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The World First Wander: travel blogs we love this week

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

The World First Wander: travel blogs we love this week

Welcome to this week’s World First Wander, a collection of travel articles, blogs and inspiration that the World First travel insurance team have loved this week. It is, as always, compiled by our social media man Tristan Rothwell.

This week we are looking winter sun, Crohn’s disease and getting off the beaten track in Agadir.

Looking to escape the winter blues?

travel blogs

Escape the winter blues in Abu Dhabi.



Are you fed up with the rain and cold already? Want to go somewhere warm? Help is at hand from Yaya and Lloyd over at Hand Luggage Only in our first blog. They have teamed up with Caroline from Silverstories Blog to give us some ideas of where to go to escape the damp this winter. From Dubai to Tanzania there are some inspired destination ideas in 5 Winter escapes from cold Europe.

A fairytale castle

From dream trips to fairytale palaces now, with one of our favourite travel bloggers, The Quirky Traveller. We have long been huge fans this blog from Zoë Dawes and can’t recommend it enough. If you love to travel then it really is one to follow.

Zoë recently travelled to Marienburg Castle in Lower Saxony and has written about it for all of us to enjoy. As it is the epitome of a fairytale castle she speculates whether or not Walt Disney visited or, at the very least, saw it in a dream, such is its classic design. Read all about it in The poignant story of Marienburg Castle, Germany.

Spice up your travel photography

travel blogs

A few simple things can make a big difference to your travel photography

Whenever you visit a fairytale castle – or anywhere fantastic for that matter – it can be disappointing if your photos don’t do it justice. So all the more reason to have a read of our next blog from Elle Croft. A different view: travel photography tips will really help you to make more of your travel subjects. And it doesn’t matter whether you are using  an iphone or the latest top of the range digital SLR, the principles of good photography are the same.

Go for it!

Where other travellers fear to put their hands

This one from handsome backpacker Ed Rex made us smile this week. As some of you may know Ed is profoundly deaf and that’s what his latest blog post is all about. Ed has a way with words when it comes to telling a story, especially this one. Have a read of When my hearing went down the toilet in Vietnam.

Crohn’s: we can cover it

travel blogs

Freedom from worry: travelling with good medical cover, even with a medical condition

Miss Barlow is a twentysomething traveller who has visited a lot of places. She’s also done it while living with Crohn’s disease, a difficult condition that affects the digestive tract. It is estimated that around 115,000 people are affected by Crohn’s, a lifelong condition that can flare up at any time. As with any medical condition the reality of travelling with it can be tough, but with a bit of help from people like Lizzy and blogs like Travelling with Crohn’s: the reality it needn’t be so daunting.

And don’t forget! We have been insuring Crohn’s disease for years as part of our specialised medical travel insurance. If you live with it – or any other chronic condition – and want to travel, get in touch.

Saving up to go travelling

For some of us this is the most difficult part of travelling. Saving comes easy to some while for others it’s near impossible putting pennies away for that sunny day. However, for those not encumbered by grandkids, school runs and life’s laundry, Global Galivanting has some great tips. Have a read of 10 simple ways to save money (without moving back in with your parents!) and then get on to the bank…

Off the beaten path…..or road

If you are anything like some of the World First team you want to get off the beaten path and onto the road less travelled, and that’s what our last post this week is all about. It’s from This Girl Loves and it’s all about an off road journey in Agadir. Sounds great. But is it your cup of tea?  Check it out: Off Roading in Agadir.

Until next time.






The World First Wander – travel blogs we love this week

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

The World First Wander – travel blogs we love this week

Welcome to this week’s World First Wander. It’s a collection of our favourite travel articles, blogs and inspiration from this week, compiled by our social media man Tristan Rothwell.

This week we are looking parenting styles, how to travel, making sacrifices and South Devon.

