I was uploading a batch of images to Photoshop the other day when I started idly flicking through a few of our old holiday albums and a whole load of good memories came flooding back. It has inspired me to start up a new series of posts about my personal travel memories.
A love of travel is something Heather and I share, and we’ve been fortunate enough to have had the time, money and opportunity to gorge ourselves on a feast of holidaying experiences over the past 15 years or so. We have seen in the New Year in Sydney and watched sunrise at the Grand Canyon. We have eaten dim sum in Hong Kong and pasta in Rome. We have stood on top of the Great Wall and at the foot of an active volcano. We have seen a post-9/11 New York and a pre-earthquake Christchurch. And we have stood amidst the crowds in Times Square, Tiananmen Square, the Puerta del Sol and the Djemaa El Fna in New York, Beijing, Madrid and Marrakesh respectively.
For all the benefits that having kids has brought us the one thing I really miss is the ability to jump on a plane and go somewhere without all the encumbrance (and expense!) which travelling as a family entails. Gone are the days when we could hire a car and just drive anywhere without a fixed itinerary, or spend entire days covering mile upon mile on foot.
Nowadays holidays have to come with easily accessible, child-friendly accommodation, a play area and preferably a nearby beach and baby monitoring. It’s a far cry from the days when we would just pitch up at some random motel after dark looking for a room and a half-decent restaurant or takeaway.
But that’s okay. I’ve come to appreciate in recent years that the point of travelling to see foreign cultures is all about both the experience and the memories in equal parts. We have already accumulated a load of travel experiences – to which we are still adding in these intervening years of family-friendly shorter-haul holidays – and we have so many rich memories to draw upon to sustain us in those quieter moments.
Which brings me to the point of starting this new series of posts. As the saying goes, a picture says a thousand words. I will be digging out a few cherished images which evoke particularly strong memories or emotions, and telling the personal story behind the photo. The intention is not to roll out a standard tourist’s slide-show of the world’s most photographed monuments – although a few will no doubt find their way into the series – but more to relive the experiences and abiding memories which make any holiday more than the sum total of that location’s ‘must sees’. After all, millions of people travel around the world every year – but it’s their personal memories of those places which are unique.
As a taste of what’s to come, here are a few sample images which may find their way onto these pages in the coming months. Enjoy.