Travel Memories from Jonathan [Two Monkeys Travel Group]

[:en]

“What is your most memorable childhood travel memory?” That’s what I’ve asked many travel bloggers and other travel addicts. These are their personal stories and photos.

 

Today, I interview Jonathan from Two Monkeys Travel Group!

 

Travel Memories from Jonathan [Two Monkeys Travel Group]

 

Hi Jonathan, do you remember the first time you went travelling?

My first ever memory is also my first travel memory. The memory itself is hazy, but I remember being in the back of a car, in the dark, hearing my parents voices and an African man with a gun, like a rifle and other voices outside.

That’s as far as the memory goes, but the rest has been filled in for me –

When I was three years old, in 1987, my family relocated from the UK to Malawi because my dad had taken a job there.

Not long after, in 1988, my parents borrowed a 4-wheel-drive to travel to the Kasungu Game Park, where it was normal to hire a game scout / guide, who almost always carried rifles. On the drive back to wherever we were staying, it got dark and we got stuck in a massive mud hole with no way of getting ourselves out. Our game scout, Frederick, then had to walk for about 6 hours through the bush, heavily populated with elephants and lions in order to find help and another vehicle to come tow us out.

Apparently my little clip of memory is of Frederick returning with people and a car to get us out. I really like that this is my first memory!

 

 

Travel Memories from Jonathan [Two Monkeys Travel Group]

 

Did your parents travel much before you were born?

My parents definitely travelled before I was born, even if it was just holidays within the UK, which is actually how they met!

My mum used to work in a Thomas Cook travel agency on the money exchange counter and I think they went to The Gambia once too, a few years before we all moved to Africa.

There’s always been travel in the family in one way or another; my gran was born and raised in Egypt and lived there throughout the Second World War and the other side of the family were Irish, so I’m a little bit gypsy too!

 

Travel Memories from Jonathan [Two Monkeys Travel Group]

This is the  same trip as the night we got stuck in the mud in the dark! Me and my sister  are on the car, my dad and my mum’s friend in the front, with my mum taking the photo.

 

What was your favourite holiday destination as a child, a teenager and an adult?

 

Childhood

The place I remember the most is Lake Malawi; we went there several times a year for a week at a time and stayed in a small cottage right on the beach. We used to swim out to a small island just offshore, always trying to dive to the bottom because someone told us there was a car down there that had fallen off of a boat while it was being transported from one side of the lake to the other. We never did find the car!

In the late afternoon, my dad bought some fish from the fishermen as they hauled in their daily catch, then threw them from the cliff top so we could watch the sea eagles dive for them!

 

Teenager

Most of my time at this age was spent in Kenya, where we lived just on the outskirts of Nairobi. During this time we started having holidays a bit further afield and went to South Africa quite a few times, quite often to Cape Town, with beautiful beaches and Table Mountain!

One of the places I remember most clearly was Betty’s Bay, outside of the city. It was a ragged stretch of coastline with rocks and huge cliffs, with small beaches in between. The little house we were staying in was perched on top of a cliff, with what seemed like hundreds of steep steps all the way down to the beach.

 

Adult

A lot has changed in the past 15 to 20 years, but I’m still in love with the sea. It doesn’t have to have perfect white sand, warm blue water or incredible sunsets (although that’s a nice bonus), just as long as I can here waves breaking on the shore and smell the sea air, I feel relaxed.

My favourite beach so far is the first place we arrived in India almost exactly one year ago to the day – Agonda, Southern Goa. It’s several kilometres of white sand perfection, lined with palm trees and only a few beach huts and bamboo restaurants. We spent one week here, before starting our yoga teacher training in Galgibaga, further south. By the time we left it seemed like all the stresses, strains and pollution of a year living in Hanoi had melted away completely!

A close second for me is mountains; we moved back to the UK in 1998 and from then I grew up in the North-West Lake District of England. We were surrounded by lakes, rivers, valleys and mountains. It was here that I first experienced that stubborn urge to reach the top of something and the quiet satisfaction when you reach it.

 

 

I’m still searching for the perfect combination of white-sand beach, warm water, great surf and towering mountains all in one place. I’ll find it one day!

 

 

Travel Memories from Jonathan [Two Monkeys Travel Group]

Travel Memories from Jonathan [Two Monkeys Travel Group]

Lake Malawi – The fishermen dragged their nets on to the shore everyday.

 

Can you remember a specific travel item/gadget you used to take on a trip as a child?

Well, this was back in the late 80’s and 90’s, so gadgets were around, but nothing like today. I remember I had this toy sound effects panel that was just a speaker with a row of buttons that made different siren noises. I used to ride around my bike pretending I was the police, or a spaceship, or just to make noise probably!

Whenever we went on long car journeys we just had picture books and maybe those games where you had to manoeuvre the ball bearing through the maze.

Once we got to about 1995 my little brother had a Game Boy and I remember having a Sega Game Gear, which was huge and had a big plastic briefcase to carry it around in! And maps, people used actual maps. They were pretty cool too!

