Exploring the world through the web

Experiencing life in any way you can.

Blessing 101 – Hitting the front cover! April 10, 2012

Today I woke to a tweet saying Disabled woman ‘s virtual holiday to London will bring the Olympics closer to home. It was sent out by the local newspaper Twitter account and I realised with a burst of excitement that my article on the new Holidays From Home virtual London trip must have been in. I was so relieved and pleased. I followed the link and saw the brilliant article. I was really happy with it, it covered everything I wanted to say.

I dispatched Mum to go round to the paper shop, where she got several copies; but I was amazed and slightly horrified to see my face on the front cover! That’s the first time I’ve been on a cover and I was on page 9 – my lucky number!

Front cover of the Evening News

Mum took me round to the shop later in the day because they had a board up outside with a headline about my being in the paper and I had to see it for myself. We even took a picture….

Holidays From Home in the Evening News, the board outside the paper shop.


When you send out a press release, you never know if anything will come from it; but I was so delighted with the coverage and very, very grateful.


Blessing 57 – Taking the plunge and setting goals. February 26, 2012

I’ve always got ideas of what I want to do, a general view of where I want to be and what I want to be doing; but often the daily to do lists can get in the way of working towards the big goals. Today I went to a meeting of NINny (Norwich Independent Network) and we were focused on goal setting for 2012. We ignored the fact that it was nearly March, writing January and February off as sleepy months.

It was interesting hearing how vague everyone was, how hard they (like me) found it to pin themselves down to a specific goal within a time frame. It’s scary making a statement that this is what you are going to achieve by this date, the fear of failure is enormous, which I guess is why it’s so much easier to stay vague, so you don’t get disappointed; but you also don’t have the ability to measure your success and appreciate your achievements.

Somebody pointed out that it’s okay to change your goals, just because you write it down doesn’t mean you have to do it, if things change or you’ve been over ambitious you can alter it as you learn. It seems obvious; but I had never thought of it that way, it just seemed like a failure if you didn’t do it and who wants to set themselves up for failure?

I think setting a goal pushes you to reach a bit higher, aim for slightly more and maybe go bigger than you would otherwise, because whatever the outcome you will achieve something, learn and grow just by following your dream.

Apparently just by writing a goal down, you are more likely to achieve it. Your subconscious automatically starts working on the problem and looking for solutions – sounds good to me. So here goes – my goal is to produce and sell 500 of the virtual London holidays by 27th July (the first day of the Olympics). It’s scary to write it down; but I just think of each of those 500 sales as people who can’t travel; but who could really benefit from the virtual holidays. People like me, who are stuck at home and frustrated about that. Fed up of watching the rest of the world living the life that they are meant to have. They, like me, want to do something, anything, to have fun, despite being at home.

The goal is set, now to make it happen!


Finding inspiration in an unexpected place August 16, 2011

I’ve been blogging since the beginning of the year and I’ve really enjoyed it. I love the range of topics, especially the ones about deeper subjects that really get you think; but the funny part is this whole time I’ve been looking for ways to produce my virtual holidays in a way that makes them accessible and quick to get out there. I can’t believe I never thought about blogging them before! It seems so simple and obvious now, that I feel a little dim for not coming up with it earlier. I’m not sure I ever would have if it hadn’t been for an article in Marie Claire about the use of blogs – I read it and it was one of those moments where everything falls into place.

So that’s what I’m doing, I’m blogging my new day trips, aiming for one a week and also asking fellow writers and travellers to get involved to create their own trips. I’ve already got a few people working on different places, including San Francisco, Mexico City and Hawaii! I am really excited to get it all under way and to start getting the holidays out to the people who can really benefit from them.

I’ve been thinking a lot about why the virtual holidays are so important to me and I’ve realised that it’s all about freedom. For so much of my life I’ve felt really trapped because of my ME/CFS. I’ve been stuck in a body that won’t do what I want and won;t get better and this has meant I’ve also been physically confined to the house, and for six years just one room. It’s incredibly claustrophobic, especially when my deepest wish is to be able to travel. So for me the holidays represent freedom, the chance to escape, mentally if not physically. I want to be free and help others feel the same. Holidays From Home is the only way that I can do that, so that’s why it’s my passion, my mission in life. I may not be able to physically free you from what ever is imprisoning you; but I’ll do all I can to help your spirit soar.

Check out the virtual trip to London I’ve just done – and the reason why I didn’t let the riots stop me here… http://holidaysfromhome.co.uk/blog/london/virtual-london/


Describe your first encounter with a celebrity. April 27, 2011

Describe your first encounter with a celebrity.

