I really am one of the luckiest people I know because not only do I meet wonderful, like-minded people who become friends, if only via the email machine, but I get to travel to places that I may not have chosen to go to if left to my own devices. Without exception, when I land up in these places I have gone there with no expectations whatsoever and it is those trips that end up being the best surprises.
It happens every time, but the one that does stand out in my mind is the cruise down the Mekong that I did with Inspirations Magazine in late-2014. Cambodia and Vietnam had not ever been in my mind as somewhere that I would like to visit one day. Yes, I was probably curious about what had happened there because at the time of both countries’ upheavals I was either in my late teens or a young mother with new babies, not really interested in the rest of the world. I was also not aware that there was much to see, from a ‘sights’ point of view, so it was not on my radar when Fiona and Susan invited me to teach on their first cruise down the Mekong. I said that, of course, I would go and in a sense, left it at that. I was, anyway, having a very busy year and it was just another place that I needed to get to in 2014.
I flew out of Johannesburg, having heaved a sigh of relief because I’d managed to get myself and my passport onto the plane in time, and promptly fell asleep. Not the demeanour of a terribly excited person.
And what a surprise was in store for me. From the moment we landed in Siem Reap in Cambodia, to the time we flew out of Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh City, at the end of our cruise it made for an experience that I will always cherish.
From fabulous hotels, to ancient temples, colourful markets, floating villages, interesting and unusual smells, great service on a five-star boat and the fabulous South East Asian people, it never stopped. Our fellow cruisers were out for the same experience along with learning some embroidery from Susan and myself. My experience of teaching on that cruise was very special because we had so much time to, not only get to know our students but, also, to really teach each technique more properly than we might otherwise have been able to do at, say, a convention where time is usually a bit limited. You can add to that the fact that for Fiona and Susan, nothing was too much trouble. If someone needed to know something they found the answer. They provided care beyond the call of duty for every single person, not to mention their sparkling company and wit.
So, when Laura emailed me from Inspirations to ask me if I would consider teaching on another Mekong Cruise, I did not hesitate. I can certainly do all of that again. In fact, yes, I’m first in the queue.
It’s all happening from the 15th to the 22nd of May and all I really want to say is that if you are thinking that it may be something that you might possibly do, don’t hesitate. Do it.
It doesn’t matter if, like me, you are a frequent and jaded traveler that has been to a lot of different places. Or if you are someone that has not, in the past, ventured too far from home. It will be an experience that you have never had before and will treasure forever. I also think that, in today’s world, it is one of the parts of the world that is safe to travel to. We’ve all, inevitably, become a little nervous in the light of various recent and present threats to travelers, but I have to say that I have absolutely no qualms about this trip. Nice people, well organised and as safe an adventure as you can expect to have.
Have a look at this and this, then go to the cruise website. After which, get hold of Laura by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can, of course, book on the website too, but I am sure Laura will be quite happy to receive your person emails.
So, all that’s left to say on the subject, is I look forward to meeting you. We’re going to have a fabulous time.
Quickly before I close, I have a small announcement as under.
BLOMKAMP: Neville and Brenda are delighted to announce the birth of Colin, Roger, Frank, Norman, Shirley, Maureen, Audrey, Janet and Linda by Caesarean Section at 6 pm on Wednesday 24th February. Mother and babies well, father confused and grandmother running around with bottles of puppy formula.