I've made a decision to add an extra one to the trip. A conversation with my niece last night got my mind on all kinds of missions.
Let me tell you about her. She's 17, her Mum's 2nd child, her Dads first, a middle child in essence. She's a really sensitive soul who worries about anything and everyone, she has a heart of gold. Her sister is 8 years older than her, the first child, and a very headstrong young woman. Her brother is 3 years younger and the longed for boy on both sides of the family. As a result she always tended to get overlooked slightly (I know a lot of middle children claim they have been but she really has).
3 months before her 13th birthday her Mum died after a really long battle against cervical cancer. The eldest was 20 and left to make her own way in the world - she'd not have had it any other way - the younger 2 were packed off to their Dad, his wife and her 2 grown up daughters. Neither of them wanted either child, taking them in only because their Dad didn't want people talking about him if he'd not. I wish he'd not, I wish now, knowing what I know they'd been put into the care system, and ordinarily I would never wish such a thing on any child. I couldn't take them in as I rent a room in someone else's house so don't have the room for them - if only I did.
Anyway, she is pretty much treated by them all as a modern day Cinderella - her brother hates having to live there too but thankfully his best friend's Mum allows him to stay over so often he's practically moved in with them; he's also treated slightly differently at home because he's a boy (the step-mother had only daughters and the father only ever wanted a son).
Last night I got a phone call from her. She was in bits, crying her eyes out. There was nothing I could do or say to comfort her. She's missing her Mum, needs her Mum, her Mum isn't here. She deserves a break, something to look forward to, offering to take her with me would give her something to look forward to, something positive to focus on; she could sure do with it. I know it means another person traveling but she'd not really add anything extra to the costs for me and her could share a room so the only extra would be her airfare which when using budget airlines won't be that much extra.
So now I'm not just asking for your help for me, but for my niece too. I did look into whether it would be cheaper if I took her to do the trip I did before - the flying 20 minute visit to places - but it would work out the same price and we'd not get to spend as much time at the places we want to stay at. I know 3 is an odd number and the friend I planned on doing the trip with doesn't like such things but as he's made no effort to raise any kind of funds for the trip he's not really got any room to be making demands, and if by chance he did decide he wouldn't want to travel with us, then so-be-it. I'm quite capable of driving and we're not going to places where we would be at any more risk than if we were holidaying over here. I'm now more determined than ever to raise the funds. It's not just about me any more.