I’ve been on some great trips but first proper overseas trip was at the comparatively late age of 18 to Crete in 1977. Leaving Gatwick Airport at a ridiculous hour of the morning I was bought to my senses in the air by a stewardess of the now defunct carrier dropping a hot cup of coffee into my lap. Looking out of the window over the azure–like quality of theAegean was my second memory of my first flight. I then took a metro from Athens airport to the bustling port of Piraeus where I joined the throngs departing the mainland for the islands and made the 20 hour ferry trip out to Crete. On disembarking at Hirakleon I took a bus for another 3 hours where I met up with the advance party – in this case my family. I clearly remember booking the trip from a travel agent in my local town – walk in, sit down, leaf through the weighty tomes of multiple brochures, consult the an agent and book the package(in this case through the new fangled payment of everybody’s flexible friend in the 70s – the ubiquitous Access Credit Card. Frankly in the subsequent 36 years not much has changed – logistics are now much easier (each Greek island of note now has its own airport), the costs are vastly reduced and there is a multiplicity of choice. Although my original visit to the high street travel agent has largely been replaced by an online/on phone experience – the whole process remains in a bit of a time warp. Expedia and Trip Advisor have done a fantastic in bringing a traditional industry into the 21st century but there is still much to do.
I write this blog from my holiday home on the Normandy Peninsula in Northern France where a few years ago I was persuaded to buy and renovate an ancient barn, which I now call my second home. I have tried hard to integrate into the local community here – a mixture of rural Normans and immigrant Anglais – and am pleased to record some success. My meeting with the local mayor has, I believe, been fruitful and whilst I am far from being considered a local I am now benefitting greatly from some first class local knowledge. I have access to la Manche’s hidden secrets – local restaurants, beaches, activities and accommodation have increasingly been made known to me making my holiday stay and that of my guests particularly memorable.
My first visit to Australia, a month long sojourn visiting my gap yearing daughter, was poorly prepared and I turned up in Brisbane with only a return flight and a hire car voucher. Fortunately her employer took me in hand recommending a visit to Fraser Island and a stay at his cousin’s ecolodge and off we went up the Bruce Highway. On arriving at our destination the employers cousin handed over the keys of our Christmas accommodation and after a couple of calls a heavily discounted 4X4 arrived at our tree house which enabled our adventure to continue in some style. By now the invitation tree was well and truly shaken and new invitations were coming in – if we could make it to Sydney by New Years Eve we had grandstand seats to the biggest and best firework display in the world. Goodbye Fraser Island and the journey continued via some wonderful stopovers in Noosa Heads, Newcastle and the Hunter Valley. The fireworks did not disappoint from a wonderful vantage point in Mosman Bay where new friends and hosts killed us with Australian hospitality including a ticket to the next day’s Ashes finale at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Over the next few days and after the dispensation of more local knowledge we travelled north to Queensland to the ancient Aintree Tablelands and other notable attractions.There was plenty more to add to the details of this trip but it was made all the more memorable only my access to very local knowledge – the type of knowledge that is always there but not always easy to access. This is why I setup TripTide.
I want to make all sorts of local knowledge is available to all sorts of travellers to make sure that their trip will live long in the memory. I want TripTide to provide access to the hidden nuggets of all sorts of holiday destinations and activities. TripTide will serve a multiplicity of local community information provided in written articles, blogs,recommendations and special interest groups. It will also provide direct access to local suppliers and services from B&Bs to fishing trips to walking tours all within one online community.
Anyway – please don’t take my word for it please feel free to join any of our country communities to explore, experience and travel like a local.