No matter how often I travel or how many trips I make in any given year, I look forward to each and every journey with a sense of anticipation and, yes, almost juvenile excitement. Even when returning to a familiar destination, I always find there’s something new to discover – a restaurant that wasn’t there before, a hidden cove with sandy beach that I’d overlooked, or perhaps a well-known attraction that I simply hadn’t had time to take in last time around.
I can remember travelling enormous distances as a child in Africa, and I honestly don’t recall ever asking the proverbial “are we there yet?” that so many parents seem to dread. With family and friends spread fairly diversely throughout southern Africa, trips like a Cape Town to Johannesburg jaunt for a weekend wedding were fairly common practice – some 1500km in either direction. We’d leave right after work on a Friday and be back at our desks first thing Monday.
Going back even further in time, I recall hunting and fishing trips with my parents; weeks and weekends spent dodging mosquitoes and hippopotami in equal measure. Elephant, lion, crocodiles, snakes – they were all a part of my life as a child, as were the often long distances travelled and long periods spent patiently stalking prey. Those hours were never completely idle, though – the African bush was alive with life and interest, if you just let yourself notice it!
My husband, Gary, and I have done our best to pass on our love of travel to our two kids. We’ve pulled them out of school to accompany us on trips overseas and they still talk about things they experienced on those trips far more often than they discuss the history paper they studied the week after their return. Some of their memories go way back to trips we undertook during their toddler years. I firmly believe that travel is a great educator, whether it’s around your own country or discovering new cultures and beliefs in far flung locations. So long as one’s mind is open and one’s spirit is alive, there is just so much out there to take in and to absorb – things to see, smell, taste, feel and hear.
Each time I begin my packing ritual, butterflies set in. These are not butterflies of anxiety or fear; these are the excited and happy breed, eagerly anticipating a whole new adventure. As I took the suitcase down yesterday, I felt the feint stirrings of my friendly butterflies – they knew a trip was imminent!
As you read through this issue of Let’s Travel, I hope we manage to awaken a tiny cluster of butterflies somewhere deep within you, and that you let them have full reign as you plan your next venture around our incredible part of the world.
“No one realises how beautiful it is to travel until they come home and rest their head on their old, familiar pillow”
– Lin Yutang (1895 – 1976)