What influences you to travel? Or should I say, who? For me, there is one clear answer; my parents.
I love telling people their story. Telling of how my Dad sailed around the world and my Mum travelled across Egypt and ended up in Durban. Both from England they met in South Africa at a friend’s party, lived there for a few years before returning home to have little old me.
Ok so that’s the much simplified and much romanticised version of events but the fact behind the story is that both my Mum and Dad loved to travel. When it came to making a decision about going to university, even now when I think about my career choices, I look to them for guidance and again and again I find that the stories they tell most often, the parts of their lives they seem most proud of is the times in their lives when they were travelling. I loved hearing stories about their far flung adventures and even more so I always appreciated them taking me on amazing trips around the world. I knew I was lucky to go on holidays every year and I still believe that getting to experience amazing new places at a young age is the best thing you can do for a child.
Sadly, when I was fifteen, my Dad passed away suddenly from an aneurism. My Mum and I had always been close but since then we have become even more so. Anyone who has met me on the road will know that I talk about her all the time, sharing the travel stories she’s told me, telling them about her ever practical tips and generally talking about the everyday things we get up to together.
Yesterday was my Mum’s birthday and I want her to know how proud I am of her. Along with my Dad, she has been an inspiration to me not only towards travel but life in general. It’s her wise words I follow when I’m feeling down. It’s her unconditional kindness towards others that I try to emulate. It’s her ability to find the best in a situation that I think about when things are going wrong.
When I was getting bored looking round the NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida she told me to find at least three things that interested me there, teaching me to see the positive all the time. Even now I look out for those key memorable moments I’ll take away from any experience. In Peru we climbed Manchu Pichu together but I was equally as proud of my Mum having the confidence and the chutzpah to get our whole tour group sorted out one breakfast when they were milling about awkward and unsure. She shows me to always be myself and to have confidence in any situation. Even now, on this trip, she is still taking care of me from afar after making me awesome laminated translation cards to tell people about my nut allergy. Everyone I’ve shown them to has been so impressed.
My Mum started travelling when she was eighteen and she left home to be an au pair in Canada. Since then we have had some amazing adventures together and she continues to travel on her own too (much to my jealousy because I want to go to all those cool places as well) and I hope I do the same when I’m her age. I hope I too live my life never letting anything stop me or hold me back, never being afraid to travel no matter what my age, no matter whether I’m on my own or with friends or with family.