Thursday, 12 November 2015

Travel: A wanderlust inspired by my parents

One of the defining characteristics of my childhood, and therefore biggest memories of my parents, is of a family obsession with travel. My dad was self-employed and made sure he never worked in the school holidays - lucky us, this meant we were free to head to that year's destination of choice.

There were weeks spent in Tuscany, where we befriended another family and us kids were horrified/delighted to hear about a drunken skinny dip resulting in one of the parents getting stuck inside a rubber ring. That made for an interesting breakfast the next day.

Or the time we got horribly sunburnt in Malaysia, completely unaware that such an overcast day was actually so potent. There were countless drives down through France after long, lumpy ferry journeys overnight, or the time a car caught fire on the sleeper TGV somewhere on the outskirts of Paris.

The big holidays included two years when we spent a month in America each summer. We swapped houses with families from Boston and San Francisco, and New Mexico and Seattle. I couldn't have been luckier, seeing so much of the world before even hitting adulthood.

These two are hungry for new sights and experiences. I'm glad that they're spending their retirement following their hearts and discovering the new. As well as regular trips to France and Greece, they recently spent a month in Bali, Australia and New Zealand, and are as into those house swaps now as they were years ago, peppered with an Airbnb or two.

I wonder where they'll venture next. A Caribbean cruise, perhaps – they’re big film fans so I can imagine them heading off to explore the Pirates of the Caribbean route to escape from the UK weather. Cuba appeals to their love of music and colour and excitement, so they’d be well placed to enjoy the white sand beaches of Playa Paraiso. Or, somewhere colder, a trip to the frozen north for the opportunity to see the Northern Lights, and the whales across the Article Circle and Northway, which would appeal to my mum’s love of wildlife.

Or somewhere really off the beaten track. Who knows? Nothing would surprise me.

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