I’m an inveterate traveller. I’ll put it down to growing up in the middle of the Australian desert. From the age of six weeks I was carted from coast to coast to visit and be shown off to distant relatives. As a child, I felt confined by the wide open spaces around me, so those twice yearly flights to civilization, must’ve given me a thirst to explore new horizons. Since there was no television service, I buried myself in National Geographic magazines, dreaming of travelling to places with exotic names like Mystic and Nantucket, Middlesex (where I seriously thought hermaphrodites lived) and Moosejaw, Kathmandu and Kabul.
I’m so desperate to see new places that if there’s an alternative route to return from that destination, I’ll take it!
However, an insidious realization has been nagging at me lately, and that is, that in spite of the beauty or benefits of travelling, I really miss my own bed, my own loo, my own shower.
Recently, I travelled around the south of England researching Jane Austen, where we stayed in the filthiest B&B you could imagine. The beauty of Winchester, where Jane died and was honored by being buried in Winchester Cathedral was tainted considerably by this experience and I’m annoyed with myself for letting this be so. It’s happened in other places too. Perhaps I need to consult a travel psychologist who’ll prepare me for the worst, so that I’ll be pleasantly surprised when it turns out to be better.
Now I’m on Corfu, an idyllic Greek Island, but again the accommodation is lacking. If we were paying half what we are, I’d put up with the less than clean bathroom, the un-mopped floors, the miniscule shower (18x24 inches!) the rock-hard bed and the dodgy electrical connections.
But what’s really upset me are the stray cats and dogs roaming the island. We’re presently feeding three kittens who’ve adopted us, bleating plaintively for food morning and evening. But what will happen to them when winter sets in and the tourists dry up? There’s no government run animal shelter on the island and the council controls dogs in some areas by baiting them! How inhumane is this? How sad that a civilized country’s answer to animal control is to allow them to roam free begging for food, or poisoning them? No doubt the female kittens will be pregnant as soon as they’re in season – provided they survive the winter. Although two of “our” kittens are quite wild, the smallest is friendly and sweet natured and would make a lovely pet, but there’s no such thing as animal adoption here.
However, I’ve discovered there’s a wonderful group of people who do their best trying to raise money to de-sex as many of the females as possible and set up feeding stations in various areas to try and tide the animals over the winter months. It’s a pity every visitor to Corfu and the other Greek Islands isn’t asked to donate five euros towards a non-profit fund for animals. I’m donating to have a female cat neutered and placing the Agni Animal fund website as my homepage, for which they’ll receive two British pounds per month (at no cost to me) for each of our family’s pc’s that has their site as our homepage.
So although this started as a whinge about how great travel is, but how much greater it is to get home to my own creature comforts, it’s ended as a plea to help those four-legged creatures who sleep on the streets and beg for food because there’s nowhere else for them to go. No warm lap to sleep on, no leg to rub up against, no human to call their own.
If you’d like to help, here’s the link to their website where you can read about the good work they do – http://www.agni-animal-welfare-fund.com/Index.asp
And here to make them your homepage - http://google.agni-animal-welfare-fund.com/
Meantime, I’m dreaming of getting home to my own comfy bed and a loo and a shower that I know are clean. But most of all I’m looking forward to getting home to my own four-legged friends and giving them an extra big hug.
Til next time…