Odyssey holidays - free! For you!

Hi ladies and gents,
I am recently back from an utterly wonderful free Odyssey Holiday. I have had one of the best weeks of my life, and I’ve had some pretty good holidays in my time!
I have to urge you all to apply to go on one. Odyssey is a charity that organises outward-bound type holidays for people at any stage of having cancer. It is for men and women, and costs nothing at all to go on. All the money is raised from local companies, corporate sponsorship and donations.
There are holidays in three regions: Kent, Wales/Midlands and Scotland. The whole idea is that you go on your own, not with anyone you know, and each day you have no idea what you are going to do until you arrive at the activity.
They have about 14-18 spaces on each holiday, and ours ran with quite a few spaces. It seemed such a waste as it costs the organisation almost the same to run it for 16 as for 9 (the number we had).
The leaders were utterly lovely amazing people. They took such wonderful care of us and told us all we needed to know, what to bring etc. The food was wonderful. It was a complete break.
All you need to be able to do physically is walk 1 mile and climb a flight of stairs, and you could honestly have a go at all the activities with that level of fitness.
I did some amazing things I’ve never done before.
The website is www.odyssey.org.uk. Have a look and put your name down. They are used to people changing plans at the last minute as that’s the nature of cancer treatment.
Lots of people on this site have been and will testify to how good it is.
The others I went with were such a laugh, we had a real giggle and I’m sure we’ll keep in touch.
Go on - you know you want to!
love Jacquie

I did this last year in Kent and it was truly amazing - things i have never done in my life and never expected to at gone 60!!! I was concerned about walking a mile and was assured if it was a problem I would be transported that extra mile :). What really added to the experience for me was there were 5 others on our week from bcpals so it was a lovely opportunity for us to get to know each other better. They normally have a greater mix of cancers but I wasn’t complaining!


Hi Jacquie and Dawn,

I am looking forward to mine - i’m booked on one at the end of the month and am getting excited about it already.
Can I ask though - I know they like to keep it a bit secretive, but what sort of accommodation is it?


Hi Kate
Sorry - youre not getting that information from me. Just lets says it is sufficient for your needs and leave it there . You can report back when youve experienced it for yourself perhaps…

The best part is the secrecy and I would die rather than let a prospective participant know what happened each day.

Having said that though -in reality the leaders have not only plan b but also plan c and they hinted at plan d for good measure! So nothing is set in stone.Even if I told you exactly what I did each day of my wonderful course you may well not do anything I did at all.The weather conditions ,leaders and makeup of each course dictate what happens.

No matter - relax and let them take care of you .Go with the flow and come back refreshed and ready for anything.

Have a great time

you really have my curiosity flowing now! this sounds really great and i so wish i could do this, but i have rheumatoid arthritis and have had 3 joint replacements - do you think they will still take me!!! glad you had a good time and to all those about to go, have fun, and wish i could be there with you. soooo jealous
Deb x

Deb phone the no. on the website - Charles and ask him.


this sounds fab am going to have a look. Don’t know that i can walk a mile though.
Thanks Jacksey i always follow your threads.


Lovely write up - I’m going to get in touch with Odyssey. Many thanks.


I know many many people who have a tremndous time on an Odyssey Holiday but it really makes me furious that specialist free cancer holidays are always outward bound themed. (Sail4 Cancer…great if you like saling). Well I have always had a minor disability which nvolves very poor balance, an aversion to heights…severe vertigo. I can’t swim, can’t sail, can’t climb up a rope…didn’t walk till I was over 2 and have spent my life having to put up with people telling me what fun are such actvities as abseiling, tree climbing, swimmign, sailing, skating, cannoeing…you name it. No wonder I got a good way with words…had to stave off the activity bullies somehow.

And now I have cnacer and the best that can be offered me is a free holiday testing my physical limit on a pseudo outward bound course where to add insult to injury as well as wearing a wetsuit I am supposed to camp on the ground in a bloody tent to prove what a brave and wonderful cancer patient I am. Perhaps the large number of spaces on your holiday tells you something about the lack of demand for this veyr particular kind of torture.

I lke group activities of the sedentary kind, I like a gentle walk but I do not want to physically challenge myself…I’d like a cancer holiday please in a nice hotel with my own king sized bed in an en suite room with wonderful food, good conversation, massage, and a stroll. How about it Odyssey…cancer jounney supremos??


I know you have expressed your feelings on the Odyssey experience many times Jane, despite none of us ever saying what we actually did and I know your views on this secrecy too!!! BUT if your description of ‘wetsuits and camping on the ground in a bl**dy tent’ are meant to represent what you think was asked of us then it wasn’t my experience! I would have been the first one on the train back home :slight_smile:

I’m sure Odyssey don’t read these forums and would be interested in your comments. Why not mail them the link?


