It's almost three years since I had a proper holiday, and it's getting on for two and a half years that I've been studying without a break - all my courses have overlapped. Consequently I'm flagging a little so I thought it time to book a holiday for the summer and after my current course has finished. My sister-in-law's parents have a second home in France, which my mother and step-father are renting from them for three weeks in June/July. I was asked if I'd like to join them for some of their time there so I've jumped at the chance and booked my flights two days ago. I'm so looking forward to it. The house, apparently, is pretty much on its own in the countryside, but it's not far from Fougeres, Brittany, and I'll be flying to Rennes. Having booked the flights I mustn't forget to do all the other preparatory things like getting a new passport (my last one expired in 2007); sorting out travel insurance as the airline's didn't cover pre-existing medical conditions; getting a doctor's letter to cover me having my EpiPens and nebuliser in my hand luggage; getting my hospital/treatment letters translated; getting translations of my allergies, which I think is something the Anaphylaxis Campaign can help with; and maybe getting hold of the international names of my drugs, as I think even generic drug names can vary a little from country to country. There's quite a lot to think about and make sure I get done, and hopefully I won't need to use most of it, but I know from experience that it's so much better to be prepared for all eventualities than to rely on hope. I know that my mother is quite anxious about managing my health while I'm away with them, and desperately hoping that all will go smoothly (as I am), but we also both know that life is for living and I have to take the risk of living if I'm to make the most of life. Risks are calculated though, and also need to be minimised so preparation is the key, and forward planning on how we might deal with a medical crisis if it were to happen is also important. The main difficulty with this is that I don't speak French (not that I can speak at all anyway when my lungs are bad), my mother is just learning French and my step-father's French is limited. This is in part why it's so necessary to have all my hospital and treatment letters translated, along with a clear list of all my allergies.
My brother, sister-in-law, and nephews are planning on coming out to stay in the house for some of the time I'm there, and that should be really good. I'm seeing them in a few weeks time at the boys' baptisms, but it's then unlikely that I'll get to see them until we're in France, so it'll be great to catch up and have some quality time with them all in June/July.
I think I recently mentioned that back in 2006 I went on a Great Camping Expedition around England on my own, and which I got a huge amount out of and greatly enjoyed. I don't think I can afford to do it on the same scale as last time, but I'd love to do something similar this August if at all possible, although it may well depend on how the weather looks on being, because camping in the rain really isn't so great. There's a huge amount of the UK that I haven't explored yet, so I'd like to set about rectifying that a bit more, and maybe catch up with some online friends in the process too. I don't yet know where I'm likely to end up, or even completely sure if it's going to be financially viable for this summer, but I'm mulling it over and starting to plot, scheme and plan.
One thing is for sure: I need a holiday. I need restoration after so much studying without a break, and I need to refresh myself for the next round of study that will begin in October. However, I mustn't get complacent in the run-up to my holiday as I still have three big pieces of work to do for my current course before it finishes at the end of May.
Bring on the holidays!