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Around the world with Sylvia

Carol Martindale

Around the world with Sylvia

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Sylvia Dighton has travelled all around the world.
No joke. She’s been to the Galapagos Islands to view the amazing and exotic wildlife there, she’s been to New Zealand and Australia where she and her husband and Anthony stayed for a year – six months in each country; Kenya, where she experienced an exciting Safari tour, and India, where she and her sisters went in search of tigers.
Add to the list of places she travelled to Hong Kong, China, Cyprus and Bethlehem.
And that’s just some of the places she has visited.
Dighton, who is on her annual trip to Barbados to visit her daughter Lisa, says even at 70, she has no plans of giving up on seeing the world and experiencing new cultures.
She lives in the smallest county in England, called Rutland, which is situated in Lincolnshire and said she and her husband are of like mind when it comes to travelling.
They both want to see the world and enjoy all that it has to offer – even now.
In fact, they both retired relatively early – he at 50 and she at 55.
Today, they spend their time doing the things they enjoy.
She recalled one day when her husband said to her they should go on a trip.
“I said to him where do you want to go? He said he was thinking about Australia and New Zealand. I asked him ‘so how long you want to go for?’ He said ‘well about a year’.”
The husband and wife team then rented out their home and were off to their year-long adventure.
“We didn’t want to plan it. We just wanted to do whatever we wanted to do. I remember we had to have two sets of luggage, one for New Zealand because it is quite cold and another for Australia. In all we had about four suitcases”.
She then recounted the details of how she planned a two-week trip to the Galapagos Islands . “I didn’t know what to get my husband for his 60th birthday but he always wanted to go to the Galapagos Islands so I decided to book a holiday there. That was the most amazing place. He loves the outdoors, he loves the birds, so that was great. You have to fly into Ecuador and you go into the Galapagos. We had to go on boat to visit the islands. We went around one of the islands – there are so many there – we saw so much wildlife. It’s unbelievable there.”
Again, to celebrate another “big” birthday, the family flew on the Concorde. Her son Shaun was going to be 21 and her husband was going to be 50.
It was a big surprise for the family which didn’t really travel together because they own and run the Fields View Kennels in Cambridgeshire which boards 70 dogs and up to 50 cats, as well as some exotic animals.
said that when she was younger she always read books about safari adventures and that piqued her interest.
While in Kenya, Dighton got to visit and dance with the Masai, an ethnic group of semi-nomadic people who inhabit Kenya and Tanzania.
“I wanted to dance with them. That’s what I always wanted to do” she said.
In India, Sylvia and her sisters went looking for tigers.
“Honestly, we did. My sister was going to be 70 that year and she said she wanted to do something exciting so I offered to book the holiday to India”.
They travelled through jungles on elephant-back looking for tigers. Needless to say, they never found tigers, but instead, saw tiger prints, she said, chuckling as she told the story of that wild adventure.
Being an animal lover, Dighton didn’t miss out on an opportunity to travel to Alaska for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, the annual long-distance sled race which is usually held in March.
“I was very interested in how dogs were fed for this race,” she explained, recalling that she booked a hotel near where the race started.
This was an especially exciting trip for Dighton, who is a professional dog trainer.
With all the travelling Dighton has done, she has not only great memories of the places she has visited, but also souvenirs and mementos that help her remember her exciting journeys.
From Australia, for example, she returned home with the boomerang, one of Australia’s most unique and distinctive emblems.
She also has a didgeridoo, a wind instrument developed by indigenous Australians.
On this trip to Barbados, Dighton doesn’t need any souvenirs; she is just happy to have the memories of a great Christmas with her daughter and grandson Ashton.