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What the last 48 hours has taught me about travel

PAPHOS, CYPRUS – Or, at least, that was the plan. A two week sun-fuelled, sea-soaked holiday for my lovely 12-year-old daughter (Milly), my lovely mum, and me; with the chance to blog about the whole experience and share it with you.

But life had other plans.

As we walked to our gate, my mum said she felt flushed and sick. I thought it was just her flying nerves and, rather ashamedly, didn't take her very seriously.

That changed as soon as we got on the plane and found our seats.

My poor mum looked stricken. I told the cabin crew she was ill and they fetched a sick bag.

Things then went from bad to worse.

Mum became violently sick and was moved to the rear of the plane.

A few minutes later, I was asked to come to the back of the cabin and the crew told me that they'd need to phone their medical team to assess if my mum was fit to fly.

If not, we'd have to be off-loaded.

My poor mum was so upset. I couldn't take it all in. And my poor daughter was still sitting patiently on her own in the cabin, surrounded by disgruntled passengers.

Ten minutes later, the cabin manager broke the bad news: mum wouldn't be allowed to travel to Cyprus. She was too sick. The paramedics had been called. And we'd need to be off loaded.

Although, it was a heart-breaking shock at the time, I now thank our lucky stars that Thomson said 'no' to flying.

It later turned out that my mum had (or, should I say, 'has' – she's still in hospital as I write this) septicemia.

If she'd become sick whilst in the air – 30,000 feet over the Agean Sea – it could've been a case of life and death; it doesn't even bare thinking about.

Mum, Milly and I were transferred off the plane, into an ambulance and taken to Solihull Accident and Emergency.

From then on it was six long hours of tests, waiting, more tests, more waiting, and a lot of tears.

Two days later and this is the latest: mum is on the mend, slowly. She is still in Solihull Hospital, but she is definitely brighter.

Milly and I are back at home just waiting and praying that mum's given the all clear in a day or two. Then she can return home where my dad can look after her.

I can't stress enough how wonderful everyone has been.

The Thomson cabin crew were exceptional, helping me with my tears and my mum with hers (the only one of us who didn't cry was Milly).

The nurses in Solihull have been remarkable; staying by our side when my mum was being assessed, listening and sympathising and reassuring us during the horrid shock of it all.

Milly's dad, Philip, has been heaven-sent; driving up to the hospital to help and being a rock of support to me and Milly since then.

And Milly – well, she has been the most selfless, sensible, mature 12 year-old I could've asked for. Thank you darling.

So, what has all this taught me about travelling?

It's taught me that travel isn't a right, it's a privilege.

It's taught me that to make it safely to foreign shores, with money in our pockets, the people we love by our sides, and our health intact, is something we should never ever take for granted.

Because in the blink of an eye, it can all turn out very differently.

Stay safe my travel friends.



Profile photo of Claire Robinson

Meet Claire. An award-winning freelance writer, based in Gloucestershire, England, with an obsession for travel and gin. Her difference? Everywhere she goes, she seems to bring calamity along also. So her stories have a humorous edge - and are mostly about Claire making a travel buffoon of herself. For Claire, too much travel content is serious and high-brow. Her take on travelling is the opposite - her view is a fun one, with a lightness of touch that makes travelling feel real and human. And if she makes people laugh along the way with her tips, personal stories, and guides, then all the better.

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