Something to look forward to

This January we have the most depressing day of the year to look forward to. The complex formula takes into account things like debt and weather and failure of new year’s resolutions and the mental health wizards have calculated that this year’s D-Day is 24th January.

This year we might also add into the calculations the huge (‘swingeing’ as we’re learning to call them) cuts to well, pretty much everything and the rise in VAT. We can’t even drown our sorrow on drink cos that’s gone up too.

 For those of us being made redundant we also have the worry of how we’re going to afford life without our jobs.

 I need something to look forward to. I get the same amount of holiday leave as anyone else at the council but because of working in education, I am not allowed to take term time holidays.

 My contract ends on Thursday, 31st March and state schools don’t break up for Easter until the following week so I’m looking to blow some of the redundancy payoff and go on holiday straight away. A holiday will give me something to look forward to otherwise I know I’ll be moping around the house feeling sorry for myself come April.

Citizen R driving across Ischia

 I quite fancy doing something like a road trip rather than sitting on a beach somewhere and this is where I need some help. Where can Mr. R and I go to get away from it all and where would readers recommend? I’m really stumped for ideas so all advice will be gratefully received. If you could tweet this too and ask your friends and colleagues that would also help. Thank you, lovely readers!

 Meanwhile, batten down the hatches for Monday 24th January and hey, let’s be careful out there.

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4 Responses to Something to look forward to

  1. Tim says:

    Going on holiday sounds like an excellent idea. When I was made redundant, I was lucky that we already had a 3-week holiday booked, but if we hadn’t we would have certainly done something anyway, as we had done a couple of years previously when I took a career break at the same time my wife had been made redundant.

    A couple of road trip suggestions for you. Depending on timing & budgets, I can thoroughly recommend the following road trips:

    1. West Coast USA. I think we did this in 23 days. Flew into San Francisco for a couple of nights, then hired a car, drove down the coastal highway (great views of Big Sur as you drive down, Hearst Castle etc) to LA (don’t spend much time there, unless you go to Disneyland), then across to the Grand Canyon via Palm Springs (Joshua Tree National Park) and Vegas (much more fun than I’d first imagined, also good for seeing the Hoover Dam en route), back to Vegas, up via Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park (my wife likes trees) to Yosemite, and finally back via gold prospecting country and the Napa/Sonoma Valley vineyards to San Fran. Oh, and I’ve forgotten Death Valley and Lake Tahoe along the way. Depending on timing and inclination, you can do as much or as little of this as you like, and if you want to expand the radius there is always San Diego to the south and Utah (Monument Valley etc) to the east. We loved this – we had a vague plan but no fixed itinerary, and just checked into motels as we went. One word of warning: some of the roads around the Grand Canyon and Yosemite may not be accessible until mid to late-April because of snowfalls, so if you’re going it’s probably best to aim for late rather than early April.

    2. New Zealand. Fly into either Auckland (North Island) or Christchurch (South Island) and work your way from one end of the country to the other, and fly home from the other city. Hire a car or a camper van – NZ is brilliant at catering for the latter – and go at your own pace. We spent 17 days in NZ and only really did the highlights – some people spend 3 months or more – but the driving is easy (gentle two-lane highways, very little traffic) and the scenery fantastically varied, from breath-taking coast-lines (e.g. whale-watching at Kaikoura) to volcanic mountains and some spectacular 1-4 day walks (I thoroughly recommend the Tongariro Crossing, which takes 4-7 hours and takes you right to the edge of the mountain that doubled for Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings films) to laid-back cities (Auckland is a biggish city with less hustle and bustle, Wellington is like Sydney but even more laid back, and Christchurch is, basically, Cambridge). Oh, and wine. Lots of great vineyards. (Spot the recurring theme.)

    Oh, and one alternative suggestion if you want to mix holidays without being away from the job-search for an extended period: city-breaks. When I was on my career break and we were both job-hunting, we planned one big holiday three months out, and then spent 4-5 days each in Rome, Madrid, New York and Milan in between, so that we were never more than three weeks away from travelling somewhere, and had plenty of time to job-hunt in between.

    Sorry, bit of a ramble, but I do love my travel! Feel free to give me a shout if you do want any tips – happy to share my good (and not so good) experiences, and I can always drop you an email.

    • citizenr says:

      Thanks, Tim. Funnily enough, we drove from LA to San Francisco a couple of years ago. A friend was getting married in Santa Barbara (believe me, this is as a glamorous as my life ever gets!) and it was amazing. We didn’t go inland though to Vegas etc although we did see the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon from the plane! We absolutely loved that trip. Great ideas and lots to think about.

  2. Karen Wise says:

    NZ is a great idea….we flew in to Christchurch, hired a campervan and travelled around for 3 weeks. In the South Island you can freedom camp – which means you can pretty much pitch your van anywhere and we did so in some amazing, desolate places. It’s coming to the end of their summer at this time of year – so be mindful of that.

    Somewhere a bit closer to home is Morocco. You can travel south from Marrakech over the mountains, into the Sahara and back up to Meknes and Fez. Chefchaouen is a lovely town towards the North, and I would recommend you go there too. In total, that’ll make a nice 3 week break and will be a lot cheaper. Again, check out the weather. We went in October when it was the end of the dry season. We didn’t get to see any of their amazing waterfalls as a result.

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