How the travel bloggers travel

Some wise words to start off this week’s World First Wander from one of our favourites Tara Povey,  from the Where is Tara? blog. Of course her final suggestion – marry someone rich – is completely tongue in cheek, but if you want to travel there are a few simple ways to save up the pounds to get that trip of a lifetime started. SO if you’re looking to start that travel fund, have a read of Tara’s How I afford to travel and start planning that trip.

He (or she) who makes no mistakes…makes nothing

So it’s your first time on the road. You have never travelled before and you travelling on a wing and a prayer. Mistakes are there to be made. Of course we do learn from them but sometimes the hard way isn’t always the best way – especially when you are miles from home.

travel blogs

Oh dear. Holiday troubles…

So how do you avoid the mistakes? Learn from more experienced travellers who have been there done that and made their mistakes already. One of these is Jayne Gorman, who in one of her latest posts, reveals some of the mistakes she has made along the way. From the brilliant Girl Tweets World travel blog, My weekend of rookie travel mistakes in Bangkok.

There is no victory without sacrifice

Once you have decided to take the plunge and travel the world there will always be sacrifices, from leaving friends and family behind to missing your dog or cat. One such blogger who has made her fair share is Vicky Flip Flop. Vicky’s latest post from her excellent Vicky Flip Flop Travels, The biggest sacrifice you’ll make as a digital nomad explains it all.

Travelling a little closer to home

travel blogs

Bantham and Burgh Island. One of the many incredible beaches in South Devon.

We love being based in Devon. It’s one of those places where staying home and exploring can be as rewarding as getting on a plane. So we all loved this next post from Travel Candy. It’s a visual treat of 20 pictures to inspire a weekend in South Devon. So if it does inspire you, remember it’s just three hours away from London.

Is it too early to talk about 2016?

Well it is only 9 weeks away. So maybe it not too early. In fact, some of our travel friends are already planning 2016 travels. One such planner is Brenna Holeman  from This Battered Suitcase blog. She has written about some of the trips she’s got in the pipeline. With plenty of destinations on the list she might do well to consider an annual travel insurance policy. If you travel regularly it can save you ££££. Thinking about 2016? Here’s My 2016 travel goals.

Dad you are so embarrassing

Finally, this one is guaranteed to make you smile. A few of us read it and were able to relate immediately. So if you have kids and go on holiday then you are almost definitely going to be on this list from Tots to Travel. It’s easily our favourite blog this week. So.  What type of hilarious holiday parent are you?

We hope you have enjoyed this week’s World First Wander. If we’ve missed a great travel article that you have either read or written, let us know and we may include it next week.


The World First Wander: travel blogs we love this week

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

The World First Wander: travel blogs we love this week

Welcome to this week’s World First Wander, a collection of travel articles, blogs and inspiration that the world first travel insurance team have loved this week, compiled by our social media man Tristan Rothwell.

This week we are looking at winning the lottery, Amsterdam and Central America.

world first travel insurance

Amsterdam. Great food and great sights. And it doesn’t have to be expensive.

Where do we begin?

…with a pre-travel ritual of course! OK, so pre trip rituals might be a bit weird for some of you, but for many, those little idiosyncrasies are what mark the beginning of an exciting new adventure. However, even if you aren’t the type to have ‘rituals’ make time for one essential pre trip plan – and that’s to buy your travel insurance when you book. That’s all we’re saying. And with that we go over to @Emilyraylondon with a light hearted look at her pre travel rituals. My pre-trip rituals will make seasoned travellers out there smile.

Thinking about travel? Just do it!

One of our favourite travel bloggers @thetravelhack has written a very thoughtful piece this week. She’s off on a long haul trek soon and has been busy thinking about her plans and what it takes to chuck it all in and take off. SO, if you are thinking but not yet planning or even ritualising, this is for you. So if you have the itch to travel the world and you haven’t managed to scratch it yet have a read of So, you want to travel the world?

Will you pack the other half?

So you have decided that you are going to travel the world! But are you going to travel solo or travel with your significant other? It can be a huge decision for some and a no brainer for others. Some thrive together away, others don’t. If you are thinking of heading off as a couple then this next post from @heelsinbackpack will help you weigh up The pros and cons of travelling with your significant other.

