Photographer of Families, Small People and Delightful Places. Travel and Lifestyle Writer and Blogger. Lives in Newcastle, Loves the North, Often Accompanied By A Beagle Named Holly Bobbins

Monday, August 12, 2019

Why I'm going on holiday on my own...



Mandy Charlton and Holly Bobbins, end of term report, midlife crisis holiday

I guess today is the end of the year for me, well, the end of the summer term.  Tomorrow I leave for Tenerife, a week, on my own, I'm hoping to find out who I am again.  I'd wanted a holiday for ages, I'd have loved to have taken Looby but she refused on the grounds of wanting to be with the horses more than her old mum (in the nicest way, obviously).  I'd never push any of my children to do anything they don't want to do and she'll be fine, she'll be great!  Initially, she was going to stay at her dad's until he told her I would have to pay him £300 which she acknowledged was not okay so she's going to stay with Harriet and Holly Bobbins instead.  Thank God for a best friend who's been like a second mum (or dad, they do call her Bruce thanks to an old inside joke) to all of my kids.

It's hard when your children get older and more independent, when you have focused your entire existence around them and suddenly they don't need you anymore, it's a tough break.  It's my own fault, of course, I intentionally bred independent, forthright, confident feminists for daughters (and a feminist son too).  It's only right that they should be out there, with their own jobs, with their futures ahead of them being the bright shiny things that they are.  I haven't heard from Abigail in months but I'm sure she's still out there changing the world and one day I hope she sees through the destructive mind control, I can only hope that university gives her that distance that she needs to see the world more clearly.  Suffice to say, I still pay her phone bill every month and if she ever needs anything or anyone, I am there the second she asks.


NCS, Langhorn Community Garden, Mandy Charlton, Photographer


Last week I spent most of it with a group of teens from the NCS and the Newcastle United Foundation building a community garden practically right outside my front door, it was an unloved patch of overgrown weeds and I wanted to brighten the place not just for the bees and the butterflies but also for my own community so with the help of Newcastle City Council and Your Homes Newcastle we actually made it happen.  It's just really the start as my £90, the NCS put in £50 and the council's £60 did not make for the best budget but one of the beds is nearly finished and though it looks sparse, the flowers and plants will soon grow, if not this year then next.  It's proof that you can change things in the world, even if it's only on a small scale.  last week it brought out some of the children on our estate, they helped with the planting and some of the spadework and to me, that's proof that kids need to have things to do.  No one starts out bad or committing crimes, how we nurture kids from an early age really can shape their lives.  I hope that as we go through the years they'll help with planting seeds and generally care for the gardens that we've built.

Tenerife Here I Come


In choosing to go to Tenerife, I've chosen the canaries because they're gloriously sunny, perpetually springlike and safe for solo female travellers.  It's not the first time I've been overseas alone, back in 2016 I went on a cruise for solo travellers on assignment for Cruise International magazine, it was life-changing and I really found myself.  That one was a little different because I was staying somewhere aimed at singles where you could go out to dinner as a group every night.  In Tenerife, I will be completely on my own.  The main guests at the hotel I'm staying will be mainly Spanish or German, I barely speak a word of either language and I'm not really a chatty Cathy anyway!

It's weird though, the joy of solo travel is the choice to do whatever you want, when you want without judgement from anyone, it's kind of like my life in general where I've chosen to be on my own because the thought of being with anyone is imposing someone else's judgements on me and I can't ever do that again.  I can't even dare to think of being with someone without the fear of being controlled, in that sense, I am damaged to the end and I know there are people out there who wouldn't try to control me but it's too dangerous a chance to even try and take, especially as I fall for the same kind of people over and over.

I do hope to try and find myself again though, I literally have no idea who I am or who I want to be for this next stage in my life, I guess you could say it's a midlife crisis of confidence but I'm guessing every mum who has children who fledge from the next will at some time, feel exactly the way that I do right now.

There is one thing that I know though, if you are going to take the midlife crisis holiday, there's no better place to do it than somewhere in the sunshine.
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