearn to cram in as much as possible whilst I am fit and enthusiastic about doing so. Since my eldest son headed ‘down under’ five years ago, I have felt empowered by his fearlessness and envious of his lifestyle. Visiting him has resulted in the most exciting travels of my life – New Zealand (twice – once for each island), Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong – plus other trips closer to home as the travel bug took hold. If only I could have my life again, throw all my earthly possessions into a backpack and see as much of the world as possible before it’s too late. This scholarship could make that happen.

Writing has always been something I’ve adored, whether in diaries as a small child or my blogs in more recent years. And people tell me I’m good at it. This talent, (which has plenty of room for development under the expert tutelage of John Vlahides), combined with a passion for photography (see Debbie R’s portfolio on National Geographic Your Shot), skills with modern technology, plus the long holidays of a primary school teacher eager to share her lifelong learning adventures back in class, could be targeted at a whole new audience for Lonely Planet. ‘Silver Surfers’. With time and money on their hands, and recently recognised as the biggest growing group of consumers in the UK, it’s a win for Nomad too.  

They’ll need that insurance.

Oh, any you have to be an experienced solo traveller too. Which is why my next blog will be about being Alone in Amsterdam

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