Ey up gang, how’s it going?
I’m trying to be a productive lil babe and get this travel post up for you whilst I’m still in the moment, flying at 30,000 feet whilst despo for a wee, a nap and a fresh cup of coffee. Whilst I’m still giggling to myself about prosecco jokes and nursing sunburnt shoulders and excited, beyond anything, to be reunited with Chris and the cats. Because I hope that this way you get it exactly as it is and not as some vague memory sloshing about in my brain, distracted by emails and the washing machine and hang the fuck on is that someone knocking at the door?
So here goes, gal pals. Hope you like.
The last time I traveled as part of a posse of 10 bloggers on a trip abroad was this time last year for Trek America. And there’s something daunting about being with that many internet personalities in such an intimate way for an extended period of time.
Will you like them? Will they like you? Or will everything feel awkward and forced and will you feel like the kid at school that spent lunchtimes walking around on his own eating a muffin.
And will you be able to switch off? Will every waking moment be consumed by talk of Instagram shots and YouTube subscribers and sponsored content? Will you even be a real human person with the ability to make normal offline conversation once you’re back to the mundane reality of every day life?
The relationships I made on Trek America feel etched into my soul, even now, and I feel like I share some deep, sneaky secret with all of the people I traveled about Utah in a mini van with, no matter how often I see them.
Like we experienced something together that no-one else will ever be able to feel.
And so, when an email landed in my inbox about a five day jaunt to Lanzarote with Thomas Cook Airlines and a big ol’ group of fellow bloggers, I took a deep fat juicy breath and said yes. Because travel and adventure and opportunity is one of the things I’m trying to prioritise in 2016 and because well, I wanted to feel that attachment to like-minded people again. That WE SOUL SISTAS FO LIFE tie that’s so hard to feel when you never spend more than about 90 minutes with any given blogger at any time.
I wanted to connect with people who got it. Who knew the drill. People who were just like me but y’know with different hair colour and a different back history.
And so, last Thursday, I headed to Birmingham airport with a suitcase full of sassy swimsuits and new Mango summer dresses ready to tackle what I knew would be an all-consuming and jam-packed trip to the Canary Islands.
I went to Fuerteventura twice as a kid, but never Lanzarote. I made friends with stray cats and was enchanted by the black volcanic sand and got braids in my hair. And Lanzarote has a similar vibe and it’s hot most of the year round due to its just-off-the-coast-of Africa location.
Spoiler: I didn’t get my hair braided. Sob.
We stayed at an apartment complex on the south coast of the island, just 10 minutes from the airport which was a sweet, sweet joy after a three-hour train journey and four-hour flight. And were all greeted with a sassy lil bottle of cava in our rooms and a late night dinner buffet <3<3<3
My room was a swanky little suite complete with two bedrooms (for my imaginary friends, obvs), a lounge, a balcony and a supersize shower. Naturally I made the entire place a mess littered with charging cables and mini Clinique products. Here’s where I’ll make some sweeping comment about being a cliché blogger. Soz.
Over our few days of Lanzarote exploration we visited some of the most insanely breathtaking corners of the island – we explored the Timanfaya national park, home to an active volcano, we shot outfit photos at the quirky museum dedicated to artist Cesar Manrique and we explored little fishing villages and squealed with OMFG THIS IS INSANE at the turquoise blue view from Mirador del Rio.
Oh and we trekked through some underground lava caves that once served as the only place on the island that the residents could hide from invading pirates. So that was pretty damn aces. I like to image the pirates wore bandanas and eye patches and had parrots on their shoulders.
Lanzarote is, without doubt, far prettier than the drive from airport to hotel had given it credit for – I guess you just need to know where to look. You need to be ready to get your toosh off your sun lounger and peel yourself away from the cocktail bar, to explore and experience.
But my favourite moments, as with any travel trips, were the unplanned ones, the moments that just happened.
The late night wander to a McDonald’s next to the hotel for a saucy little double cheese. The midnight chats in bed with fizzy wine. Watching a man gut fish for a local restaurant and feeding the scraps to stray cats. Face timing Chris from bed and looking like some hideous relative of the blowfish. Buying rounds of cocktails and spilling life stories in a hotel bar during a freak rain storm. Discussing who would play us in a movie whilst bonding on the outward flight. Giving piggy backs. Eating Snickers ice cream. Drinking shots of honey rum over fried squid and paella lunches. Making up dances and songs about said honey rum.
The thing about press trips is that it’s the people who make it. The people who give you the memories, and the destination that gives you the backdrop to the photos that frame those memories forever.
And Lanzarote, you did a pretty sassy lil job. My Instagram feed has never looked so tropical and fun and I haven’t felt this inspired to sit up late with a couple of litres of my old pal Diet Coke and write straight from the heart, straight from the pits of my soul.
So thank you Thomas Cook Airlines, for introducing me to new friends I can’t imagine a future without, and for opening my eyes to the charm and beauty of Lanzarote.
I know where I’ll be heading for a spot of winter sun. ‘Cos let’s face it, life’s sweeter when there’s a palm tree and a cocktail in your peripheral vision…
P.S. My Lanzarote vlog is going live this evening over here. I’ve been told it’s ‘funny’, so give hima watch won’t ya?
P.P.S The Thomas cook Airline plane food was some of the best hot food I’ve ever eaten at 30,000 feet. THERE WAS GNOCCHI.
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(Reversible tote from Armani Exchange)