So it was so amazing for me to finally take a step and start travelling in 2004. China was my first step for a Challenge Trek on the Great Wall. Amazing. I loved it. The culture, the people but mostly the history. Standing on The Wall and realising just how long it had been around and how many people had walked along it before me, not to mention the people who had died building many years before. To me, that was mind-blowing.
The Forbidden City - Oct 2004
I made me realise just how little history we really have in Australia and how much I love the thought of having a culture. I am an Aussie. While my Mum was born in the UK, she headed to Australia when she was two and we never really celebrated anything connected with our past before. So for me cultures that have a real history appeal so much. I love delving into what makes other people tick and what their traditions are.
France has always held a special place in my mind. One of my burning desires was to see Paris before I turned 30. In 2009, with Mum along for the ride, I did it. Three weeks in France saw us take in paris, Loire Valley, Champagne Region and Provence. Then we headed to the UK to visit Cornwall (where Mum was born) and London.
Eiffel Tower - Mum & I - Sept 2009
We loved it. Making our way around the train lines in French, when neither of us knew much more than how to order dinner. The architecture, the people, everything. It put us both out of our comfort zones and I loved it. The natural leader in me stepped up (and took over) but it was amazing. I have the best memories of sharing something so amazing with my Mum. We both decided we had to come back. Paris was so amazing and we loved Reims int eh heart of the Champagne Region. This was the place we said we would come back and explore and get to know next time.
Champagne Taittinger - Verzenay
Next time turned out to be last year. Mum celebrated her 60th Birthday and as a special gift I got her onto the tour my Auntie was taking around Europe. 10 Countries in 20 Days. While in hindsight, it wasn't the way Mum really wanted to travel but it was such a great opportunity. And the best thing - her tour finished in Paris. We had joked about me joining her for a weekend and I thought why just a weekend? So I left Australia by myself, rented and Apartment for a week on my own before Mum joined me.
Arc De Triomphe - Sept 2012 (Yes same sunglasses as last time)
I loved it. The people, the food, language, shopping, did I mention the food?? While getting around on my own was a little daunting, with a little planning I was able to explore and just enjoy Paris. This time i knew I really just wanted to live it rather than rush around with a map and be a tourist. I just picked an area to explore each day, packed my water and a map (just in case) and walked. Stopped when I was hungry and ordered some amazing food and just soaked it all up. Amazing.
Mum and my Auntie joined me at the end of the week and we had a few days of taking it easy together after their whirlwind tour before we farewelled my Auntie as she left for the UK and Ireland and Mum and I headed back home.
Where would you go? If money and time were now issues where would you explore?? Here are some on my wish list.