I suppose it was in some sense unavoidable for me to become a traveller at heart. Being born into a family of restless people I had to at least be somewhat affected. As it was, my lust for travel and adventure was planted in me even before I could walk. Perhaps even before I was born. My parents have always been keen travellers and did quite a lot of adventourous travelling before they had kids.
Especially my dad is restless at heart; he has an unsatiable need to wander. My mum is surely the more grounded of the two. Actually, she probably would not have travelled as much if it wasn’t for my dad. My dad always wanted to see the world from the sea side so when he had managed to persuade my mum to sail across the Atlantic with him as deckhands on a sailing boat he was naturally delighted. My mum less so. She likes sailing as long as the winds are calm and the waters glossy. Thus, she spent most of her deckhand time trying to cope with overwhelming nausea while my dad enjoyed himeslf immensely.
I was only a baby when I went on a sailing boat for the first time. The boat’s name was YoYo and my dad’s very first own sailing boat. He bought it before he even knew how to sail properly, but that was no hindrance to him. His philosophy was learning by doing and it seemed to work out fine for him.
Since then my dad bought an old ship carcass in Greenland while we were living there and worked on it for several hours every day until it was ready to sail. We then spent our summers sailing around the Greenlandic seas in The Northern Star as the ship was called. We also had a small speed boat that my sister and I practically grew up on, spending our summers sailing around the Greenlandic archipelago, fishing, and going camping on the islands. I remember those summers as truly magical.
I was a mere two months old when I sat feet on my first airplane. Going from Denmark to Greenland, where we were going to live for the next 4 years and where my sister was born.
My first actual memory from Greenland is one of trying to reach a keyhole that was exactly out of my reach with a key I had been given by my mum upon insisting on going home to bed while my parents were visiting a friend and talking boring adult talk. I was two years old. My mum had given me the key and let me go while secretly following me home at a safe distance. I remember desperately reaching for the keyhole while eventually peeing my pants and starting to cry.
My mum was surely very quick to come to my aid. Much quicker than my memory tells me; all I remember is reaching for that keyhole on a light Greenlandic summers evening and not being able to reach it. That’s my first memory of wandering into the world on my own. And the need has stuck with me.
The need to explore and to be in unknown places and situations. It is not because I love being uncertain about things and not knowing what things are going to be like. It is more of a feeling that I need more experience. That I still don’t know enough about life to be able to live it fully. But when I travel it is as much a journey inwards as a journey out into the unknown.
Travelling for me has changed over time. Travelling with A is a completely different experience from travelling on my own when I was younger. I think I have only really settled into travelling since I started travelling with A. It started with small trips when she was just a baby. We would take the train to Rostock in Germany to visit my friend, we would go sailing with the family, or taking small 1 to 2 week trips to other places in Europe.
My motivation for travelling with A is surely to give her the possibility of gaining experiences from the world that are invaluable for her. But it is as much a believe that these experiences we have together might help tighten our bonds and be a guide to us in how to live our lives in the future in the sense that we are inspired and enriched by the people we meet, the places we go, the cultures we are fortunate enough to have a small taste of etc. And last but not least, it is a need to wander. Is it selfish of me to take my daughter travelling for long periods at a time? You could say that there is an element of selfishness in it. However, since nomadic tendencies are a part of my person, it would be to deny a whole part of myself if I were to not travel, and that in turn would be to deny A that part of me. For sure, travelling is an act of balancing, but so is any other part of life. And if we are able to balance our lives, to get equally the amount of time we need for ourselves, to process our experiences and to just live and equally the amount of adventure that fits us, then I believe that travelling is truly worth it.
Like everything else in life you become more accustomed to travelling over time. You settle into a more relaxed travel pace. A and I have managed to slow down enough that it feels like we’re not on the move constantly and that has been a big help for us in appreciating things and places more. I have discovered that we need at least a week to feel at home in a new place, and much likely longer. Granted, A and I are going home soon. A has made it very clear that 10 months of travel is enough for now. We have agreed that next time we travel we will stay even longer in each place. Go to fewer places and stay longer in each new spot.
I suppose A will be inheriting at least part of my wanderlust as it would be almost impossible for her not to. On the other hand, she has been very good at raising her voice when she had enough of new experiences. And I think part of what this trip has taught us is to know when to slow down.
There will be other trips, perhaps shorter, perhaps longer, in the future. We will learn new things from these trips. But we will always be able to look back on our journeys so far and remember all the things we learned. About ourselves and about the world.