Expat Round-up: Flights, sights & strolls

Last Spring, my sister and her boyfriend stopped off in Oslo, just for the day, as part of a two-week cruise. As my daughter and I walked to the ship to meet them, the city suddenly looked different. Scores of their fellow passengers were walking towards us, and as I looked across the harbour, I suddenly realised how beautiful it was. I felt like a tourist, and after five years of living in this city, it felt like my eyes were really open.

The sad thing is, I’ve walked past that harbour (called Aker Brygge) countless times. But mostly I’ve been preoccupied. Thinking of this and that, rushing here and there. But when I’m on holiday (or helping others with their holiday) it’s as though I’ve been given permission to look, and see.

There’s no doubt about it, whether you’re an expat or not, holidays are a tonic. You take pictures of the small things, such as what you ate, the church you visited, or even the bench you sat on. You look at things in an open and curious way, and celebrate the different.

And so, with the sun finally putting its hat on, I’m heralding in the new season with a travel-themed round-up.


Flights (with a baby or toddler)

In her post Flying with a toddler for 19 hours in the air, Sarah from Savvy For Me gives a blow-by-blow account of her journey. It’s priceless for getting you mentally and physically prepared for taking a small human on a long journey. In Sarah’s case, her trip was from Kuala Lumpur, to Tokyo, to Denver, to Phoenix. Yep, sounds exhausting just thinking about it!

And if you have a baby who just won’t fall asleep en-route, take heart says Jo, from Intrepid Bebe. She outlines 11 benefits to flying with a sleep thief. She writes: “If they aren’t asleep you don’t have to worry about them being woken up.” Plus: “If you’re a nervous flyer, a sleep thief is a great cure. You’re so busy staying calm for their sake, there’s no time for contemplating just how this metal tube is staying in the air.”


Sights (what to see and do)  

If you’re on a long trip and have a layover in Hong Kong or Dubai (or just fancy a whirlwind tour), check out 48 Hours in Hong Kong and 48 Hours in Dubai. In these posts, Aussie tour guide Jess gives the lowdown on how to make the most of these bucket-list destinations. She even gives detailed itineraries of exactly what to do, when, and where.


Strolls (awakening the magic)

Lastly, here’s a post from Maria Tumolo. Maria is a Trinidadian-born, Surrey-based parenting and lifestyle blogger. In City of Dreams: London, she reminisces about her experience of following the BFG Dream Jar Trail. Maria writes: “The trail ended last summer but have a look at the website to see 50 of the long-held dreams of celebrities and artists that were spread across London back then. As a wife, mother, sister, daughter, expat, Trini-British, HUMAN BEING, I know what those dreams mean to me. How about you?”

Maria’s post is poignant as she wrote it in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on Westminster Bridge. And despite what is going on, it’s important to keep looking, and seeing, and keeping dreams alive.

Taking pictures (even mental pictures) of the small things helps to clean the grime from the daily grind. It helps you to delight in the things that delight you – to sense motion, stillness, and time moving and stopping. And that’s something we can all do with. Better still, book a flight and jet off somewhere super-sunny!


As always, let me know if you have a post you’d like me to consider. Email me at greta@gretasolomon.com or message me on Instagram @greta.solomon


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About Greta Solomon

Greta Solomon is a writer, journalist and author. She teaches classes in writing for creative self-expression and is the author of Just Write It! (McGraw-Hill, 2013). She has been teaching, coaching and mentoring writers since 2006. Her clients have included executives from multi-million pound companies, students, entrepreneurs and creatives. She has a psychology degree and qualifications in life coaching, teaching and lyric writing. Born and bred in London to Caribbean parents, Greta moved to Norway with her Norwegian husband in 2011. They currently live in Oslo with their daughter, Savannah. Greta blogs about life, love, writing and self-expression at www.gretasolomon.com

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