How will you travel?

One of the most popular ways to travel is backpacking – even for older people. And when you are armed with our backpacking insurance you can travel the world with the confidence that we’ll look after you if anything disastrous happens. We thought it might be nice to pass on a few destination ideas from Chris Stevens, who is also know as @Bckpackerbanter on twitter. Chris’s latest post, My mini guide to backpacking travel in Central America is a great start. And it’s just part 1, so keep your eyes open for part 2.

It could be you!

We all fantasise about winning the lottery, don’t we? No need to be greedy. Just 4 or 5 million should see us ok. But the real ‘million dollar question’ is where would you travel when you do win the pot of gold? Have a read of Globocation’s blog post to find out where a few lucky people from around the world have headed after their big win in Top Choice with Lottery Winners.

Meanwhile, back in the real world.

Sadly, the reality is that most of us are going to travel on a budget. And that could mean having a read of this next post from Kash Bhattacharya. He runs the Budget Traveller blog, which is the go to blog for travelling in style but on a budget. The latest post samples the culinary delights of Amsterdam – a favourite among the travel community –and it’s been written by another World First Wander favourite, Frankie Thompson from As the Bird Flies. Have a read of Cheap eats guide to Amsterdam.

Until next time.

The World First Wander: travel blogs we loved this week

Monday, October 26th, 2015

The World First Wander: travel blogs we loved this week

travel blogs

Travel can help to keep you young… and anyone can apply.

Welcome to our weekly look at what’s hot in the world of travel and travel writing. Each week we scour the internet to bring you our list of “what’s hot” in travel blogging. It’s compiled, as always, by our social media man, Tristan Rothwell.

This week we are looking at how travel can help to keep you young, long haul flights, meeting people on your travels and waking up happy.

Are you addicted?

We love travel. And so, it seems, do you. How do we know this? Many of you take out annual travel insurance that enables you to travel as many times in a year as you like. It’s a great way to save money and enjoy peace of mind throughout the year. And you don’t have to call us each time you leave to tell us you’re going. It’s perfect for people who are ‘addicted to travel’. And that brings us neatly on to our first post, from Travelettes, that it handily entitled 33 signs that you are addicted to travel. Is that you?

Travel is the new anti wrinkle cream

Next up are Janice and Tracey from Solo Traveller. They have some wise words about staying young through travel. Janice is 58 yet she says she feels younger, thanks to her love of travel. We concur… in fact, we offer travel insurance for people up to 100. There is no reason your age shouldn’t be a barrier to travel, as Janice and Tracey say in their fantastic post 10 ways solo travel makes you younger (and more mature).

Planning a long flight?

travel blogging

Long haul. Be prepared.

If you are planning a long flight then you might be interested to read our next post. It’s for those who take those super long haul flights. Some people are ok with them, some aren’t but are prepared to go through with it because of what’s at the other end. And if that’s you, then you need to read the next blog from Anita Hendrieka  on how to stay sane on a 24 hour flight. Australia here we come.

Meet the locals and make new friends

If you are travelling solo it can get lonely. So sometimes you need to get over your shyness and meet a few people. And the best people to meet are the locals. Why? Because they know the best spots, the best routes and can help you to learn about their culture like no one else can. But of course, striking up a conversation isn’t always easy. So, from My feet are meant to roam  is a post that may help you to meet and greet like an expert. Check out 5 brilliant tips to meet locals abroad.

Staying with the theme, this next post from Twenty Something Travel has some good ideas for making new friends while on the road. Have a read of 7 conversation starters for solo travellers and get out there….

Grab your backpacks


Inspiration and achievement. Hiking is good for you!

Stomping across a lonely moor, along the coast path or through an ancient forest… what’s not to love about hiking? It’s one of the best ways to get your daily exercise. So, if you have yet to enjoy the pleasures of a good yomp, we’d like to recommend this next blog, from our Penzance based friend Lauren, aka The Enjoyable Rut . A beginners guide to hiking will help you to get off on the good foot.

