Confessions of a Traveller with dog(s)

This time we get to ask Mummy questions.

Whenever we go on trips together – we know it’s a hassle for Mummy to travel with us than not.  We know she loves us and enjoys having us with her, but she also has the option to leave us behind. So why does she do it? We thought we would ask her.

D&G: Some humans say it’s unnecessary or even ridiculous to travel with dogs. You should just leave them home. How do you feel about that?

Mummy: There’s a time and season for everything. I travel on my own and I travel with my dogs. You are very much a part of my life, you are my family and I rather enjoy having the both of you around. Besides, you always manage to help strike up conversations.  I have often travelled by myself and when I do, people don’t really speak to me. But when I am with you, I engage with others a lot more because all the other dog-crazy people want to come and say hello.  Makes it all more sociable – of course there are always those who will think I am the crazy dog lady travelling with two! 🙂

D&G: How do you decide whether you take us or not on your travels?

M: For me there are two types of trips – faraway trips when it’s not worth taking the dogs because of climate changes, distance which means it is not easy to get you guys over.  So I bring along “Impostor” the two-dimensional dog for photo opps.P1020191“Impostor” in Ko Samui, ThailandIMG_2348-580x773“Impostor” at Burg-Al-Kalifa, DubaiTaj-Mahal-580x401“Impostor” at Taj Mahal, Delhi

Those destinations, for example, are too far away, far too hot and not very dog-friendly either, so I would never subject you to those situations.

But trips to the European continent is do-able though it requires more planning.  Trains to the nearby towns and cities on the continent are not difficult. It’s getting further afield that takes a lot of planning.IMG_4479-580x435Malta was a whole logistical effort of ferry, train, flight there and back.IMG_4351-580x435Stockholm was the same – ferry, train, flight both ways. But if one can drive, you can just keep going till you hit the waters.

So how do I decide whether I should take you guys along with me? Let’s put it this way, I take time out from you two when I go faraway, but all the local trips are meant for you guys.  I look for places where we can take walks together – on the beach, in the undulating fields – basically a change of scene from the city. I am not so sure if you really appreciate it but it has given me a reason and a challenge while I am enjoying the history and the beauty of these places I am discovering.

D&G: What do you have to do before we set off on our travels?

M: If it’s within the UK, it’s just planning the trip – if by train to try to travel off-peak so we don’t have to battle with the crowds, to book seats closer to the exits and quiet cabins.

If travelling outside of the U.K. we have to make sure that your Pet Passports are in order, that you had your annual check-up, all your jabs are in order. And of course there’s the return trip – IMG_4090-2-3You need to plan ahead the vet appointments before returning to the UK. This can be done through the hotel concierge, local friends or ask someone locally. We’ve also had vets that came for home visits (in Berlin).

And food! Since we feed Honeys raw, we pack enough of our food to take with us for the next two days before we get to our destination and then figure out where to sauce raw meat.  Surprise, surprise, they have butchers at most places we travel to or at a hotel, you can somehow order minced meat or sausages for my carnivores!

Also, some of these places may not be totally dog-friendly so I always bring your tote-bag along in case I have to carry you.IMG_3797-580x435-2

D&G: So with all that extra effort, why do you take us with you?

M: Because I need content to write your blog!!!! Why else would I take you with me? Just joking. 🙂

Well, to be honest, there is some co-relation. I started on this journey with you, Miss Darcy, when you came into my life. I have always been a traveller and when friends heard I was getting a dog – the alarm bells went off in all continents! Friends from San Francisco to Connecticut, from Dusseldorf to Kuala Lumpur, sister from New Jersey – all voiced concerns.  There was no way, they thought, that I could continue to be footloose and fancy free with a dog.  That I would feel tied down, might feel trapped, etc, etc. – not fair for the dog. Well, yes, they were right for two months.  But I wasn’t going to let you stop me and I needed to prove my friends PLUS sister they were wrong.  So it became a challenge to continue to be a traveller with DOG! And now DOGS!!!

