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To go, or not to go…

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2004, my daughter and I in Paris, obviously…

The travel bug bit me at the age of thirteen.

I remember clearly, it was one day in an English class that I decided that after I finished university, I’ll become an air hostess so I can see the world. Those days there were strict parameters that you had to fit into to become one – no less than a certain height (I think it was around 5’4″), and no more than a certain weight. I held my breath throughout my teen years to see when I would stop growing, hoping, wishing I’ll be tall enough. And I was !!!! Yay!!

So, off to varsity went, to get a degree, so I can start traveling. While studying, the inevitable happened. I met my (now ex) husband. Long story short, when he asked me to marry him, I said on one condition – that we travel to Europe before we have kids. That never happened.

Fast forward many years – the kids are growing up and they don’t need me around all the time. I started sewing from home to make money and I saved like a demon, and the day came that I said to my husband that this coming year I’m going overseas, are you coming with? He said no, not believing that I’ll do it on my own. But I did. 2002, my first trip to Europe (or anywhere!), and it was amazing! I stayed in Vienna with friends for a week (I also visited Salzburg, Hallstatt and a few other places in Austria with them), and then I went to the Netherlands for a week, via Paris.

Two years later, an even better trip – I got to go with my daughter when she finished school, and it was a blast, to say the least. Sharing these experiences just take the level of enjoyment up so many notches!

It was not an easy decision to go that first time – I hated leaving my kids, but I knew they were at a stage where they’ll be okay without me for a few weeks. And it was ‘now or never’ – I felt that I’ve been patient long enough for my dream to come true…

Since then, I’ve been to Europe one more time (thanks to my SO*), to the UAE with my youngest son to visit a friend, and to Canada a few times to visit my daughter and her husband (and the last time, my first little grandchild), and although I enjoyed every single minute of every trip, I’m still frustrated. (Does that sound ungrateful? I’m not, I appreciate that I’ve had more opportunities than most.)

2008, with my youngest in the UAE.
With my SO, Munich, 2012
At the top of Sulphur Ridge, Canada, with my daughter. 2015

I only started traveling relatively late in my life, (I’m reaching retirement age now), and I haven’t seen nearly enough places yet. I’ve got a bucket list as long as my arm, but I have to start realizing that I’ll probably never get to see all of them… I mean, it is all good and well to say ‘just do it’, but reality is it costs a lot of money, especially traveling from South Africa, since our money is worth nothing in other countries. I’ve got a partner and responsibilities here, which makes taking off on a whim difficult as well.

So I am an avid arm chair traveler now. I cannot get enough of YouTube’s travel channels, I watch them all the time. And who knows, I might get to see a few more places on my wish list in real life, if my health permits!

( Thanks journey-junkies.com for giving me the idea for this post. It is an amazing thing if one can live out your dreams, but for some of us, the reality of life gets in the way. Enjoy your travels, we’ll live vicariously through you!)

Until next time, stay safe! 🙂