Saturday, 3 December 2011
The Big Adventure
Years ago N and I talked of how one day, were we to get married and have children, we would love to bob around the Mediterranean on a boat with the children for a year. The idea was inspired by a family we came across one evening on a beach in Rhodes over two decades ago. There was a yacht moored out in the bay on a milky evening as the beach was emptying. A small dinghy was launched from the boat and as it came towards shore we saw three little blond heads rowing their way towards the sand. They were sun-tanned and sun-kissed on that golden evening and we learnt that their father was retired from the RAF and they were taking a year out just sailing around the Med. I held that idea in my head for all these years, urging N to take some time out so we could do something similar with our three girls before it was too late.
I persuaded him to pencil some extended time out in his diary just over a year ago, he having decided that December and Christmas was the best time for him to be absent from the office. And then I held my breath. I kept waiting for the excuses to start, for this special time to be eroded by the pressures of work. Sure enough he came back from our summer holiday (having worked almost every day of it) and declared that it would be much better for him to take the time out next year rather than this. I said no. It was now or never. Next year wouldn't work for the girls, because of educational commitments, and that it was going to get even more difficult the year after that. I was quite forceful and said a whole lot of other stuff too about perspectives and priorities, health and happiness. I didn't think it would make any difference. Yet he went to work the following day and came back with provisional flights booked with Trailfinders. So something I said must have hit home.
The next few weeks was spent finalising hotel accommodation and other bits and pieces - and now here we are: bags packed, taxi to the airport on its way. Our plans may have morphed over time from a year out, to six months, to three months to six weeks - but we're finally off to the other side of the world on our Big Adventure. We're heading to New Zealand, via Bangkok and Sydney, for some fabulous new experiences and, perhaps most importantly, precious time together as a family.
Sunday 27th November 2011