Who are those who inspire me to travel?
When I have to answer the question about who inspires me to travel I can easily form a tapestry of inspiration and string words together like ‘cultures’, ‘religions’, ‘locals’, ‘the people you meet along the way’, ‘heritage’, ‘food’, ‘different experiences’, ‘the unknown’, ‘the possibilities’, ‘nature’ and ‘the journey’…
But I won’t.
Instead of focusing on the elements that count as my secondary inspiration to constantly hit the road and explore, I’ll backtrack to my primary inspiration, where it all started…
Once upon a time in 1973 two people met on a blind date; they had eyes only for each other, went on more dates, and in 1980 they said, “I do”.
A few years after the “I do” they welcomed a blue-eyed son to the world and then a brown-eyed girl.
The couple did everything in their power to show their two kids – who were as different as day and night – all they could possibly show them. They took them on hikes with a promise of a Magnum ice cream at the end, they showed them monuments and museums, took them through small towns and national parks to see animals, waterfalls and all things natural.
Armed with a VW kombi and a seat for each child (to keep the sibling peace) they went on camping trips; first they slept in a caravan, then the kids moved outside to the caravan’s tent and then to smaller, separate, dome tents.
Together they built camp fires, packed backpacks, rode bicycles and clung onto tent poles when the wind howled outside. It was always a simple set-up; a do-it-yourself type of trip where everyone had responsibilities from washing dishes to cleaning to cooking food.
As the years went by the couple thought it would be a good idea to step up on all those short hiking trails they did together as a family; they got real backpacks, a mini gas stove and a spot on the Otter hiking trail during Christmas 1997.
Somewhere uphill with pearls of sweat dominating foreheads they kept their smiles and spirits safely intact and decided to do it again; year after year, drop of sweat after drop of sweat.
It is safe to say that circumstances, environment and the choices the couple made as newlyweds and young parents were the foundation and building blocks of the kids’ love and appreciation for South Africa.
Each kid went their own way to explore and discover roads near and far in Europe and Asia while the couple continued on their journey of seeking adventure, seeking interesting stories and places unknown. They bid their caravan farewell and scaled down their camping equipment to the bare minimum; they kept only the necessities and transformed the VW Kombi into the dream van in which they still, to this day, live the dream.
This heart of mine was made to travel the world and it is in the genes.
Today, those two people – my parents and my inspiration to keep exploring the world in slow motion – are celebrating their 37th wedding anniversary and 44th year of being together.
Today – the same like yesterday and the same like tomorrow – I am forever grateful for my upbringing and the circumstances and environment that were created for me as a kid, the constant love, support and the choices that were made and the positive impact it had on my life. I’m thankful that they chose experiences over things, I appreciate that they picked basics over luxury, responsibilities over doing nothing, activities over a movie, hard work over everything else.
Today – the same like yesterday and the same like tomorrow – I’m filled with gratitude that they believe in my dreams (even when it’s wacky and a bit too out there), that they understand, show interest and encourage me like no one else can.
Today – the same like yesterday and the same like tomorrow – I still get inspired from their zest for life; their yearning to never stop exploring and to keep climbing the stairs until they’re grey, bald and really old.
Their spirit is the fuel to every travel plan I make, the fuel to every step I take.
Today – the same like yesterday and the same like tomorrow – I am forever grateful for the two people who constantly motivate me; the two who met in 1973, the couple who got married in 1980, the young parents who welcomed a boy and girl to the world.
Today – the same like yesterday and the same like tomorrow – I am forever grateful for my parents, my mother and my father, the two who started it all, the two who inspire me to travel.