Ok so I’ve met or had encounters with a few “celebrities” over the years, I’ll start with the least famous and work up.

Wally Webb is a local radio presenter and he was a family friend – a very minor celebrity you say; but he’s the guy that Alan Partridge is based on, so much cooler. Though a little embarrassing for him.

Then I met Bill Odie at a bird talk he gave when I was 10. I amazed my family by going up to get his autograph during the interval.

The next and proper celebrity I met was Stephanie Romanov aka Lila Morgan in Angel. She came to Norfolk to do a talk and I was in the front row – because of my wheelchair (it does come in handy sometimes!) I asked lots of questions and then got her autograph too. She was really lovely!

My final and most exciting encounter with a celebrity was when Mum and I spent a week in London a few years ago. We had afternoon tea at the Dorchester. Kate Moss walked past us and then we were waiting outside for a cab when a load of paparazzi turned up. I nudged Mum and told her I thought someone must be coming to the hotel and then Sharon Osbourne pulled up. She turned for the paparazzi to take a picture and I waved at her and she waved back! It was all very exciting!

It’s weird really, celebrities are just people; but you do get a thrill from meeting them.


What’s the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you on a bus? March 22, 2011

Filed under: Life,Post a Day 2011,Travel,Uncategorized — Claire @ 11:40 pm
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What’s the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you on a bus?.

When I first read this title I thought it wasn’t at all relevant as I hardly ever go on the bus. The only times I have been on a bus in the past few years was firstly the London Tour bus, which was interesting; but a huge amount of time seemed to be spent with people getting on and off, or waiting for more passengers to come.

The other bus trip I took was just before I moved. There was a bus stop outside my house, which was fairly new; but we had never used. So me, my Mum and brother all went into the city on it. We felt like we really ought to before we moved. It was interesting with the wheelchair, especially when Simon had to basically dead lift me and the chair to get me into the space. I’m fairly adept at turning in tight spaces; but I’ve no idea how most people manage on their own. I remember spending most of the ride clinging to the pole and praying my brakes would hold. The embarrassing part is that you have to sit facing everybody else on the bus, so they could see my look of panic every time we went round a corner or horror of horrors a roundabout!

In fact that reminds me of travelling in black cabs, in London, in my chair – imagine how scary those journeys can be normally, hurtling round corners, zipping through traffic, horns blaring, rude gestures for surrounding drivers – then imagine you’re sat in a chair on wheels, with brakes which on solid ground seem quite secure; but in a moving vehicle seems really flimsy. It all makes for an incredibly scary journey, as you feel as if you’re going to suddenly be propelled out through the windshield. I can safely say I feel very grateful to be alive by the time I get out!


Walk like an Egyptian – Cleopatra’s Needle August 18, 2010

Filed under: Travel,Web — Claire @ 9:02 pm
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I love how varied my research can be, I’ve been finishing downloading photos of London – including Cleopatra’s Needle and the Sphinx.  Iconic landmarks in London. Did you know that Cleopatra’s Needle in London, is one of a pair of identical obelisks, the other one is in Central Park in New York? I found out while searching for photographs and then came across this great blog of information. http://londoniscool.com/cleopatras-needle-london-titbits/comment-page-1#comment-20027

There’s a time capsule in the obelisk which was placed there when it was erected by the Victorians! I love time capsules, I’ve always meant to put one together and bury it somewhere. What would you put in one? Photos definitely, a newspaper, maybe a good book; but what else?…


Amazing photographs – ShutterStock August 17, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Claire @ 7:41 pm
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It’s been a while since my last post – things have got really busy; but hopefully I’m back to it now.

I’ve been spending lots of time downloading images from Shutterstock – an amazing website http://www.shutterstock.com where photographers upload their images. I needed images for the new version of the New York holiday; but after subscribing for a month I then wanted to use up my daily downloads.

I’ve been trying to find images I can use for virtual experiences and came up with a few ideas – swimming with dolphins, hot air ballooning, a pirate adventure and a princess fairytale. It’s been incredible looking through some fantastic images. I wish I had that kind of eye to be able to see great shots.

Today it’s London pictures – one of my favourite places in the world. It’s so beautiful and the photos really capture the place!


Download royalty free London Skyline from St Paul’s cathedral to the Monument stock photo from Shutterstock’s library of millions of high resolution stock photos, vectors, and illustrations.