LAURA CARTLEDGE Life’s like That...I’m off to Africa – and will wear paper clothes if necessary...

I know I have said before that journalism isn’t as glamorous as it seems. But sometimes there are exceptions. And this week is one of them.

I am happy, nervous and downright dumbfounded to announce I am off to The Gambia.

I know! Its madness isn’t it? Little old me off to big old Africa – I’m not sure when it is going to sink in. But I don’t really care, as being in a daze suits me fine, hopefully it’ll stop me getting nervous.

Despite loving travelling, I have never been the best at it. As one air hostess I met when I was very little will tell you. I spent the whole flight telling her how I wanted to follow in her footsteps, only to have to hand her a bag of something unpleasant after landing.

I am happy to report I have improved on that front. And luckily my sister is a worse flyer than me so I can usually distract myself by making sure she is okay.

But not this time. I am venturing alone, for the first time, and it feels like I am going in at the deep end. Hopefully the person who gets lumbered with being next to me on the plane won’t mind if I hold their hand...

Anyway, enough dwelling on my wimpiness.

As my mother says ‘it isn’t nerves, it is excitement’, and whereas I am pretty sure it is both, it is better to concentrate on the latter.

The Gambia Experience invited etc magazine, of which I am feature writer, to review their new hotels and have a whistle-stop tour of the country.

And when I say whistle-stop I mean it, as I will be away for just four days – something which caused much confusion when it came to getting my vaccinations – apparently they don’t get many requests like that.

Anyway, jabs aside, I’ll be honest. It didn’t take me long to decide if I wanted to go. I have been in love with Africa forever. It is just one of those countries that gets inside your veins and when I was lucky enough to visit South Africa in 2004, I knew it wouldn’t be my last trip to the continent.

And while just being there is exciting enough, I am really looking forward to one particular part of the trip which will be to see the work of Bognor-based charity Nyodema when I visit the schools and students they have helped.

I am just going to have to be careful when it comes to packing as I am planning to take as many pens, pencils and pads with me as I can.

So knowing my luck, I could end up having to fashion clothes out of stationery for the duration of my stay.

* My clock’s right again!

Some people’s favourite part of the clocks going back is the extra hour in bed and lighter mornings. But that is not why I like it.

For one, my bodyclock isn’t told of the change and for two, I like dark mornings. Knowing the planet is sleepy too as I struggle to get up and out makes me feel better.

No, for me, the best thing is the clock in my car is once again showing the correct time.

laura.cartledge@jpress.co.uk