One month off travel and city breaks — adventures at home

Usually we manage to get away for a quick city break or Europe adventure every month. That’s normally one (two if we’re lucky!) night(s) maximum, typically with a 6am flight out of London, and an 11pm arrival back home leaving us absolutely exhausted but feeling achieved of inspiration and adventure and wanderlust.

Recently we had quite a big trip coming up (visiting my husband’s family back in America) — by a big trip I mean we’re away for a week (yknow, most people’s ‘normal’ holiday time frame…) and the flights cost in excess of £120 each (a fair bit more than that, actually…). I’d determine that a big trip.

And so between the end of April to the end of May, we decided to stay completely home based (even though I was still almost daily trawling Ryanair finding impeccable deals that I’ve been longing to book — I resisted).

Sometimes it’s really great to just touch base and stay grounded. It’s allowed me to catch up with important things at work that I’ve been delaying. I’ve been focusing more on the next step in my career — becoming a Personal Trainer. It’s allowed me mentally to calm down a bit too and I’ve actually had a bit more time to chill out and relax before embarking on the next adventure.

So what have I done during our time spent at home? I wish I could say it’s been more productive than it has, but here’s some things we’ve got around to doing in our time gained:

walkies.

I took the dog to the beach. This sounds like a really simple thing, but to us it was pretty significant. This doesn’t happen very often as we’re about an hour and a half’s drive away from the nearest beach so usually have to find ourselves with a whole free day to make the most of it, but is something we mean to do pretty regularly because our pooch adores the sea. I went to visit my mum in Clacton, who’s now back from her 6 month jaunt to Spain, and we took her dog and my dog down to the promenade and let them have a good splash around (and so killing two birds with one stone — tick for seeing mum, tick for dog having a great day).

ldn.

Went to London for the night. Something we soo rarely do. Despite its proximity (the centre is less than two hours’ drive away — though we’d NEVER drive to the centre, too busy), we still rarely get there. Unfortunately London is such a costly place to go visit for us, just the train fare alone is £70/80 each as we have to change multiple trains and then purchase travelcards for getting around London. Hotels are expensive but we had a wonderful stay at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel (yes in hindsight we could’ve opted to stay in a much cheaper place, but in lieu of not travelling this month we decided to splash out a bit), ate amazing food and drank awesome cocktails at a restaurant nearby our hotel called German Gymnasium, and spent a whole day just wandering and exploring (thankfully ‘wandering’ is still a free hobby!). We stumbled across a film set, saw the amazing Leadenhall Market totally empty, had gelato at China Town and caught glimpses of growing #WisteriaHysteria around Kensington. It was a good day. Since we have such an epic city on our doorstep, we really should make an effort to visit more often.

family time.

I visited my nan several times. My nan also lives in Clacton, which is a bit of a trek but I try and visit as much as I can. Unfortunately going away lots means this falls behind and I always feel incredibly guilty about that, so this has given me a good opportunity to spend some family time with her. Last time I saw her we had fish and chips in the sunny Clacton weather in her back garden and caught up on some board games and card games. My nan is the most special lady in my life and I love spending time with her.

checked out new(ish) restaurants.

We ate dinner for the first time at Urban Jungle. So, an hour east from us is a small town called Beccles, which is home to the Suffolk edition of Urban Jungle — an absolutely cracking little garden centre café that serves the most wonderful brunches and speciality teas — and the café is choc-a-bloc full of plants, trees and all sorts of greenery that make it so incredibly special. You can literally hide in a corner with coffee and not be seen by anyone through the branches. We’ve eaten brekkie/lunch here several times but they recently started doing dinners. We ordered lots of platters of Mediterranean cuisine including lamb shawarma, homemade hummus, charcuterie and fat juicy olives and and it was AMAZING. When we go away a lot, food is always high on the agenda and I always try and seek out the best places for some local cuisine, but sometimes we forget there are some amazing places almost on our doorstep that deserve our interest too.

career stuff.

I started studying to become a Fitness Instructor back in February. This involved weekends of practicals in the Cambridge David Lloyd gym, a physical assessment whereby I had to instruct a ‘client’, and a bunch of coursework. As at 18 May, my coursework has finally been signed off — I am just waiting for the go-ahead from Head Office of my training institute and then I’ll be a qualified Fitness Instructor! The next step is becoming a Personal Trainer, and I have just finished my four day practical for that followed by the assessment.

The assessment was pretty manic. The original dates offered to us near my hometown where during our America trip. I wanted to get a date picked soon, so I had the choice of Bristol (soo far) or Newcastle (even further!). So, early on a Wednesday morning we found ourselves driving to Bristol to the Nuffield Health centre for me to do my PT assessment. Our holiday suitcases were already packed in the boot. I passed with flying colours (though failed on some coursework but that’s manageable), then we went straight to Gatwick to stay at the tiny Bloc hotel within the terminal (guys I cannot tell you how super easy it is to wake up and already be in the airport terminal 🙄).

I still have a bunch of coursework to do for this qualification, but I seriously hope to get everything sent over (somehow!!) before the end of June. Then I can chill and relax throughout summer and hopefully be fully qualified by end of August.

fitness.

As we tend to go away so much, sometimes our fitness and health does fall on the wayside (which is terrible I know — I’m training to be a PT, so I should be the total picture of health and exercise!). Flights, hotels, car journeys etc often mean I snack on bad things, we pick up unhealthy meals at restaurants or else just eat picnicky food like pastries constantly instead of eating proper meals because we’re trying to keep things cheap. Whilst we’re away we never work out because we want to be out exploring, not being inside a windowless gym, plus, I only ever take carry-on, so I never have the space to take workout wear with me. This month I’ve really been more dedicated to getting down the gym to lift weights and I’ve even gone running several times. I’ve also made an effort to make pack lunches, like salads/pasta etc, which is always more healthier and cost-effective than when we have to buy our lunches at work (particularly for the husband, as he always ends up getting burgers/fries/BBQed meat). I’m proud of my fitness and health goals this month and need to work harder to achieve them going forward. Has anyone got any tips on maintaining fitness and health whilst travelling?

Whilst I’ve missed the thrill of researching and prepping for trips, I’ve been very grateful to have this ‘down time’ before things get crazy again. It’s even given me more time to catch up on sleep!

Is there anyone else here who travels all the time and is just so grateful to go back home, even if it’s just for a month? Post in the comments what you get up to when you have some time at home!

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