Travel was the theme for 2016! In fact we spent more time away from home than here. We accomplished a long dreamed touring ambition, Stephen undertook a lecture tour, we ticked off a bucket list destination and method of transport and we found time to relax in the sun during the UK winter as well as spending time in London working and playing hard - phew!

Part of the plan in moving to our little cottage in Ludlow during autumn 2015, was to pack in as much travel as possible during 2016. Stephen already had his lecture tour to Australia in the diary for September and I'd taken the opportunity to add a "bucket list" visit to the South Sea Islands including a Windstar Cruise en route home in October. Pretty momentous on its own you might think.

 

But we had a whole 9 months to fill before the flight to Melbourne, so decided to start with a relaxing 10 days in the January Jamaican sunshine. Perfect rest and relaxation location. We returned refreshed and raring to go.

February and March saw some very exciting business opportunities developing for me with Louis Kennedy, which came to fruition later in the year - more later.

Stephen worked hard planning our Grand Tour of Italy and did a fantastic job. During April and May the three of us, Stephen, myself in our Landrover, drove over 2,000 miles, effectively home from Sicily. We experienced all that Italy could offer from Palazzos to Piazzas, Byzantine to Baroque, Palermo to Puglia, Rome to Ravenna, Caves to Cathedrals, Prosecco to Pompeii, Gelati to Genoa, La Scala to the Last Supper, art to architecture.

It was completely amazing from start to finish, a few trials with Sally Sat Nav en route as expected but all resolved with a good old fashioned map! Jeremy Clarkson and Co have nothing on us! Some wonderful encounters with Italian hospitality at its finest and friendly help along the way. Our adventure seemed to intrigue many and be greatly admired by most.

We then enjoyed a summer of fun in Ludlow and London catching up with friends and family.

Before long we were packing for our next adventure; Stephen's lecture tour of News South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria in Australia. It was incredible. The organisation from our hosts, the Aussie sister of NADFAS in the UK ran like a well oiled machine. All I needed to do was make sure we were in the right place at the right time and that Stephen had a clean shirt! An alarm on the phone and Chinese laundries came to the rescue.

We visited 14 locations in 28 days and Stephen gave 21 lectures; hospitality was fabulous and the chance to explore beyond Sydney and Melbourne plus catch up with some old chums was super.  And on my birthday we did the Sydney Harbour Bridge Walk!

I think this picture sums up the final leg of our trip better than any words could. The South Seas did not disappoint!

We rounded off the year back in Ludlow with the news breaking about the project I'd been working on all year of brokering a partnership between Barnardo's and The Teletubbies - very exciting and setting a new standard for licensed character and charity collaborations.

A quiet Christmas and New Year to relax and reflect  on an incredible year. Not without its premature goodbyes and periods of sadness unfortunately, but we achieved our goals together and look forward to 2017 with great optimism and enthusiasm for the things in life we can influence.