• Sheryl Gwyther

#6 My new career ... travel agent

Think I'll become a travel agent. But who'd have thought this much research, reading, organising, deciding, pouring over maps, distances, train and bus connections, currency, language difference, timing, baggage weight limits etc. goes into planning a 7-week overseas trip through three countries?

I'm a machine. As soon as I see a map of Germany, France or Italy, I slip into travel agent mode. I know how to get the best from Booking.com, my favourite accommodation site (where my 'genius' status gives me 10% off).

And how to strike at the right time to get a good deal on France's SNCF train system, and where the OUIBUS bus stop is in Brive-la-Gaillarde in the Dordogne region.

I know how long Trenitalia's FrecciaBianca 9723 train takes to speed from Turin's Porta Susa station to Vicenza ... if there's no strike at the time. (I love the Italian way of doing business. The Rail Unions let everyone know there'll be a strike on at a certain time a few months ahead - you can check the alerts ahead. Everyone wins ... except those tourists who aren't aware of the ways things work in Italy).

Yeah, I'm pretty chuffed with what I can do now - even with our dining room table sprawled with papers, guide books galore for three countries, maps, lists, French, Italian and German phrase books, books on Vivaldi and my travel folder that travels with us. God help any person losing that. (Ross!)

I was kidding. Travel agenting's not for me. Doing it for yourself is fun, but imagine sorting out overseas travel for fussier people than me?

No, give me the life of a writer! It only requires bloody hard work and persistence, thought, creativity, rejection, acceptance, friendship, fun, heartache and joy. Easy, peasy!

Until next time. Signing off...