Happy 60th birthday to my mum!

This is me, having a final photo with my mum and sister before starting my two day journey to the other side of the world. Our last photography together as I boarded the train for London before departing from Heathrow to Sydney. It was my mums birthday yesterday (on the 15th) and unfortunately I wasn’t there to celebrate it with her. Of all the perks of long distance travel, being away from family isn’t one of them.

mam birthday

She loved the flowers we sent her, although I hope she didn’t forget to take them home after having a few too many glasses of fizz during lunch with friends. Sometimes I wish I was able to be at every milestone occasion, but I have to remember that it isn’t possible. But to be present at all, even if it is via FaceTime, is just as good if it is the only way possible. Technology allows us to be there at the click of a button, something generations past were not able to. No longer do we have to resort to a letter in the post and hope it arrives within a couple of weeks. Although the flight is roughly 24 hours, high quality, video communication is instantaneous and free over WiFi. How incredible is that?

Thank you for being the best mum I could have asked for and always being there for me. Although I wasn’t there to celebrate with you, the high chance that you will be able to visit me in Australia- a dream destination of yours- keeps me motivated. This makes being so far from family very worthwhile indeed, and that it is important to remind myself of the reasons to travel in the first place!

 

The difficult side to travelling

Sometimes emotions hit me in waves. Today this was the case, I suddenly realised it is Christmas Eve and that I have left my family back home to live on the other side of the world. I haven’t felt Christmassy at all in 30+ Celcius temperatures, so it is a feeling that has crept up slowly and only really had an affect in these hours before Christmas Day… Making an appearance as I watch the stores close, roads empty and hear family conversations and arguments from the open windows of the neighbours homes.


As I waited for the train today, sweating like crazy in the humidity and starting to feel slight regret for not being at home with family, I considered whether it was the right decision. Was it selfish to leave my loved ones despite them being happy that I am doing what I want to do? On one hand it is the time of year that families get together. That also means that a lot of families spend plenty of time apart, and I have been lucky to have lived very close to my family when I was in the UK. 

On the other hand, it is just another day. December 25th is no different to January 15th or June 29th. It is just one day. If I miss being with my family for this 24 hour period, it gives me 364 other days to make up for it. Also, my family will try their best to make the trip out to see me early next year, the country my mum has always wanted to go to. Travel has not been as much of an interest for my mum since my dad died, so helping her find that spark again would be fantastic.

Not a promotion. I saw this ad and it hit me right in the feels.

I’m tried of having to sacrifice time with my loved ones to pursue a travel goal. But if it was that easy everyone would do it. Nothing gives me more motivation to be successful however than the thought of being able to afford to have my family travel with me. This is what I want more than anything. 

So Christmas Day without my family will be a blessing and a curse. It’s hard, but it makes me want to try my best to prevent it happening in future. To be able to do what love with the people I love without sacrificing one or the other. 

I don’t know the meaning of this 

As I was walking down to Circular Quay yesterday before uploading my most recent post, I noticed this huge building but I didn’t lift my head any further than eye level. It seems one of the columns supporting the building was projecting messages from members of the public. Some of these messages were intended for other family members, others seemed to have just been thoughts they had at the time.


Only one character wide, they moved pretty fast vertically and I had to stand there for quite a while against a river of commuters to read a full message. One, although I cannot recall the exact wording, was from someone that wanted a grandparent to visit over Christmas, hoping they would be able to but the travel costs are expensive. 

It was a little glimpse into the lives of others that I was not expecting at all amongst the millions of people I walked right by. In a city like Sydney, particularly in the CBD, chit chat with a stranger is pretty rare. So to have such a deep look into a persons life and thoughts in amongst all the anonymity and unfriendly rush of big city living, I was happy to take a moment and get to know some people a little better. 

The sad things is, I have no idea who those people are or where they were when providing these quick insights. All I know is that their thoughts were there for me to read on a busy crossing and this helped me get to know them better than the people I was standing right next to.

Fascinating.

My 1000th blog post!

