We kept blogs of our 5 week journeys to Western Australia in 2008 and the ‘Top End’ in 2009 and I can no longer imagine travelling without keeping such a record to share and for posterity. The irony of my personal philosophy, when I travelled independently in my 20s, that ‘life was for living not recording with a camera dangling inanely around your neck’, is not lost on me. Life is a funny like that sometimes and one is best to laugh at such cosmic jokes.
As I said in 2008, when reflecting on our travels in WA, that Kiama is a salubrious place to return to after a trip. Nothing has changed. It is great to be home.
I asked the kids and Kate what were their highlights of our 4 months overseas and here’s what they listed. Kate says, in no particular order:
- The British Museum
- Becoming teary at the momentous experience of all that culture and history at Westminster Abbey
- Arriving in Naples, the craziness and how nice people were in that city
- Our day on Capri
- Hong Kong (especially after dark and the night markets)
- The food – especially yum cha in Hong Kong, pizza in Naples, Denmark, and the Brick Lane ‘Aladin’ restaurant
- The Space Mountain roller coaster ride (or at least Darcy screaming and laughing hysterically in the darkness of spaaaace)
- The pure joy on the girls faces playing with new Danish friends at SFO (after school in Viborg)
- Hong Kong Disneyland
- School in Viborg
- Masks in Venice
- The boat ride around Capri
- Being in London
- walking the Appian Way and along the Tiber in Rome
- catching a taxi to Roma airport with Joe Jackson on the radio
- teaching Marianne’s and Kim’s classes at Viborg Katedralskole
- helping ‘the bloggers’ and Aleksander at Viborg Katedralskole
- Photographing Anders Fogh Rasmussen at Viborg Katedralskole
- Being in London again, where I want to live
- Finally visiting Westminster Abbey
- Walking by myself for a day and taking a great Mountain Goat tour in the Lake District
- Watching Sarah handle a real crush on ‘the tube’ in London with serenity and good humour.
- Lucy in Macau speaking to a bookshop assistant so beautifully, “excuse me, do you have any children’s books in English”
- The kindness of strangers and new friends
- These three photographs
My final special memory is catching the bus every morning, with Kate and the girls, to school in Viborg. I loved how the girls dressed, with their gumboots and ‘school uniform’. That ‘tunnel’ looms large too.
4 months is a long time to be away from home with young children. Lucy and Sarah, I can honestly say, expressed no feelings of homesickness at any stage, during our time away. I am proud of them for this and the way they travelled positively, ate well and walked endless kilometres as we explored. They talk with strangers confidently, make friends easily and enjoy a joke…often at my expense.
Lucy is very keen to travel, on a school trip with me, to Korea next year. Her big dream is to journey to Egypt and Sarah will happily accompany her. Kate wants to go to Japan and I will happily accompany her!
This has been a trip to remember and one that came about unexpectedly, with an offer of exchange to Denmark. I hope that we can travel in Europe again, when the kids are older, and see Spain, Greece and Eastern Europe. Not sure when that will be but we look forward to our future travels.
I heard someone once say, of young children and experiences, that ‘folders are opened in their minds’ and they will be accessed and added to for many years. This works for me as an image of what travel does in regards to learning. I hope that ‘the folders’ opened on this trip will prove more than just useful for the girls in the years ahead but memories that are joyous.