 

Travel Memories from Jonathan [Two Monkeys Travel Group]

Martin worked for us in Malawi; everyone had people working for them in Africa. He helped us with everything, looked after us and played with us when our parents were out.

 

Did the way you travelled as a child changed much when you grew up?

As an expat kid in Africa from the age of three, I had an amazing childhood that I probably didn’t fully appreciate until long after we moved back to the UK. Obviously, for parents, there are always things that they don’t want their children to see, especially in Africa, and our parents managed to shield us from most of the bad that happened around us from time to time, although one or two things slipped through the net.

 

 

However, as we all know, when we start travelling in our late teens and twenties, we start to do the exact opposite; we seek out the real, the emotional, the hard to watch and even the traumatising and dangerous. We do this because we feel numbed by our safe, easy lives, we seek greater appreciation for what we have, or we’re just simple danger junkies in need of a thrill and a story.

Now, while I’m not charging in war zones with a camera, or hitch hiking through Liberia, I’m definitely one of those travellers looking for experiences that are less sheltered, less guided and more in tune with real life, which is probably why we like to choose interesting places to live for a while, so we can dig under the skin of a place and get to know people who live there.

I really appreciate the experiences I had when I was a child and they shaped how I like to travel today, but as an adult, I prefer things the way they are now!

 

 

Finally: What is your best tip for making a trip memorable?

The best advice I can think of, at least that works for us, is not to plan anything too much. We usually know what country we’re going to and have a rough plan of locations to visit, but that’s about it and it’s taken in some completely unexpected directions.

On our recent trip to Chile, we had a rough plan to travel through Patagonia and had heard about the world renowned trekking in Torres de Alpaine, so we headed down to Puerto Montt thinking we’d take the ferry through the fjords to get there. Wrong! There’s no chance of getting on that boat last minute in high season, the buses all go via Argentina (Kach needs a visa for that) and flying costs a small fortune. So, no Torres de Alpaine!

This turned out to be a massive blessing, as we ended up hitch hiking all the way down the Carretera Austral through Aysen Region instead, right down to Villa O’Higgins!

So yeah, in short – Plan, but don’t actually plan!

 

 

Travel Memories from Jonathan [Two Monkeys Travel Group]

Chilling at the beach 2014 in Goa, India.

 

If you want to read more of Jonathan (and Kach)’s stories, be sure to visit their website: Two Monkeys Travel Group

 

 

Find all the previous interviews here.

Want to participate as well? That’s great! Please fill out the interview questions on this page.

[:nl]

“What is your most memorable childhood travel memory?” That’s what I’ve asked many travel bloggers and other travel addicts. These are their personal stories and photos.

 

Today, I interview Jonathan from Two Monkeys Travel Group!

 

Travel Memories from Jonathan [Two Monkeys Travel Group]

 

Hi Jonathan, do you remember the first time you went travelling?

My first ever memory is also my first travel memory. The memory itself is hazy, but I remember being in the back of a car, in the dark, hearing my parents voices and an African man with a gun, like a rifle and other voices outside.

That’s as far as the memory goes, but the rest has been filled in for me –

When I was three years old, in 1987, my family relocated from the UK to Malawi because my dad had taken a job there.

Not long after, in 1988, my parents borrowed a 4-wheel-drive to travel to the Kasungu Game Park, where it was normal to hire a game scout / guide, who almost always carried rifles. On the drive back to wherever we were staying, it got dark and we got stuck in a massive mud hole with no way of getting ourselves out. Our game scout, Frederick, then had to walk for about 6 hours through the bush, heavily populated with elephants and lions in order to find help and another vehicle to come tow us out.

Apparently my little clip of memory is of Frederick returning with people and a car to get us out. I really like that this is my first memory!

 

 

Travel Memories from Jonathan [Two Monkeys Travel Group]

 

Did your parents travel much before you were born?

My parents definitely travelled before I was born, even if it was just holidays within the UK, which is actually how they met!

My mum used to work in a Thomas Cook travel agency on the money exchange counter and I think they went to The Gambia once too, a few years before we all moved to Africa.

There’s always been travel in the family in one way or another; my gran was born and raised in Egypt and lived there throughout the Second World War and the other side of the family were Irish, so I’m a little bit gypsy too!

 

Travel Memories from Jonathan [Two Monkeys Travel Group]

This is the  same trip as the night we got stuck in the mud in the dark! Me and my sister  are on the car, my dad and my mum’s friend in the front, with my mum taking the photo.

 

What was your favourite holiday destination as a child, a teenager and an adult?

 

Childhood

The place I remember the most is Lake Malawi; we went there several times a year for a week at a time and stayed in a small cottage right on the beach. We used to swim out to a small island just offshore, always trying to dive to the bottom because someone told us there was a car down there that had fallen off of a boat while it was being transported from one side of the lake to the other. We never did find the car!

In the late afternoon, my dad bought some fish from the fishermen as they hauled in their daily catch, then threw them from the cliff top so we could watch the sea eagles dive for them!