Ab Fab

We finish off this week with a post that’s not travel based from Sabina at Girl Vs Globe and it’s all about starting your day off the right way.  It’s a nice post and it’s a good way to end this week. We could all use some help to wake up happy sometimes!!! 7 tricks to wake up happy and fabulous .

Until next week.

The World First Wander: travel blogs we loved this week

Friday, October 16th, 2015

The World First Wander: travel blogs we loved this week

Welcome to our weekly look at what’s hot in the world of travel and travel writing. Each week we scour the internet to bring you our list of “what’s hot” in travel blogging. It’s compiled, as always, by our social media man, Tristan Rothwell.

Every journey begins with…

travel blogs

Stuck on the tarmac or in the airport… every journey….

…a single step, according to Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu (although it’s often wrongly attributed to Confucius). Anyway, wherever it comes from, it’s how we begin this week, with a post from London Kiwi Emma that tells of travel delays and union action and just goes to prove that there can be an upside to sitting on the tarmac long after you should have landed on the other side. Silver lining people would say that it would at least give you time to jot down some ideas for a new blog post. And here it is.  Every journey begins with a single step, or so the travel philosophers say.

Stay safe when travelling  

If you are off to far away climes one of your most important considerations is how to stay safe. Nobody wants a holiday cut short because of accidents or incidents that could have been avoided. This next blog, from Rory Cummins over at Planet and go, is all about just that. He has compiled a list of travel safety essentials in his post 7 travel safety tips. Of course, number 2 is absolutely essential – get travel insurance.

You can get on a bus and end up in Paris

travel blogs

All the signs are well designed with beautiful typography and written in full sentences with proper grammar.

Going viral is something most bloggers can only dream of, but when American tourist Scott Walker posted his observations of England on facebook in September he probably never guessed it would be shared over 81000 times. It’s a remarkable view of England from the point of view of an American visitor and it’s pretty spot on. If you have yet to see American tourist’s 100 observations about England, check it out on Matador Network . Pure brilliance.

5,000 year ago, someone arranged a lot of rocks all over, but no one is sure why

Scott Walkers observation from the previous post, applies to Stonehenge, but it might as well apply to most of the Westcountry, and in particular, Cornwall. Granite is what Cornwall is made from! If you are heading to Cornwall this autumn and fancy doing some walking (there will be granite, trust me) then it’s worth checking out the work of Penzance based travel blogger The Enjoyable Rut. Check out this latest post, about three great walks in south West Cornwall, Three Autumn walks in Cornwall.

Lacking Inspiration?

Sometime a little inspiration can go a long way. It’s especially true when it comes to looking a travel photos and photography. If you have yet to discover Pinterest then we can recommend checking it out now! First timers might be a little bewildered by the staggering number of photographs to ponder so we thought we should share Travel on the brain’s latest blog post. 7 Pinterest boards to help you travel better  is a great place to start!

Let the train take the strain

travel blogs

Train travel in  Italy – not as difficult as you might think. And beautiful too.

Travelling by train is a bit like Marmite. You either love it or hate it. However, get it right and it can be a deeply pleasurable way to travel. And we are not talking about the daily commute here, but trips across continents and to new places. Take, for example, a train trip across Itlay, as featured in our latest post from Heels in my backpack. As she says, “you may even discover a hidden gem of a destination en route.” Quite right. Check out How to travel Italy by train and start dreaming (or planning).

Our last post this week is especially for Kirsty, our office manager,  who will hit the grand old age of 30 on Monday. So, especially for her, here’s a little help Vicky Flip Flop Travels in How to be 30 and not have a meltdown.

Of course we can insure travellers up to 100 years old so there is still plenty of time left to travel for Kirsty and Vicky.

Happy Birthday Kirsty.

Until next week.






Mental health and travel. How the FCO – and World First – can help.