But there was also an element of separation anxiety that I seem to have developed. So as a result, my long-distance trips have been curbed shorter.  I can’t and don’t want to stay away for weeks on end.  I limit my time to two weeks.

So why do I bother to take you on my travels?

  • To push the boundaries of where we can go together – as in the logistics of crossing over to the European continent and going as far as we can. Would be so much easier if I had the guts to drive in foreign land.  Would be even better if the planes allow dogs on board (some do – on the continent, and if dogs are small)
  • To make it a normal occurrence to travel with dogs. Why? So that others can learn from our experiences and be brave enough to take their dogs with them on their family holidays. No more kennels, no more being left.

There will always be some who will think it is ridiculous – to which I say, to each his own.  What we do is to show it can be done – especially for the faint at heart or those who never even thought they could before.

And since there are few far-flung exotic places that I can take you both, I decided to channel the need to explore to our own backyard rather than always looking further afield.  I made a list of places to visit and then the challenge of finding dog-friendly places.  Since you guys came along, I have seen so much more of Great Britain and learnt that there are actually beautiful beaches within reach.IMG_4347-580x386At Tenby, WalesIMG_9686-580x580Beaches in Dorset 

And so many lovely places one can stay at – both the sweet country inns or grand estates.photo-2-580x433The Grove at Narbeth, WalesIMG_1986-1024x768 At Culloden House in Inverness, ScotlandIMG_20641-580x435At Kinloch Lodge in Isle of SkyeIMG_8731-580x435Ashford Castle in Cong, IrelandIMG_3473-2The Peacock at Rowsley in the Peak District, EnglandP1010729-580x435-2At Cliveden House in Berkshire, England

I have a love affair with the countryside – but I have come to realise I can’t live out there permanently.  It’s better this way.  I get to visit them whenever I needed a change of scene from our lovely London and very dog-friendly neighbourhood – where I know I can take my pooches and never have to ask.

There’s quite a lot more to see. On the definite list – the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. I have this image of the two of you running in the Dales, well, maybe not George! And to relive my Wordsworth-loving days of the Lake District when I was last there at 18 years of age (a VERY long time ago).  Then I need to find dog-friendly places for us to stay in and eat at – already have a few suggestions from other dog-owners.

But when I do go faraway for longer periods, I have managed to find a place where I know I can leave you, knowing you will be happy.  My travels are so much more relaxed knowing you are well looked after and having the best time at House of Mutt.IMG_2291-580x435

D&G: Which of our trips has been your most memorable trip?

Well, some trips have been memorable for the wrong reasons – in the instance of whether we were getting on the flight to Malta while the officials at Dusseldorf Airport debated your weight and size. IMG_4340-580x435-2-2So that was not a good memorable trip.

I loved all our trips together.  Our trip to New York City was not only memorable for various reasons but probably the most meaningful. Firstly, it was a long trip, not just in terms of distance but also because we spent more than five weeks there. I travelled there to close a chapter of my life – and it was an emotional trip. But I was very excited to discover New York City with a dog. I had lived there several times for many years but I didn’t have a dog. So to go back and experience it with a four-legged friend was quite different. I discovered parts of Central Park I had never been to all the years I had lived there.  I learnt new things about the city – there are dog parks in the city – albeit rather concrete ones. I also learnt about dog-daycare – like Biscuits & Bath, where you spent a couple of days there because I couldn’t take you to my lunch meetings. I was also very thankful you were there, Darcy, it was an emotional trip and it really helped to have you with me.IMG_1240_2-580x870There were a few other trips too that were special – for example, I have lived in Paris and since visited many times, but now we too will always have Paris.IMG_4625-2And when in Milan and Dusseldorf, IMG_4895-580x435I took you to the neighbourhoods where I had lived and places where I used to go. IMG_4905-2Returning to these places with you meant I am writing new chapters of these places. My memories of these places are no longer limited to days of past, but these places now include you and George.  Both of you are now my family, my life.

