“Some people say they’ll travel when they retire, but my wife Sue and I have always travelled, even when it was less common. When we were both working, she’d say, ‘We should take the kids to some of these fancy places.’ I’d tell her we needed to pay off the mortgage, but as things turned out, she was 101% right.
In 2007, I was diagnosed with an incurable form of cancer which has limited what we can do, so I’m really pleased we saw lots of the world when I could.
I’ve been to America a lot and visited San Diego in California twice, but I have to say, my favourite place is Las Vegas. Sue and I went 15 years ago; we took our two boys who were in their teens at the time. We stayed in the hotel that’s shaped like a pyramid. When we arrived, we went to the rooftop pool because the kids wanted a swim. Outside it was baking – it felt as if the skin was going to peel right off my face!
Every evening most of the hotels had some kind of entertainment. There was an erupting volcano, the Eiffel tower and canals with gondoliers as if you were in Venice. Our sons got it straightaway, they said: ‘This is a playground for adults!’
Everyone has preconceived ideas about The Strip. I thought it would be a bit in your face but it was even more in your face than I’d imagined! It’s a 24-hour place with gambling machines everywhere. We don’t gamble, so that wasn’t for us, but if a traveller has a bucket list, I think Vegas should be on it. It’s bonkers. You need to see what all the hype is about!
I think, if I’m honest, it came at a good time for me. Work was great and it signified a time in my life before I tipped over the edge towards slippers and settling down in front of a warm fire! The fire I had was in my belly and I still wanted to see the world.Vegas didn’t disappoint.
My family had a great time and there was plenty for the kids to do. It wasn’t ridiculously expensive either. Often the kids could eat for free. When they saw the mountains of burgers and pizzas, they were happy, but there were lots of more upmarket places to eat too.
I was a business consultant before I got lymphoma, a rare form of cancer which attacks your lymph nodes. I had cancer in my neck, groin, under my arms and in my bowel.
I survived when no-one expected it, and now I spend a lot of time trying to support others with cancer. I still love to travel but I tend not to fly so much. My wife and I are going to try our first cruise from Southampton this year!”
:: Chris Lewis blogs on cancer related issues at www.chris-cancercommunity.com and is a supporter of Dimbleby Cancer Care set up by the family of Richard Dimbleby. Visit www.dimblebycancercare.org to find out more.