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

Mental health and travel. How the FCO – and World First – can help.

Mental health and travel

Mental health and travel

As medical travel insurance specialists we are often asked to cover people with mental health conditions. And we are very pleased to be able to say that we cover many psychological conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression, eating disorders and mental instability when declared to us and accepted as part of the medical screening process. We are also able to cover autism and Down’s syndrome and often do.

Just because you might not be able to see it, doesn’t mean it won’t affect the way you travel. So it’s extremely important to be able to know that if anything happens when you are away you will be able to get the help you need. And often mental health conditions require treatment and emergency medical assistance just like any other illness or accident. And as long as you have cover, we’ll do all we can to help.

This week the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) released a statistic that will be shocking to many. And that is the fact that, between 2009 and 2014 the number of British nationals with mental health needs requiring help from the FCO increased by 48% globally. As a result the FCO have recently been focussing their efforts on making sure that British travellers are aware of the risks travel can pose to those with mental health issues and what they can do to avoid them.

The resulting campaign, “Mind How You Go” gives lots of detailed advice on how to stay safe, what the FCO can do to help and what people with mental health issues can do to help themselves. Their comprehensive guide Foreign travel advice for people with mental health needs is comprehensive in its approach and offers lots of practical advice, with some also given for people who are concerned about someone they know.

They have also created a simple infographic (above) detailing a few things to think about before you travel if you have mental health issues.

 Travel insurance advice – it won’t cost the earth

If we were to add any advice to that already provided by the FCO it would be to declare all medication and conditions to us when you buy your travel insurance. If you became ill due to a condition that was pre-existing and that you had failed to inform us of, then your cover could be invalid. So don’t keep anything from us when you get your quote. Our travel insurance cover for people with mental health issues can be surprisingly cheap. That’s because we are medical travel insurance specialists and cover 1000s of conditions. Our underwriters understand the risks medical conditions can present to our customers, so our medical screening is detailed enough to understand your condition and how it may affect the way you travel.

If we can’t help? We know someone who can

However, there may be some cases where we can’t help. In which case we know people who can. The most important thing is declaring your conditions. From there we can make sure you get the cover you need.

Read more about the FCO “Mind How You Go” campaign

Get a quote now.


The World First Wander: travel blogs we loved this week

Monday, October 12th, 2015

The World First Wander: travel blogs we loved this week

Welcome to this week’s World First Wander. As always it’s a collection of the best travel articles, blogs and inspiration that we have loved this week. Compiled by our social media man Tristan Rothwell.

This week we look at sizzling sausages, retail therapy and travel photography.

Which side of the road should I be on?


Drive on the right. Keep your hands on the wheel.

Do you break out in a cold sweat at the thought of driving abroad? Do your knees tremble at the thought of driving precarious mountain roads with inches to spare either side or the prospect of  navigating a new city? Sometimes it’s unavoidable. But help is at hand from AdventureHan, whose blog post 7 tips for driving abroad should really help you hit the road safely.

Mummy I’m bored

Travelling with children isn’t easy. From “are we there yet?” to “I need the toilet” (400 yards past the service station) there are some things about family travel that will never change.And it doesn’t end there for parents who travel abroad. What about long delays? Oh dear. How are you going to keep them amused? Well, it’s Tots to travel to the rescue this time, with their list of The best child-friendly airports in England. Mind you, a trip to Hamley’s at Heathrow could prove damaging to your wallet.

Stopover retail therapy


Shop until you drop? Many do. Singapore.

Singapore is a popular stopover destination for those taking long haul flights down under. And what do we do when we’ve just covered 6000 miles in 13 hours? We shop, of course! And, in case you weren’t sure where to head first, Elle Croft and her excellent travel blog ‘A Bird in the Hand Travel’ will tell you in the latest post Where to go shopping in Singapore. Guaranteed to keep you busy.

