#5 Go on lots of holidays with your friends

Me and your ma have become well-seasoned travellers over the years:  Japan, Los Angeles, Lanzarote and Newquay.  We’ve spread our wings far and wide.  There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get when you save up enough to pay for your first holiday, it’s wonderful.

Your mum deserves a medal for calmly handling my fear of flying over the years.  I’m much better now Lottie, I fly all the time, but I’d never set foot on a plane until I was eighteen, and let’s say it took me a few years to find my air legs.  I still find it an absolute miracle every time I fly, how do they do it?  Mind blowing.

I have been known to panic a little in the past.  Like the time we’d begun our descent in to Heathrow and it seemed to me that we were coming in to land too soon.  I’d been keeping a careful eye out of the window, you see, to make sure all was okay as we came in to the airport.  We were almost skirting the tops of houses, were but seconds away from landing and I couldn’t see the runway.  “THERE’S NO RUNWAY”  I screeched in warning to my fellow passengers.  “THERE’S NO RUNWAY!’ Do-doosch.  That was the sound of us hitting the runway.   I smiled helplessly at the bewildered and agitated stares in my direction.  “Oops, false alarm.  Still, better to be safe than sorry.”  I don’t think my fellow passengers saw the funny side.  You win some, you lose some.

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Lanzarote 2005

One of our best holidays was when Ju found us a bargain holiday to Lanzarote on the Teletext. (Remind me to put Teletext in the glossary for you.)  £265 for a one week, flights, accommodation and airport links included trip to Lanzarote.  All of our dreams had come true.  We had a wonderful week.  Cocktails, boat trips, swimming pools, we even jet skied!

I was a bit nervous about take-off on the flight home; the runway from Lanzarote Airport goes straight out to sea.  This should have been the least of my worries.  Nearing the end of the flight, we had just begun our descent in to Birmingham Airport, when the clouds turned an odd shade of yellow.  Then we hit some mighty turbulence and it felt as though we were nose-diving.  On and on, down and down we flew.  We began to turn.  I felt sick.  The plane was silent.  ‘This is it,’ I thought to myself.  ‘This is how I go.  On an Easy Jet flight from Lanzarote to Birmingham International after a bargain holiday to the Canaries.  Great.’  I closed my eyes, and hoped for the best.  Do-doosch.  That was the sound of us smoothly, gliding on to the runway.  The plane erupted in to a cheer of thanks to the pilot.  We would all live to see terminal 1 at Birmingham International once more.  No sooner had we stepped of the plane, our phones were bombarded with texts from friends and family.   ‘RU okay?  Tornado in Brum.’  That’s right, we had landed during a tornado and not any old tornado.  This was the strongest tornado recorded in the UK in 30 years, reaching speeds of 130mph, it ripped up more than 1000 trees and caused more than £40million worth of damage.  19 people were injured, but there were no fatalities.  This is the stuff that friendships are made of Lottie.   We had perilously hurtled through the skies of South Western Birmingham in a tiny Easy Jet plane as a tornado wreaked havoc across the city, and survived to tell the tale. And tell it we do!  It’s in my top ten list of favourite stories to tell.

So travel far and wide with your friends, create your own stories and find your own adventures.  And don’t be scared of flying.  It’s the safest way to travel, and hey, if we landed safely in a tornado then I figure the odds are that the folks down at the airport have got it covered!

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Disneyland California 2004

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