I feel like I’ve lost the personal aspect of my blog that meant so much to me when I wrote one on my last trip, so im going to strip it back and write something that ive been thinking about over the last few weeks. On this trip a few people have been heavily on my mind and one of them is my dad. My reasons for travelling have a lot to do with him and this trip wouldn’t have been possible without him.
In October last year, my mum sold our family home in Cardiff that I’ve lived in on and off since I was 3. We were devastated but it was the most logical decision given that it was a big house and my mum couldn’t afford to keep it purely for sentimental reasons. I still can’t even bring myself to go near it when Im in Cardiff because it upsets me that much. I’m telling you this because that’s the way I managed to get the money to travel again. Last time I saved for 3 years in order to be able to do 3.5 months away, I got home and I knew I couldn’t bear to wait that long again. The money we each inherited from the house (my older sister, brother and I) was the money our dad had intended us to have – hopefully to secure a part of our future. He hasn’t been around since I was six and so was unable to provide for us – this would do a very small part of the job he would have done.
Since he passed away when I was so young I have pretty limited memories of him, if any, so I’ve never really had any idea what he was like. I don’t know the man he was, how I’m like him or if he would respect my decisions. I can only guess and ask the people that were closest to him. The money from the house had always been intended, in my mothers eyes, to be used as part of a deposit on a house. As she was speaking on behalf of two parents it was extremely important that I get her approval to spend (part of it) on something else entirely. As a very traditional woman and a total romantic, it took some convincing for her to see my point of view. After all, surely everyone wants to live a conventional life – settle down, buy a house and get married. I can’t blame my mum for wanting that for me. What mother wouldn’t?
She has always been supportive of my decisions and I knew she would support whatever I chose to do, but I couldn’t stop the niggling feeling she thought I was doing the wrong thing. For that reason I spent a long time explaining myself. I know there are many good reasons to invest in a house, but I’m not in a place in my life where I want to buy something that represents settling down so strongly. I knew if I used all the money to do that, leaving me with no money and a hefty mortgage to pay, I would always resent it. I would resent being single (at the time) and owning a house in the hope that I meet someone one day to fill it will me – I didn’t want to put any focus on that and felt that that’s exactly what buying a house would do. I also didn’t want to give up such a massive opportunity to travel again before I have any commitments in my life. As predicted, after a few conversations my mum was understanding and was the supportive parent she always has been. Something that I am massively grateful for.
She tells me my dad would have approved and she gave me his passport, filled with stamps from all over the world. I met the friend he travelled with recently and he told me that if they had had the money they would have travelled forever. I spoke to my aunt and she told me something along the same lines. I like to think he might have done the same thing if he’d been given an opportunity like this.
Mum explained to me that although I’m extremely similar to her (not a bad thing in any way), I inherited the travel bug from my dad. That makes me happy.
So although I never really knew him I like to imagine the man he was. I can’t be sure he would be proud of my decisions or that he would respect them, all I can do is guess. I wonder if he would encourage me to stay here for longer or to go home when I feel that it’s the right thing to do. But when it comes down to it I mainly like to imagine that all he would have wanted was for me to be happy by any means possible, and at this stage in my life that’s what travelling means to me. I owe it to my mum, for being such a great parent and always encouraging me to do what I want, and to him for leaving me with the means to do it, to make the most of this experience. I like to imagine him listening to my stories and feeling proud of the person I’ve become. I consider him with every financial decision I make out here and wonder if im spending his money wisely. But he also reminds me that life is too short to agonise over every decision. So this trip is for my dad, and every time I find myself moaning or being under appreciative of what I have I think of him and how would have wanted me to get the best experience possible out of what he left me. So far so good.