All that glitters…

Staying safe on your travels is vital, as is having really good travel insurance. However, knowing a little of the tricks of the tourist rip off trade can help too. We found a great article on Mental Floss about common scams to be wary of. Check out 11 vacation scams that dupe tourists and arm yourself against the scammers.

 Inspiration or just making us jealous?

Travel inspiration comes in many forms, but there’s nothing like a beautiful photograph to set our pulses racing. This next article from Matador Network is one of those pieces that will make you want to book your next trip – now! However we have to admit we found it a little depressing. It’s tough sitting in an office all day hearing about lucky people heading off to all 4 corners of the globe on your adventures. Anyway, have a look at The 13 most inspiring travel photos this week. If that’s’ not enough inspiration for you, you can follow #travelstoke on Instagram.

Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst


One thousand and one…that should do it. Good views make great shots, however many you take.

That’s what legendary photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson said, anyway. It may well be true, but with a little bit of help there is always room for improvement. Have a read of a post from our blog, Ten things you can do to improve your travel photography as there are some good tips there for all budding travel photographers. After that you can move on to Nomadic Matt’s How to take the perfect photo; advanced techniques. Some great tips in there!

What to do when you get there?

Morocco has always been a really popular destination with World First customers. So we thought it might be fun to look at a few ideas of things to do once you get there. First up is from Amy at Globetrotter Guru who has featured here in the World First Wander a few times before. Check out What is a good itinerary for 10 days in Morocco. Then take a look at The top 10 amazing things to do in Morocco from Global Grasshopper. Spending the night in the Sahara sounds amazing.

Filed under: inspiration

That’s how Chris Sharpe from Make new tracks has filed our next post. The photographs alone in his post On the banks of the Douro: top things to do in Porto are guaranteed to make you want to go straight to the airport. And why not? It under three hours from London and the temperature at the moment is a very agreeable average of 16 degrees centigrade.

Sizzling sausages and a fairy tale castle

We’re off to Germany next with Abigail King from inside the travel lab. If you like seeking out the unusual then this may just be the perfect travel article for you. From sizzling sausages to hunting for street art in Karlsruhe, it’s a great, off-the-beaten-track read. Check out 7 unusual things to do in Germany.

That just about rounds up this week’s selection. Hopefully we’ve given you a little inspiration to get that next trip booked. If you are a travel blogger and have written a great post this week why not let us know? It might get included in next week’s World First Wander.

Until next week.

The World First Wander: travel guides and travel tips

Friday, September 25th, 2015

The World First Wander: travel guides and travel tips

travel tips

Being independent: a travel life lesson.

Welcome to our weekly look at what’s hot in the world of travel and travel writing from around the world. This week we are looking at travel guides and tips from some of our favourite travel bloggers.

How about a few life lessons to get us started on our journey this week? Ok then. How about some words to the wise from Heels in my Backpack? This post is all about growing as a person while travelling.  Have a read of 7 life lessons you learn whilst travelling.

Talking of lessons learned, next we head off to Florida with Cathy Winston of Mummy Travels . From surviving Jet lag to chicken tonight it’s a great blog about – well – travelling in Florida. It’s a popular destination so if you are planning a trip soon, Cathy’s Florida Travel Lessons Learned is essential reading!

travel tips

Lessons learned in Florida? It’s pretty amazing!

Of course you don’t always spend a week or fortnight away.  There are times when the quick break has to satisfy the wanderlust! You make the most of every opportunity. Even stopovers have their uses. This next post is all about making the most of 48 hours in Singapore, a ‘popular’ stopover choice. It’s from The Travel Hack and it’s another ‘must read’. Check out A 48 Hour Singapore Itinerary.

