Your dream holiday…. for free!

I woke up with a heavy heart. 6:30am was too early to be getting up when I was on holidays. I slowly came to, had a shower and breakfast and we were off. It was a half hour journey to work. It wasn’t long before my mood changed. We saw an Emu, startled by the noise of our approach, race across the road, mystical in the haze. The sky was blue, the road sides were rusty orange. And it was hot – in January. I was with my best friend, Fergus, on our way to work in the Devil’s Lair Vineyard, Margaret River in Western Australia. We were on our way from Perth to Sydney and had stopped to take in the beautiful scenery and find out what it was like to live in such a beautiful part of the world.

Morning in Margaret Vineyard

Thanks to iStockphoto.com

There were many moments like this. I got to know other back-packers, energised by the break from their normal routines and quirky locals. We chatted while we worked in the sun. The air was always full of birdsong: the cuckaburra laughing, gollas warbling.

It is one of the nicest ways to get to know a place: a working holiday. The benefits: a unique, fully paid for holiday with free exercise, healthy eating, camaraderie and perspective.

Now I’m married with children, anchored to Dublin with a mortgage and few working opportunities. Are those days gone forever? No! I’m determined not to let this hold me back.

Teaching in Jaca

Teaching in Jaca

I’m restricted in my choice of working holidays. But there are still some available. My plan for Summer 2014 is to take time off and work in Spain. This time as an English teacher in beautiful Jaca. The children will be 5 and 7. I’ll enrol them in the attached school for Spanish lessons. Its a long way off. But I need to dream. What’s your dream holiday?

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What Spaniards are reading

I attended the Diario de Navarra’s electronic book club webinar two weeks ago hoping to find out what it’s members were reading and to get a snapshot of what Spaniards are interested in. I was interested to find out that the Diario de Navarra is the only newspaper to have a book club in Spain.

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Belen Galindo, co-ordinator of the Diario de Navarra´s book club

Among the Diario de Navarra’s most popular authors are Juan Jose Millas and Pamplones Juan Gracia Armendariz. Recommended reads included Disgrace, by J.M. Coetzee and Juegos De La Edada Tardía, by Luis Landero. (I haven’t been able to find a translated version of this.) Against The North Wind, unfortunately not yet translated to English, by Daniel Glattauer, was recommended as a Summer read.
Writers to watch for the future are Margarita Leoz, Ignacio Lloret and Julia Montejo.

Incidentally the Diario de Navarra is a centre right newspaper similar to the Irish Daily Mail.

How does this compare to what you are reading? Are you interested in any of these writers? Feel free to comment.