If there’s one person in the world that inspired my love of adventure it’s my beloved Dad who passed away 5 years ago today.
He was an intrepid explorer himself. While he wasn’t much of a world traveller, although the phrase “when I was in Norway” became something of a family joke he said it so much, he knew the UK like the back of his hand. There was barely a town he hadn’t lived in it seemed, or at the very least visited. You could mention any random village and he’d be able to tell you how to get there, the local bus timetable and where the best pub was!
After a stint in the RAF and working as a reporter, my father’s career was in the tourism sector, working as a manager of British Rail and the National Garden Festivals, before setting up his own tourism consultancy business.
Both his career, and his own personal love of adventure, meant that we went away a lot as children. With him working away during the week in my early years, weekends were family time and it felt like barely one passed without us going on some adventure or other. It could have been a trip to a local castle to go scuffling through the leaves, or sometimes it was a weekend away to a new hotel and a new city or to visit him where he was working, but it was always fun. Our family holidays were spent exploring Great Britain, with memorable breaks in places like Cornwall and the Isle of Man. Despite being 54 when I was born my Dad was the ultimate Peter Pan and holidays and weekend breaks were always centred around what my Sister and I would enjoy, not just my parents.
Copying his love and way of travel was never done consciously but I’ve come to realise I’m definitely emulating him with how me and Luka adventure. I always try to have a surprise element to our trips, an unexpected night in a hotel or a surprise destination, just like my parents did with my sister and I. And there’s only one person my random road trip love comes from, I’ll never forget my Dad ringing one evening to say he’d be late back, as he’d randomly decided to take the Eurostar from London and was calling from Brussels!
My Dad also took great pleasure in following other’s journeys. When my sister went to travel Australia, my father bought a guidebook and would often be found at the dining room table following where she was on the map. As this was pre the days of google at our fingertips on our phones, Emma would instead call my Dad to find out when the next train or bus was, and from Swansea he’d be reciting the Melbourne bus timetable to her!
One of the hardest things I find about my Dad not being with me anymore is that I don’t get to tell him all about mine and Luka’s adventures. Me and him loved to sit and chat about everything and I know he would have adored being able to help me plot which trip to take next, or advise me which was the best way to get somewhere. I can only hope that he’s looking down on Luka and I and following all of our adventures and realising that I only know how to be an adventure Mum because I had the very best adventure Dad any girl could ever ask for to teach me.
There isn’t enough time in the world to share all of the amazing memories I have thanks to him and to explain how much of an impact he had on my life. So for tonight I’ll be raising a glass to my best friend and my hero, my Daddy, and thanking him for instilling in me a love of travel that will travel down through the generations as his ultimate legacy.