My husband, Graham, and I had retired early to pursue our dreams of travelling the world. About four-and-a-half years ago, I didn’t feel particularly well. I kept going back to my doctor thinking, ‘something’s not right here’. It was all put down to the menopause but instead it was a cancer that’s misdiagnosed quite a lot, called a neuroendocrine tumour. It has spread from the small bowel to the liver.
It stopped us from going anywhere for the following 15 months. It is incurable but is being monitored. I have to have injections once every four weeks to control the cancer.
The diagnosis has made me want to travel even more. I have to get a special type of travel insurance now, and I need to make sure travelling fits in between these injections. In fact, I’ve been on a cruise where I took the injection with me. We found a nurse on board who was able to administer it in exchange for a bottle of champagne!
It’s important to try to make light of some of this. You can’t just be miserable all the time – you’ve got to get on with things.
Health issues aside, we are determined to travel as much as we can, and we do, basically, every month, [we] go away. So it’s very, very important.
Graham and I have been members of Azure since 2006. My family emigrated from Malta when I was nine months old, so Malta has always been important to me. We started off with one apartment in Golden Sands, then we progressed and purchased more and more. We always try to come to Malta once a year, sometimes twice.
We’ve also made a tremendous amount of friends here. It could be a 12-month gap but still, when we walk into the resort, everybody remembers us, whether it’s from the sales department, admin, the accounts, reception – absolutely everyone.
About seven years ago we lost my dad. Henri, the Guest Experience Manager at the resort, helped us arrange to take his ashes by boat over to a spot near St Paul’s Island, where we scattered them. In fact, Henri read the eulogy on the boat and the hotel arranged for a beautiful wreath to be made. Every year Graham and I go back to St Paul’s Island and say hello to Dad. We throw chocolate into the sea, because he was a bit of a chocolate maniac!
We used to do that from the coast but since we’ve been introduced to Azure Ultra’s Sunseeker yachts, we now do it off the back of a yacht. It’s amazing how close they can get to the very spot where we scattered his ashes.
Last year we were introduced to Azure X. It gave us the opportunity to do something more than just the accommodation stay. There are so many other things that we can get involved in. So we’re certainly planning to do a week at the Lake District Lodges, we’ve got our eye on the motorhomes and for the last three years we’ve been out on the Sunseeker cruises.
We like to share our experiences with our family. Last year, we brought my brother and sister-in-law out on a yacht. This year, we choose a larger yacht and we invited my aunt, who is nearly 80. She just thought it was unbelievable. We picked her up from Bugibba jetty and we were quite a spectacle. We felt like movie stars almost. People were taking photographs of us. It’s a beautiful, luxurious experience.
Next year, we’re already planning something bigger with the yachts – a trip to Sicily.
We try to instil our love of travel to our family. We tell our nieces, nephews and Graham’s children to see the world! It’s so important to experience it for yourself; the architecture, the culture, the fact that there are wonderful people everywhere.
That’s what we intend to do: just have as much time seeing the world as we possibly can.