To my children, (Currently age 21 & 7)
I hope you always understand why over the years I have spent our money on travel instead of material items……..
It is probably difficult when you are small to comprehend nor appreciate the magnitude of travelling. When I was a child we never left the U.K., holidays were once a year, visiting relatives, staying in caravans or youth hostels. It didn’t matter though because those holidays are the memories which are always at the forefront of my mind; good times, happy times, family times, fun times. Occasionally stressful times or times when we argued, but each holiday a precious memory from childhood which I remember with clarity.
My parents like most of that era never had much money. Looking back our Christmas and Birthday gifts were very low cost, a board game, a new Teddy Bear, a pretty dress or pair of P.J.’s -but finally age 11 a new bike which I know was a massive thing for my parents to be able to finally afford for us. Generally though I don’t member the material things which they brought me. I am sure many toys simply got broken and were in the bin by the time the next Christmas came along. I do remember the holidays though…all of them, those were the priceless gifts which my parents gave to me which can never be disposed of.
I wish for you the same priceless memories. Both of you have travelled extensively from a very early age and I know you won’t remember those earliest trips – maybe selfishly those first memories will be mine and mine alone, but they are my memories of watching you happy, laughing. care free, playing, absorbing the world around you and having your spirits enriched each and every day. I watched you as you grew, communicating with people from every walk of life, not caring what colour their skin is, who they loved, who they voted for or what religious path they did or didn’t follow, you were both just totally accepting of each and every person we met for who they were and not what they were.
As you grew, so did the pride in my heart, I so wish so much that you could see that inside of me to fully understand it. Even in the moments when we may lock horns, my love for you never waivers, not for one second.
They say that the two best things a parent can give a child is roots & wings. I hope I have given you both. I grew your bodies within mine, I hold your hearts within mine, but your minds? – they are yours and yours alone. I have travelled so many miles with each of you, sometimes with one of you and sometimes with both of you. I know that as each of you grow and become more independent that your wings will take you off on adventures of your own, you will make your own choices, follow your own dreams and make your own memories.
When one day you look back over your childhoods though, I hope that sometimes your thoughts will be of the miles we travelled and adventures which we shared together. I hope you will come to appreciate the memories we made rather than forgotten broken toys. I hope you may cherish these memories, keep them somewhere safe and re-visit them from time to time. Maybe one day you may even recall these stories to your own children or even your grandchildren.
Most importantly, I hope that wherever your journeys may take you, that you still remember where your roots are and that those wings will always guide you safely home.