Sounds brilliant, but then I do like outdoor activities - if that’s what they do Dawn. I swim and walk and although somewhat restricted by lymphoedema like to give everything a go. Definitely will look them up.


Hi Dawn!

I am simply making the point that not everyone with cancer likes outward bound type holidays and would lke some organisation to note this and provide alternative kinds of hoidays. I have definitely seen pictures of Odyssey participants in canoes and I definitely don’t do canoes.


I think you have some preconceived ideas about what this holiday involves. It’s all about new experiences as much as anything else. I don’t think there were many things on my Odyssey experience that you would not want to take part in. The idea is to have the opportunity of trying things you might not get the opportunity to do. I am someone who likes her creature comforts and i had a great time. It really helped me. It was the first time I’d taken my wig off. I really worried about being out of my own home and the lack of privacy which i hated because of my prosthesis, but it was fine. I met some fantastic people, and had some great conversations. Some of the people there were terminally ill or had physical problems such as colostomy bags etc. and everything was catered for very sensitively. And no-one would be able to deal with that if the facilities weren’t good enough. One chap was having a bad day and simply stayed near the minibus and read a book.
I would so like you to give it a go. From what I know about you, you love company and conversation and discussion and as long as you like the countryside, I’m sure you’d enjoy it.

HI Kelley

I know that most people enjoy these holidays and yes I do have preconceived ideas… what else can you expect from website pictures of the great outdoors on a bad weather day? Yes I like reading books, talking to people abotu cancer, having great conversations, but I don’t want to do them on what is essentially an outward bound holiday. In her opening post Jacksy described the holiday as an outward bound type holiday and from what I have read on the website this is the philosophy behind it. Its all about doing physical challenges and I simply don’t want to do that. Great for those who do but not for everyone!

I don’t want to try any of the things I think are on offer at Odyssey so why would I want to go…there have to be alternative ways of having great conversations surely?


I am probably the furthest from an outward bounder you could meet.

I am physically inept.I cant swim-never learned-and fall at the drop of a hat.I am overweight and out of condition.I dont have much upper body strength and have lymphodema in my right arm.
I had to borrow trainers never mind walking boots !

I too doubted if I could walk a mile but it was no problem. I also do better in a conversational setting - and am not enamoured by the great outdoors unless I am firmly behind a picture window. I was looking more for a change of scenery and pace and put my trust in the idea that I could opt out of anything if I so chose.

I chose not to opt out of anything. I came home in one piece having had a whale of a time and with good friends email addresses. We are meeting up again soon.I never laughed so much -at one point I seriously thought I would not be able to breathe in again.

I will not deny there is outdoorsy stuff - its run by outward bound trained staff -but there is another side to it that is equally ,perhaps more so, important and given equal if not more time .

So if you are hesitating I would say go for it.


I’d love to go on a short holiday break at a spa type place. Swimming, massage, yoga - these things I could manage if I can just go back to bed and sleep if I need it. This would give both me and my OH a break. It would be good to socialise with other people, and be somewhere where they wouldn’t be surprised by my having no breasts, no hair, moon face, Tellytubby tummy - yes, I’m on steroids.
If anyone knows of such a facility, I’m sure that I’m not the only one who would be interested.
Love, Lynn

Hi Lynn/All

The only place a bit like that which springs to mind is one for lymphoedema sufferers in Austria! I think it’s the ‘Vodderschule’. Of course, if you don’t have lymphoedema, it’s no good, but they treat all kinds of lymphoedema people there (primary L as well as secondary L) and so they are well used to people with non-standard bods. I’ve not been there, so can’t speak from experience, but there is a post or two in the lymphoedema section of this forum, which might be of interest.

Re: the Odyssey holidays - just had a look at the website myself (to see what it’s all about). I think I can see why some would love it and others be less enthusiastic. If it floats your boat, then go for it - we’re all different and some will surely derive great benefit.

I’m the opposite of Jane - was always active, really, really sporty - but I don’t know now that I could bear to take part in something, which, with the best will in the world, might serve only to remind me of how limited my options now are. On my own, I’ve learnt to concentrate on the few remaining physical activities that, if I’m careful, don’t screw up my lymphoedema/tennis elbow big-time - mostly walking and swimming. How I manage my physical activity is a very personal thing for me. I think I know where you’re coming from, Jane…



Girls Hello!!

I went April 07 in Kent and it was everything and more that has already been mentioned. The element of surprise ( nice) is paramount so, as has been said, nothing can be revealed! I would urge anyone to go ~ it could be life changing! I am still in touch with some of the other participants.

rosemary x

i say each to their own - i can’t think of a charity which does spa/relaxation w/ends… maybe time one was established - because I can see that both have value.

PS ~ Bahons2 ~ there were people on my course with all sorts of physical difficulties ~ ( I have lymphoedema mildly in my leg!) please dont be put off. there are activities for all ~ contact them and ask.