I love to travel. I got the travel bug when I was a child and can pinpoint the year to 1988 when it hit me. That year I was lucky to go on a ski trip to Colorado and my first trip to Israel. Since then I have traveled around the world, to far off places, from London and Paris to Hong Kong and Auckland. When I had children I hoped to pass on this love of travel to them, and clearly my daughter, Julia, has caught the bug.
World travel is a privilege, one I take seriously. Yes, one could say we live in a “global village” today. With technology, we can travel anywhere with the click of a button. Video messaging brings families and friends together from all over the world. But there is nothing like seeing the place for yourself.
My son traveled to Israel on his first trip at just 17 days old (I will admit, that may be a bit young and don’t recommend it). Before he was one, Matthew had visited cities such as Jerusalem, Miami, Seattle and Honolulu. Still in single digits, Julia has covered the trifecta of Europe, including London, Paris and Rome. By age two Nessa had crossed into the southern hemisphere, covered Canada’s two coasts in British Columbia and Nova Scotia and had two trips to Israel under her belt. Never in my wildest dreams as a child could I have achieved that. Giving my children the gift of travel is something I hold sacred.
My husband’s family live in and travel to all corners of the world. Every continent (yes, even Antarctica!) has been visited by at least one member of his family. I don’t think that we can tick off every country across the world, but I’d say that David’s extended family has covered a lot of territory. Some members of my family are no slouches either, in particular my father who used to travel to the Orient for work at least three times each year.
But back to Julia. She has the bug. She has dreams to visit places in the world that most children don’t even know exist. One of her friends went on safari in Africa a couple of years ago and Julia wants to do that. China is a country that fascinates her. And New Zealand too. Wait, she’s been there. But why not go again?!
When I tell people that my eight-year-old daughter just happened to be in New Zealand with her grandmother during her recent school break, the general reaction is, what? Are you crazy? I guess it’s a similar reaction to me telling people that I am a huge Carolina Hurricanes fan! Yes, Julia and her grandmother just returned home from a two-week holiday in New Zealand.
And no, it’s not random.
First of all, as I already stated, Julia has the travel bug. So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the minute she returned home from her first trip to New Zealand, in January 2017, that she wanted to go back. We didn’t close our eyes and randomly select a spot on the globe. David’s brother and family moved there a few years ago. There’s nothing better than combining travel with spending time with family.
So, Julia wanted to go back to New Zealand, to see her cousins and enjoy the beauty that is this fabulous country. And her grandmother, who also has the travel bug (my one-week trip to Hong Kong in 2014 with Barbara and my sister-in-law Trudy is one of the best trips I have ever taken), saw to it that Julia would return to New Zealand.
Hence the title of today’s blog post, Around the World in 17 Days. No, I did not specifically send them hallway around the world for 17 days. It just worked out that way. But the title sounds good, don’t you think? About 19 hours of flying, plus a layover in San Francisco, and boom it’s just a short trip from Toronto to Auckland!
Julia had the time of her life. She spent every waking moment with her eight-year-old cousin (and their cat, Trixie). I think the only person she missed was her little sister. My daughter was born for travel. She guided her grandmother with great confidence around the Toronto, San Francisco and Auckland airports, stayed basically clean and tidy and enthusiastically participated in most activities during her 17-day trip. And she did it all with her grandmother. How lucky can you be?!
Upon landing in Toronto a few days ago, after their almost 24-hour journey home, Julia looked at her grandmother and said, “I want to go back to New Zealand right now.” And I am sure if she could have, she would have jumped on the next plane and returned there. I am sure that wasn’t her last trip to New Zealand. She has the whole world to explore, and I am sure she will check off many places in the coming years.
Julia’s next trip is much closer to home, to the Pacific Northwest, in a few weeks. And this time she will be taking us along too. World travel doesn’t always have to be around the world or to another hemisphere. And the trip isn’t always 17 days. Seven is good too. Or more. Or less. Where will we go next?