Sleeping through a Very Strange Weekend

It’s been a weird one. After having travel vaccinations on Thursday, I’ve been in a slightly whoozy, flu-like state. I’ve spent today watching old musicals, and sleeping. I’ve wandered about the house with a blanket, like a toddler, complaining to the husband. He had the injections too, and he’s had headaches, but today he’s been fine.

We had to pay over £300 to feel like this. Our GP surgery is really struggling, and the Tories recently cut their requirement to give travel vaccines, so we had to get it done privately. It felt like a particularly expensive trip to the dentist, and what with the way the NHS is going, perhaps it’s a sign of things to come.

I don’t disagree with the principal of having to pay for travel vaccinations. If you’re going abroad, the chances are that you have the cash to pay for it. In theory, that is. Except I’ve also been a bit silly with money lately, and I’m now painfully far into my overdraft. I owe the husband for several big expenses – including our flights to Prague for a friend’s wedding in August. I know, I know: these are very middle class problems, as Twitter would say. Woe is me, scraping by with my two foreign holidays.

The other holiday is the big one. In July, we’re going to Tanzania. Hence the travel jabs. The travel pharmacist gave us a rather terrifying lowdown of all the diseases we could get in that part of Africa: yellow fever, tetanus, diphtheria, cholera, and of course malaria. It’s very likely we’ll get upset tummies while we’re there, because of water sanitation. It’s enough to put you off going. It’s all feeling a bit real and scary.

We’re going because my Dad met a nice lady on online Scrabble. Dad’s really good at Scrabble, and the lady wins prizes for it in Tanzania. I guess it’s unusual to find someone online who’s at that level, and they started playing regularly and sending each other messages, and family photos. This was three years ago. Now we’re going over there to meet her family, and it’s going to be a really exciting trip.

I’ve not travelled much – I never did the Gap Year thing, and my parents never took me on a foreign holiday as a kid. My first trip out of the UK was a sixth form trip to Paris, to go to the art galleries. That still feels like a huge eye-opening time in my life: my first trip to Europe, on my own, and with friends from my sixth form college that I only knew a little. I shared a room in a dodgy hotel with five other girls, and we drank wine and talked about boys into the early hours of the morning. Oh, it was so much fun.

My second trip abroad was to Italy with my PGCE cohort: another adventure with people I didn’t know too well, and it was a shame they preferred shopping to seeing the art of Florence. Oh Florence, I didn’t do you justice. I still need to go back.

I went to Paris again with the husband in 2011. Then, to China for our honeymoon. Our tour guide was my sister, who was living there with her boyfriend, who worked in Beijing. Even the journey blew my mind: from the plane I saw the Himilayas, the palm tree islands of Dubai, Asian paddy fields. I was 28 and I’d only been to Europe three times. This was my first long haul journey, and it was such a thrill.

Tanzania will be equally special. It’s the first time my parents will have been out of Europe. And, well, it’s Africa. I never thought I’d go anywhere like it. It’s worth having flu for the weekend, because it’s going to be brilliant.


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