If you are in Singapore then it’s highly likely that you are en route to Australia, so that’s where we are heading next, with Caz and Craig of Y Travel Blog. Our destination? Coober Pedy! No, we hadn’t heard of it either but as Caz and Craig say in their post, it may look familiar as its been used as a location in lots of films. It’s so hot that people live underground! Have a look at Coober Pedy – the Quirky Jewel of The Australian Outback.

travel tips

Paris in the spring – or anytime – is just 2 hours from London

Moving a little closer to home now with Polly Allen and Paris. The city is amazing at any time of year, and with the added benefit of being just  over 2 hours from London St Pancras, so it’s perfect for a mini break or day trip. If you are planning a trip to Paris and it’s your first time then this is for you!  Paris Trips for First Time Visitors

Staying closer to home now with a blog from Jersey. It’s just 14 miles from France  and has an awful lot to offer. Never been? You need to take a look at our next post and feel the luxury….A Luxury Itinerary in Jersey from A Bird in the Hand will give you a taste of the good life in a place that’s like a home away from home.

We hope you have enjoyed this week’s round up. If you are a travel Blogger and would like to get your travel blog featured here add a link in the comments box below.

Until next week.

Childhood cancer. How CLIC Sargent help make it better.

Friday, September 18th, 2015
Childhood cancer

Isn’t life beautiful? Maggie in the Pyrenees – thanks to CLIC Sargent, the NHS and a cancer travel insurance policy from World First.

Imagine being told your child has cancer. It simply doesn’t bear thinking about does it? But this is the reality faced by thousands of parents every year here in the UK. According to CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading childhood cancer charity, 10 children and young people are diagnosed with cancer of some form or other in the UK every day.

This month they are asking anyone and everyone to get involved with Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, to raise valuable funds to help those families, to help raise awareness of the issues of childhood cancer and to campaign for better support and understanding from the government about childhood cancer.

Why tell you this? Because my family are survivors. And we are also World First customers, happy travellers and life lovers, who like nothing more than to celebrate the time we have been given by seeing a bit of the world.

So, if it’s ok, please let me tell you about the things that CLIC Sargent did for us, and why we’ll be supporting Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Maggie, my daughter, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML), an aggressive form of leukaemia, just after her first birthday. Shortly before she was diagnosed she was whisked away in an ambulance to a specialist hospital 100 miles away in Bristol and didn’t come home for six months. My wife went with her, and stayed by her side almost constantly for the whole time, unless I was there to take over. I should point out that Jo was 3 months pregnant with our second daughter at this point too.

After the diagnosis it was like the world stopped turning. All we wanted to do was focus on hospital, on Maggie, on chemo, on dealing with this horror. For that we had the NHS to turn to, who provided a room for Maggie and no end of love, knowledge and skill to treat the disease as best they could.

But, of course, while we were dealing with the shock of this terrible news, the world was still turning. Time didn’t stand still. And that meant life was still going on around us. Life’s laundry, which at first seemed so unimportant, still had to be done. We had no idea how we’d cope with being so far away from home, with the mortgage, with work, with being in hospital, with the fallout from six months of intensive treatment. We had absolutely no clue what to do.

That’s when CLIC Sargent stepped in. CLIC Sargent gave us a place to call home for the duration of Maggie’s treatment. They gave us a family room in a warm, caring house near the hospital that we had, rent free, for six months. They provided a play specialist on the ward so that Maggie could have some time away from her bed and Jo and I could have a little time away from the ward. They helped me with my fuel costs so I could travel to and from work (200 mile round trip) and not give up our only income. They provided specialist nurses to teach us how to do some of Maggie’s basic care. They provided us with a social worker to help us cope and to offer us support. They provided our second daughter Charlotte with her first home after she was born at the hospital in Bristol. They provided a care worker for us when Maggie came out of hospital so that Jo could spend a little time with our newborn. They also provided us with a local nurse who watched over us for the first five years after Maggie came out of hospital and still watches over us, even now, 11 years later, albeit from a distance.

They made the impossible possible. But that was only possible with the help of people like you – who go out and do amazing fundraising stuff or offer their support or buy Christmas cards or wear golden ribbons to celebrate Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Without your help our lives would have fallen apart. It’s as simple as that.

So thank you.

