From a young age I was given a freedom most kids dreamt of. I lived on a farm and my brother and I were closer than close, we would make dens and spend days and nights in the fields. I always had a passion for getting up and doing stuff. I hated being stuck in and took every opportunity I could to get out and go exploring.
At age fourteen I travelled to Scotland with a friend and his mother. We went deep into the mountains to an international gathering of hippies. If memory serves me correctly they were called Rainbow people. They lived off the land and spent the days getting stoned, skinny dipping and dropping acid. Scott and his mother couldn’t cope with it, I loved it. I made new friends and somehow convinced my mum to let me stay. The days were spent exploring and loving life. I managed to get a lift from Scotland to Glastonbury. I don’t remember much of the journey, it was a transit van with a mattress in the back.
Once at Glastonbury we walked to part of the fence that was low, but still too high to easily climb over. Someone stacked some crates of beer into steps and we jumped the fence. I was fourteen years old, alone and had the time of my life.
I managed to get home by hiding in the toilets of the train when the guard came, but once home something inside me had changed. I was no longer content with running in the fields, there was a huge world waiting for me and I wanted to see it, I craved it.
I left home at fourteen and moved in with a girl and her mother. It didn’t work out and at fifteen I went to the train station with a ten pound note and asked where it would get me. It actually got me to Swinton and so I went. I slept rough and made friends, we would spend our days getting up to trouble and eventually I found myself at the Reading Festival. There I met a girl who lived in Oxford and so moved there with her. I spent my time in Oxford exploring the beautiful city. I sneaked into lectures at the various colleges and the passion for excitement, independence and adventure was ever burning. Eventually I ended up in Manchester at sixteen and things by this point had got bad and I was in desperate need for help. I found help from a good friend of mine and his late father. I got a house in Huddersfield and made many friends and many mistakes. One day whilst in Huddersfield it was raining and I was depressed, my sense of adventure took me into the Army Careers office and before I knew it I was in the Parachute Regiment and eventually I was married with a house and child in Northern Ireland.
Still not content I left the army after five years and ended up righting my wrongs and ultimately at University studying Law. Once at University the passion for travel burned more than ever and trips to the USA became frequent. That passion never stopped burning and still it burns brightly, even now, after almost eight weeks of travel I am still thirsty for more.
I have taught my kids that if ever they hide something from me, lie to me or do something they are fearful of admitting because of the consequences then they can get a sort of immunity. It is wide open to abuse but thus far neither have abused it. I believe this creates a trust where the kids feel they can tell me things that many kids would hide from their parents. The deal is simple, they come to me and say I need to talk about something. From that moment on there are no consequences and in most cases I promise not to mention it again.
Charlie came to me and asked to speak, he told me he didn’t want to go home and asked if feeling like that was ok. He said that whilst he was at home he always wanted to be away and when away he craved for more. I asked Abi if she felt the same and she agreed.
Many times on the trip we have been short of time or unable to everything the kids have asked to do and the almost normal response to that from either Charlie or Abi is “I’m coming back when I’m older” It is this sense of adventure that I had as a child but was not directed in a manner it should have been. My parents weren’t interested in seeing what the world had to offer, content with the little lives they had made for themselves and always busy planning for the future – My dad died aged 54.
That’s not to say we should ignore the future, of course we should plan for it, but I genuinely believe you should live for now. Not every one finds solstice in travel, not everyone finds what we do amazing and for many it is not their slice of paradise. But for us it is. It is this belief that nowhere is out of reach; that no dream is too big and that if you want something then go get it. But do it with humour, with rigour and with understanding. Never mock tradition, never discriminate, never assume and always embrace change. If you don’t know then ask, don’t be ignorant to other peoples beliefs, but above all appreciate. Even the smallest things, always show appreciation and respect but above all remember one thing – You can do anything you want, but you must apply yourself and believe in your abilities.
Thanks again for everyone that has made this trip possible, to the people we have met along the way, friends we have made and people that have gone out of their way for us. Here we find ourselves at the end of another trip and tomorrow we will head to Tel Aviv and spend the day on the beach before heading home.
I usually finish the blog with a sentimental paragraph but this time I don’t think it would be necessary, we haven’t found each other – We already had each other. The trip hasn’t brought us any closer, we were close already, and we have not formed a bond like no other, we had it already. It has just reinforced the belief between us and the closeness which we share. The trip was one person short of perfect, but we coped, managed and had the time of our lives.
So I guess all there really is to say is thanks – We’ve had a blast and really are living life and loving every second.
Thanks for reading.