 

Teenager

Most of my time at this age was spent in Kenya, where we lived just on the outskirts of Nairobi. During this time we started having holidays a bit further afield and went to South Africa quite a few times, quite often to Cape Town, with beautiful beaches and Table Mountain!

One of the places I remember most clearly was Betty’s Bay, outside of the city. It was a ragged stretch of coastline with rocks and huge cliffs, with small beaches in between. The little house we were staying in was perched on top of a cliff, with what seemed like hundreds of steep steps all the way down to the beach.

 

Adult

A lot has changed in the past 15 to 20 years, but I’m still in love with the sea. It doesn’t have to have perfect white sand, warm blue water or incredible sunsets (although that’s a nice bonus), just as long as I can here waves breaking on the shore and smell the sea air, I feel relaxed.

My favourite beach so far is the first place we arrived in India almost exactly one year ago to the day – Agonda, Southern Goa. It’s several kilometres of white sand perfection, lined with palm trees and only a few beach huts and bamboo restaurants. We spent one week here, before starting our yoga teacher training in Galgibaga, further south. By the time we left it seemed like all the stresses, strains and pollution of a year living in Hanoi had melted away completely!

A close second for me is mountains; we moved back to the UK in 1998 and from then I grew up in the North-West Lake District of England. We were surrounded by lakes, rivers, valleys and mountains. It was here that I first experienced that stubborn urge to reach the top of something and the quiet satisfaction when you reach it.

 

 

I’m still searching for the perfect combination of white-sand beach, warm water, great surf and towering mountains all in one place. I’ll find it one day!

 

Travel Memories from Jonathan [Two Monkeys Travel Group]

Travel Memories from Jonathan [Two Monkeys Travel Group]

Lake Malawi – The fishermen dragged their nets on to the shore everyday.

 

Can you remember a specific travel item/gadget you used to take on a trip as a child?

Well, this was back in the late 80’s and 90’s, so gadgets were around, but nothing like today. I remember I had this toy sound effects panel that was just a speaker with a row of buttons that made different siren noises. I used to ride around my bike pretending I was the police, or a spaceship, or just to make noise probably!

Whenever we went on long car journeys we just had picture books and maybe those games where you had to manoeuvre the ball bearing through the maze.

Once we got to about 1995 my little brother had a Game Boy and I remember having a Sega Game Gear, which was huge and had a big plastic briefcase to carry it around in! And maps, people used actual maps. They were pretty cool too!

 

Travel Memories from Jonathan [Two Monkeys Travel Group]

Martin worked for us in Malawi; everyone had people working for them in Africa. He helped us with everything, looked after us and played with us when our parents were out.

 

Did the way you travelled as a child changed much when you grew up?

As an expat kid in Africa from the age of three, I had an amazing childhood that I probably didn’t fully appreciate until long after we moved back to the UK. Obviously, for parents, there are always things that they don’t want their children to see, especially in Africa, and our parents managed to shield us from most of the bad that happened around us from time to time, although one or two things slipped through the net.

 

 

However, as we all know, when we start travelling in our late teens and twenties, we start to do the exact opposite; we seek out the real, the emotional, the hard to watch and even the traumatising and dangerous. We do this because we feel numbed by our safe, easy lives, we seek greater appreciation for what we have, or we’re just simple danger junkies in need of a thrill and a story.

Now, while I’m not charging in war zones with a camera, or hitch hiking through Liberia, I’m definitely one of those travellers looking for experiences that are less sheltered, less guided and more in tune with real life, which is probably why we like to choose interesting places to live for a while, so we can dig under the skin of a place and get to know people who live there.

I really appreciate the experiences I had when I was a child and they shaped how I like to travel today, but as an adult, I prefer things the way they are now!

 

 

Finally: What is your best tip for making a trip memorable?

The best advice I can think of, at least that works for us, is not to plan anything too much. We usually know what country we’re going to and have a rough plan of locations to visit, but that’s about it and it’s taken in some completely unexpected directions.

On our recent trip to Chile, we had a rough plan to travel through Patagonia and had heard about the world renowned trekking in Torres de Alpaine, so we headed down to Puerto Montt thinking we’d take the ferry through the fjords to get there. Wrong! There’s no chance of getting on that boat last minute in high season, the buses all go via Argentina (Kach needs a visa for that) and flying costs a small fortune. So, no Torres de Alpaine!

This turned out to be a massive blessing, as we ended up hitch hiking all the way down the Carretera Austral through Aysen Region instead, right down to Villa O’Higgins!

So yeah, in short – Plan, but don’t actually plan!

 

 

Travel Memories from Jonathan [Two Monkeys Travel Group]

Chilling at the beach 2014 in Goa, India.

 

If you want to read more of Jonathan (and Kach)’s stories, be sure to visit their website: Two Monkeys Travel Group

 

 

Find all the previous interviews here.

Want to participate as well? That’s great! Please fill out the interview questions on this page.

[:]

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