Finally, you know by now that our story has a happy ending. We got our daughter back from the brink and have been making hay ever since, even though the emotional after effects haven’t been all that easy to cope with. While the last thing on our minds was travelling when Maggie was undergoing treatment, Jo and I promised ourselves we’d travel if we survived. We promised ourselves some time together as a complete family, away from the worry.

In 2012 that dream came true and we hit the road on an extended 10 week trip to see Europe. A World First travel insurance policy helped us make that happen. They didn’t see Maggie as someone with a tainted history that made her a bad risk like other insurers. They saw her as someone who wanted to go out there with her family and explore, despite her previous health issues, and were able to offer us an affordable policy to cover any eventuality while we were away. It gave us the peace of mind to hit the road and have the time of our lives.

So there you have it. That’s why we support CLIC Sargent’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Thanks for listening.


*Martin is a freelance writer, a World First policy holder and a big fan of CLIC Sargent. His daughter Maggie is now 12 and has been cancer free for almost 11 years.

The World First Wander: reading, UK road trips, motion sickness and secret London.

Friday, September 11th, 2015

The World First Wander: reading, UK road trips, motion sickness and secret London.

Welcome to our weekly look at what’s hot in the world of travel and travel writing from around the world. It’s a mixed bag this week as we are looking at motion sickness, travel reading and some secret spots of London.

Golden hour: taking great travel photos means staying out late or getting up early...

Golden hour: taking great travel photos means staying out late or getting up early…

We start off this week with motion sickness. For those who suffer on planes, trains, boats and automobiles it can be really debilitating. However, with a little advice from Jodie Young you may be able to make the crossing without feeling green. Check out Jodie’s 25 tips for dealing with motion sickness. Incidentally, we also wrote about motion sickness on our own blog recently, with the post How to avoid sea sickness this summer.

If motion sickness is a problem then you could always stay closer to home and explore the UK, which is exactly what Tara of the brilliant Where is Tara? travel blog did recently. She started in Bristol and then headed for Scotland on a good old fashioned road trip in the UK, taking lots of great shots along the way. Have a look at The beauty of a UK road trip. Incidentally we just voted for Tara in the 2015 Blog Awards Ireland, so if you like her road trip post and would like to vote for her too, click here to vote Tara.

Talking of photography, we found a great post recently in the Independent about making the most of the golden hour when you are travelling. And in case you weren’t aware of it, the golden hour is the hour before sunset (or just after sunrise) when everything looks better. If you like taking pictures then Travel photography: Making the most of the golden hour is a must read.

From photography to reading now. For some people, the only time they have time to read is on holiday while they are sitting on a beach with a pina colada in hand (and why not?). What would be your favourite way of skimming the pages? With an ebook or a good, old fashioned paper version? But for others keeping the reading habit on the road can be tough. Annemarie over at Travel on the brain has written a great article all about reading on the move. How to keep your reading  hobby while on the road is a good read… give it a go.

If you like reading and fancy a long journey to finish that novel from cover to cover, then maybe you ought to consider the UK’s longest train journey, from Penzance to Aberdeen. And while you are there (or before you go) you could do worse than break the journey in Ayrshire (if that’s geographically possible). Anyway, we found a blog, Top things to do in Ayrshire and it’s certainly whetted the appetite for a trip up to Scotland.

Say you decided to take that journey? What will you read?  If you are stuck for ideas then let Sabina over at Girl Vs Globe help with her brilliant list of Inspiring female travel memoirs. From climbing Kilimanjaro ( we can insure you for that ) to Eat Pray Love (the film of is truly brilliant according to  our social media man Tristan) to getting lost on three continents, there are some great reads here.

Let’s do some sightseeing now. This next blog is brilliant. It’s from our friends over at Hand Luggage Only who always manage to pull it out of the bag (or should be suitcase) when it comes to brilliant travel blogging. This one is no exception. So if you want to go to London but don’t want to hit the usual tourist traps then 15 secret spots you have to see in London will be right up your alley. And who’d have thought there’d be a cockney cash machine? Would you Adam and Eve it?!

Until next week.

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