There are many reasons why we went on this nomadic adventure. If you’re a regular reader of our blog you’re probably sick of hearing about them by now, so you might want to catch up with the rest of the story in about 2-3 sentences from now.
Experiencing new cultures, seeing some of the world’s great attractions, living overseas and getting involved in the local community, meeting different people, spending more time as a family, discovering what we want to do with the rest of our lives, and generally scratching the huge travel itch I had are just some of them.
But an unexpected bonus of our trip has happened and I am very excited about it. You see, my mum is flying to Paris in January to see us, and it will be the first time she’s ever been overseas! At 65 years of age, my mum finally applied for her first passport and booked her first ticket on an international flight. Yay!!!!!
My mum has never had much interest in travelling overseas from what I can tell, which is nothing like me because ever since I’ve been financially able to that’s pretty much all I’ve ever wanted to do. I’ve lived in London, travelled extensively throughout Europe, Asia and parts of America, and now I’ve dragged Sarah and Jack along for this nomadic adventure with me this time as well.
But my mum has always been happy with her life in Tasmania. She has a job she enjoys, spends time with my sister almost every day, and is absolutely besotted with my nephews and plays a starring role in their lives. Who can blame her for being content?
Given her devotion to Lachie and Ethan, my two nephews, I’m guessing her holiday has nothing to do with seeing me or Sarah, but to spend some quality Nan time with Jack. Both Sarah and I felt very guilty about taking Jack away from his grandparents when we left Australia in April, it’s one of the prices we paid for going on this trip. We were positive Sarah’s mum would be the first to make the trip to meet us somewhere overseas to see Jack, and we’re still sure she will, while my dad currently has health issues that preclude him from flying at all. But I would never in a million years have put money on my mum being the first to see us, and I think it’s bloody fantastic. If the truth be known, when she told me she was going to book a flight to come and see us here in France, I didn’t believe her for even a second. Sarah did, but she doesn’t know my mum like I do, so when she forwarded her confirmation email to me a day or two later, I was stunned. Literally mouth ajar, eyes wide open, words unable to escape my lips stunned.
We’ve spoken via Skype a couple of times since she booked her flights and each time I’ve asked her what she wants to do when she gets here. The response has been the same both times…”maybe stay a couple of nights in Paris then just spend time with you, Sarah and Jack”. Reading between the lines I think it’s more like “…spend a couple of minutes with you and Sarah, then the rest of the time with Jack, and I’m not really bothered what we see or do!”
As such I’m going to do all of the planning for her and she’ll be happy to tag along, as long as Jack is there which he most definitely will be. So we’ll spend a couple of nights in Paris before heading back here to our house in Chatellerault. We’ll use it as our base to make either day or overnight trips to Bordeaux, La Rochelle and Tours. Given she’s only here for 13 days that will just about use up all of her time. We’re close to plenty of castles in the area so we might make a day trip out to a few of those as well.
We know she’s going to have a blast, but it’s going to be a huge culture shock for her. It may sound like a regular thing, but when you’ve never been overseas before, and spent most of your life in sleepy Tasmania, trying to understand someone who’s blabbing away at you in a foreign language is going to take some getting used to. Then there’s other things that she’s never experienced before like driving on the right hand side of the road, going through customs, trying to sleep on a plane, working out how much money she’s actually spending in Australian dollars, jetlag, eating foreign foods like snails and frog’s legs, experiencing history that pre-dates white Australia by hundreds of years, seeing landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre that she would have only ever seen in the movies, the list goes on and on.
I truly hope this might spark a travel bug in her and she gets out and explores other places around the world as well. How great would it be if she spent the rest of her years experiencing other cultural meccas like Rome, Prague, Barcelona, London, New York, Rio De Janeiro, Cairo, Cape Town, Moscow and Vienna. I’m not suggesting for one moment my mum is close to the end, but the truth is she’s closer to the end than the beginning. Wouldn’t it be a great way to see out however much time she has remaining, just as it would be for any of us who happen to be afflicted with that wonderful disease called wanderlust?
But on this occasion, I really think she just wants to spend time with Jack, and that is more than fine with me.