Where my EFL journey started.
Very early one morning, aged 12, I found myself staring through the wire fence at a pink BAC 1-11 aeroplane parked on the tarmac at Luton Airport; I was slightly confused, but at the same time buzzing with excitement. My father had just told my younger brother and I that we were getting on that very plane and going to a place called Mallorca.
We had never been abroad before; Southend, Dorset and South Wales being the most exotic holidays we’d had. This was not long after Generalissimo Franco started encouraging mass tourism to Spain and foreign travel was opened up to the non-rich, with the significant development of aeroplanes for leisure purposes and the rise of the package tour. It may seem incredible nowadays that this new found opportunity to travel abroad made Mallorca an incredibly exotic destination at that time.
I remember staring (once more) at a tree with oranges on, only this time staring in amazement; I had only seen them in the greengrocer’s before! In only 4 days on the island, we went to the famous Caves of Drach, toured the capital Palma (and were stunned by the Cathedral), went on the old railway up to Valdemossa (Chopin’s town), rode a pony in the hills, visited a local liquor tasting bodega (yes, my brother and I did slip down a few when the adults were too busy trying them!). We did so much and the memories of that short trip are so vivid even to this day.
Without doubt, that is where the ‘travel’ seeds were sewn and my interest in learning about other cultures awakened. Having later studied Business Management, I could easily have followed that same path into commerce as many of my course colleagues. However, after a few years of dabbling in the office scene, I chose the TEFL route; a route that has taken me on a fascinating, at times exotic, constantly learning road through the EFL land of opportunity and on a career journey that has been incredibly varied with so many junctions and crossroads of choice that I have experienced very few dull moments. It has proved to be a wise choice.
And now, many, many years after that first experience, I have just returned from taking my son to Mallorca. Much is the same as it was back then, I am pleased to say. Obviously there are far more planes going to Mallorca, more tourists , more hotels and more attractions. However, there is one major difference that occurred to me. My son is not yet 9 years old and he has been on 30 flights, including 6 long haul, and he has already been to Spain eight times before this trip. How travel has changed!