Love is . . . a life on the open road

I've been to many places around the world so thought I'd share things I love about travelling...

France, especially Lanquedoc Rousillon
Eurostar, premier seats though
Virgin Atlantic’s choice of movies
BA’s Business class movie screens
Premium Outlets for shopping madness
Grimsby fish and chips
Massage on a Thai beach
Lobster and prawns at the Park Hyatt Goa Resort
Silk trousers from Bangkok
Noodles from a Hong Kong vendor
Animals on safari in Kenya
Rio Carnival for being the best in the world
Tobago for being so chilled out
Friendly faces at Jakes in Jamaica
Pink sand in the Bahamas
People-watching in Las Vegas
Disney World, Orlando, can't get enough of Mickey
Ireland because my dad was born there
Edinburgh on New Year's Eve
Venice because you have to love it
Wine-tasting in Stellenbosch, only white!
Swimming in the forever warm Caribbean Sea
Biking over the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco
Gazing at the awesome Taj Mahal
Helping build a nursery in a Cape Town township
Screaming on Universal's The Hulk
Seeing the Pope at the Vatican
Drinking champagne at the bottom of the Grand Canyon
Christmas in New York
Coffee from Jamaica's Blue Mountains
Crabbing in Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk
Necker Island, who wouldn't?
Pashminas from India
America and even Americans
Walking in the Lake District
Driving across the US, even with a two-year-old
Handbags from Buenos Aires
Eurocamp for great family holidays
No-hassle souks in Damascus
Bon Sol hotel in Majorca
My Antler Duolite case and my Apple iPad2, love them
...and all the people in all the world who I have had the pleasure of meeting



England fans help African kids

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africakids
With England fans and township kids

WE’VE all seen celebs do their bit for the kids in African townships and now it was the turn of England fans. The burly, beer-swilling followers of football were in Cape Town to see England play Algeria.

But on the eve of the match, instead of standing at a bar, they got stuck into building a desperately-needed extra room at a kindergarten in the Masiphumelele township about 45 minutes from the centre of the South African city.

The fans had bought World Cup packages with Thomson Sport which is committed to supporting local communities on trips abroad and encouraging their customers to respect the culture and people of destinations they visit. Working with their sister company i-to-i, which specialises in volunteer travel all over the world, they chose to help Masiphumelele — which has a population of about 30,000 with nearly half of them HIV positive.

So on the eve of the match, the footie gang including me got to work. We started out with planks of wood and sheets of tin, and within three hours of banging in nails and slapping on paint, the 62 kindergarten kids aged nine months to six years — who are there so their poverty-hit parents can work — had a new room.

I feel very humbled. What do we have to moan about in the UK?

Jake Hall, 20, a Newcastle supporter, said: "It's really great to be involved. It makes me feel I am doing something right. There are 62 kids in this kindergarten which is no bigger than my bedroom. Now they will have so much more space and even more kids can be cared for." His friend Sam Funnell, 23, a Brighton supporter, added: "It has been a superb day and a great achievement."

Gary Hunt, 47, a Preston supporter out in South Africa for the group stages, said: "It's an eye-opener and the poverty here does not compare to any we might think we have at home. To have travelled with Thomson Sport knowing that we have helped pay for a new room for the kids makes me feel so emotional. It's great to see this side of South Africa and not just the nice houses and big buildings we saw on the way. It's a different world altogether."

Kate Thompson, 62, a Leicester City season ticket holder, saved £12,000 by going back to work two days a week as a college archivist so she could go to the World Cup. After visiting the kindergarten she said: "I feel humbled. What do we have to moan about in the UK? It is amazing what the volunteers can do and I am delighted to have helped finance the building by coming to the World Cup."

Karon Cronin, 41, a Portsmouth fan, said: "For us it is really investing in the community and changing the lives of these children. The more we can do to help, the better."

Jo Bearcroft of i-to-i had tears in her eyes as the group finished the extra room and said: "Having you all here has made a tangible difference to the children's lives.

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