This blog post brings me a mix of emotions. Firstly, I cannot believe I have typed up one thousand blog posts on WordPress to get my thoughts, frustrations and opinions out there to the world. It has been a great platform for me to do so and I thank each and every one of you for following me whether it has been years, months or days. For me to dedicate my time to anything for a prolonged period is a challenge, so this achievement seems pretty surreal. It just shows that if you have a passion for something, you gain a work ethic.

IMG_5474

Coincidentally, this is also four years to the day of my fathers passing. I woke up to the reminder as a relative posted a compassionate message on Facebook to my mother, sending her love and thoughts. It would have also been my uncles birthday Wednesday, we lost him to suicide two years before my dads passing. I am not very good with remembering such dates, which to me isn’t needed as I remember daily anyway. My mum, she stores these dates as well as a computer does.

Now I don’t like to bring up such events too often, however it would seem very strange if I didn’t given the timing. I can recall two occasions I have posted about losing my dad, Has a Star Ever Told You it Loves You? and Fathers Day Reflections. Today over Skype I had a chat to my mum regarding many things and one was a pact that my parents made when they were younger. They decided to live their retirement days in their twenties and travel around the UK and Europe. This is something I choose to do as my dad did not make it to see his retirement. Life is too short and the world is too amazing.

cropped-img_130911.jpg

I cannot imagine having to work a lifetime in hope that I reach my retirement age. Why should I wait so long? If I have the energy now, isn’t today a better time to see the world? It is a gamble that I would rather not take and if today is a guarantee, I would rather do it now than risk saving it for a tomorrow that may never come. I am so grateful to learn this lesson from my parents and sadly, losing a loved one is often the catalyst in making decisions that were once considered ‘risky’ or ‘overly adventurous’. I would be lying if didn’t admit there are occasions when I feel like I have less reason to travel. On the other hand I have more reason now than ever. Right now, my sister is travelling through Spain, we both share a very similar mentality to what our parents adopted in their youth. Travel now, find a career later. Time is precious and we don’t get it back. I am tired of being told to wait for the right time or that good things are coming to those that wait. They don’t. Good things come to those that go out and achieve what they want to achieve.

My advice to anyone is that tomorrow is overrated. Treat today with a little more urgency as the potential you possess today won’t always be there. The sun will set tonight, make sure you do as much as you can to achieve your dreams before it sets as although it will rise in the morning, there is never the guarantee that we will be there to witness it.

IMG_5382

Priorities

The clock barely struck noon. As I ordered I wondered if it was too early for such large quantities of meat, at just £9.50 for two courses I was going to give this great Turkish restaurant my best shot. I spent late morning/early afternoon with my mum, I need to make family time when I can. September is just around the corner, relatively speaking.

img_3644

I have realised after the loss of my dad that family time cannot be a burden. I used to take it for granted, only for a great part of it to be taken from me without much warning. Three months to be exact. I have started to cherish the family arguments and fall outs a lot more, these in turn have become few and far between. We spend much more time making time of value, it is a great shame that we sometimes learn lessons after the test.

I have also learned that as far as I may search for someone that shares my core beliefs and ideologies, the ones bringing me up may be the best people to speak to. I may spend my whole life looking for someone that understands me as well as my family. Some people do not have this, a huge reason as to why I blog. I hear of family members being disowned or shunned out by family for thinking differently, I cannot believe this is a reality so many have to face. The irony of being an atheist is that despite my appreciation for stars forming the beings that brought me into this world and proving shelter and care, if I was born at the wrong time and into the wrong family, they may punish me for coming to such a conclusion. The love of a parent perceived from a scientific perspective is too much for some parents, rejecting a religious outlook can lead to a complete reversal of such love, whether it be abandonment or even murder. This terrifies me. The fact that some people on earth can show love until you openly practice a separate belief… If this love can be taken so quickly, was the love there at all?

I thank my family, those still with me and the ones that aren’t, for allowing me to come to my own conclusions. You are the tolerant heroes I need in an intolerant world.