D&G: Where else would you like to take us to?

On British soil? As mentioned before – the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District.  A little further – Isle of Scilly is on the list!  Heard we can fly in a plane altogether. Shall we try it this Summer?

I’m thinking somewhere you two can frolic in the snow like Switzerland or Austria.  Next Winter?  Maybe we’ll meet Jack, the labradoodle there!  On the way, since we’re going by train, we might stop in Liechtenstein – just for the heck of it! I’ve been there many moons ago and cannot remember a thing about it except for a castle on the hill.

A place I would very much like to return to is the Colombe d’Or in St. Paul de Vence.  That has always been a very special place in my previous life. I’d like to relive fond memories and to make it ours. 30670054I would also love to re-create new memories with you in Los Angeles but that is a difficult one to negotiate.  If I have the time, it can be done.  We could cross the ocean together on the Queen Mary II to New York.  But then we still need to cross the continent.  It’s a long way to drive and flying is not so easy. So will have to wait for that private jet opportunity.  LOL! Or maybe we can go to Washington D.C. to see Bella.  She’s not well and we can go cheer her up.

But what can we do in DC or LA since we can’t ever dine out together?!?!?!  Go for walks and shopping? Hmmm. Might have to re-think America.DSC05468This was one of my last days in Los Angeles before I left to come back to London. I was on the helicopter pad at The Century in L.A.  Now I would like to get into a helicopter with you! 🙂

So why do I travel with you? I don’t have to. I don’t need to. I want to. I asked you into my life – so while I live mine, you should be as much a part of it as possible.

9 Comments

  1. Daniel Hall

    Great Q&A. Since I live in NYC, I like your pix of Darcy looking in the sunset towards the west side. More about that another time. You must really like planning since that is really needed when you travel with your dogs. I have really enjoyed seeing so many great U.K. places where you have taken your dogs and also learning British words that make me Google them to find they mean. As another person suggested, you should consider writing, when you have time, a guide about traveling with dogs focusing on Europe.

  2. Elisabeth

    Indeed Darcy and May should wriye a guide to travel with dogs especially for Europe. I Don’t like driving on the other side of the road and not so keen to do mortoways and want to take PooMonster to Paris and Belgium to meet my family but to Blasting Eurostar not an easy job!! How did you do it May?

  3. Cheryl

    What a wonderful post. I have so enjoyed your blog and have learned so much more about London and England through your adventures.
    I agree with the others, the three of you should consider writing a book. It could be a bit about the places you travel, a bit about your adventures in London, and how you get it all done with the pups in tow! You are a great writer and you have lots of pictures so you just need to find the time to put it altogether. I’ll pre-order it now!
    Smiles,

  4. Neyra

    I’ve often thought you should write a children’s book about Darcy and George’s travel adventures. That would be nice to read to kids. A travel book and a children’s book…..you have another career:)

  5. Margaret Danks

    What a wonderful post family Wong. You should definitely write a travel book May.

  6. Jocelyn

    Really enjoyed reading about yr travels avec Darcy & George
    I agree with everyone you do hv a book in you. So when you hv time Lucca Fenton and I want to come to the launch. I know I hv a major planning job to travel from North London to South London so you do put me to shame X

  7. Rowena

    Just adding my thanks and appreciation, you’re an inspiration, thank you!

  8. Miami Malteses

    This was a wonderful interview! You doggies have really enriched Your Mummy’s life in so many ways..come to visit in Miami! it’s one of the doggie friendliest city in America! Most hotels are happy to have you! We would love to meet you for real! Paws and kisses!

  9. Oooo would love your thoughts on the long flight to Boston, USA with an 8 month old cockapoo! Lyra would be sad to not be with us for 5 weeks. 🙁 Althougth she would be with my husband for 3 of those 5 weeks xx

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