To the parents

me at five months oldParents. Love them or hate them, you are usually stuck with them. We don’t get much choice or say as to who our parents are, and given the overall influence they end up having on our lives, that’s a pretty big thing.

I’ve just returned from a stop over in the UK, a stop over which felt a bit like the filling in between two mighty loaves of trip, a year in Oz (just done) and a year in New Zealand (about to start). A week of this was spent staying with my parents, who I hadn’t seen for around about fourteen months, and who I am unlikely to see again for a potentially similar amount of time.

This, I would suggest, is the main problem with travelling. It is, by it’s nature, an almost entirely selfish activity. We set off on our trips, floating around the world like hot air balloons whisked into a giant jetstream, and end up leaving our friends and loved ones far behind. Certainly, we can keep in contact, via the myriad social tools available to us these days, and I did my best to keep my parents in particular involved with my trip around Oz, sending them updates via e-mail as to every aspect of my trip, which they then carefully plotted onto a giant wall map of Australia. In some way, it felt like they were partaking. But it’s obviously not the same as physically being there.

So, my parents. They are incredibly supportive, and in fact, have been throughout my life. My love of travelling is entirely their fault. When he was in his early twenties, for example, my Dad set off on a road trip around Australia, in a classic land rover. (Well, I had to get the idea from somewhere.) When I was growing up, I was carted off all over the world. Europe, Africa. Nowhere was entirely out of bounds. My safety, I’m sure, was always important, but new experiences were deemed a necessary part of growing up.

When I was about to turn eleven, having led a relatively normal life up to this point (other than the year or so living out of a VW camper van), they moved to the Seychelles, and took the rather brave decision to take my brother and I with them, where we ended up having to educate ourselves whilst living on a tiny desert island, a long long way from anywhere.

When I turned fifteen, and decided I wanted to leave this island paradise and go get educated more thoroughly in a boarding school in the UK, they were again tremendously supportive, and sent me off into the world. And so it goes. All through my life they have continuously let me go my own way, and make my own mark on the world, always willing to offer support and advice where I wanted it. More recently, I rang them up to inform them that the seven years of career I had had, built upon the private education and university studies that they had funded, were probably about enough, and I felt this urge to go and see a bit more of the world. Again, support and advice were offered. Criticism was not.

So. I’m not saying my parents are unique. Anyone willing to take up the mantle of responsibility and sleeplessness that producing offspring requires must be a pretty wonderful person. But i feel lucky to have them, and thought they deserved to know. Thanks for reading.

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