“One day I’ll meet you in Paris, Mum!” That had always been our plan. My dream had always been to make that long 24+ hour flight to Europe and and soak up the history and art and culture of that faraway continent. But Paris …. I was always only going to share that with him!
Travelling was something that all of the men in my life had embraced – beginning with their father, who as a 16 year old, travelled to Brazil and spent a year on exchange through Rotary. The three boys have all spent time living in other parts of the world for extended periods. They were all there at the same time for awhile. Visiting friends and contacts – and each other. The oldest and youngest returning to Australia when either their visa or money ran out …. whichever happened first. But always with thoughts of planning where and when they might go again.
And then there is this middle son …. this travelling man! He is different. He went travelling one day, with a dream in his heart and a plan in his mind, and when he found a place that was alive and interesting enough to outweigh any fears that may have been in his thoughts – he just stayed! That place was Berlin. Sure, he returned to Australia for short periods of time to regather his thoughts, goals and finances but he always returned to his travelling ways.
So, for around 6 years now, it has been my goal to travel to Europe to meet my travelling son in Paris! I have not been much of a traveller. Home to New Zealand to see family and one memorable trip to Fiji, to meet my Mum and Sister, is the sum total of my overseas experience. I have wanted to go! I have even longed to go! But stuff just kept getting in the way. Some, I’m sure, could be seen as excuses but much of the stuff was valid!
The biggest roadblock to me travelling has undoubtably been my health issues and all its manifestations. I was scared (and still am) of travelling alone! I was a proven nervous flier that needed to be medicated for the 3 hour flight to New Zealand when I was travelling with companions!! I could not picture myself, surviving a 24+ hour flight ….. alone ….. to a country that I couldn’t speak the language ….. changing flights on the way, in another country that I couldn’t speak the language ….. ALONE!!!!!!!
My weight and size was another HUGE roadblock. I was often uncomfortable in the seating on domestic flights – how on earth could I manage a long haul flight? I needed a seat belt extender, I couldn’t raise or lower the tray table properly and the arm rest could stay up most of the time when you were sitting next to a loved one but spilling over into some other poor person’s seat ….. well, the thought was mortifying to me!
Money ….. yes, there it is ….. money! When you are ill for long periods of time, you are unable to save. In fact, I have been living off my savings for a long time now. My family has been helping me out as well, at certain times. How could I justify spending money on a trip to Europe? I couldn’t!
I have been thinking and planning for my trip to Europe for many years. I have even, at times, had money put aside, but then circumstances arrived and it would be pushed back into the shadows ….. something to be dreamed about. A maybe ….. a one day thing.
This morning, as I sit typing, I am looking at my ticket to Berlin! I am thinking to myself – What has changed? Everything and nothing! That’s what has changed!
I am still that frightened little person, who would rather travel with someone else ….. but I am travelling alone! I am no longer medicated for my anxiety and have had four successful short flights, post medication and that is a massive change!
My weight and size is still a massive concern for me, but 10 weeks ago I began some lifestyle changes, directed by my doctors, and am already carrying 10 kilos less around with me than before. I am also, beginning to feel fitter and more confident in my body ….. another massive change but still not enough to take away my concern of discomfort during a long flight.
Money, well that had NOT changed for the positive, at the time of deciding to take this trip BUT it had changed by the time I had to book my flights. People who love me and my family, have been generous beyond my understanding; people who know of me or knew me a long time ago have also been generous beyond my understanding; people who are a part of my family and a church family that I have been skirting around for 25 years are supporting me, with love and community and money and prayer. We are going to love you back to church! That’s what I hear from them. We are going to help you to parent where and when you are needed. So you see, I am not travelling alone! I take a community with me and I know that God will be with me all the way …… there and back.
Why travel now, you might be wondering?
Simply because this mother needs to see her travelling son, who is going through some challenges at the moment. I know that he could get through this time without me. In fact, he has got through the hardest part without me there. He, too, has a community that have cared for his every need and will continue to after I’m back in Australia. They have also cared for me, from a distance and I can’t wait to meet them and hug them and tell them how grateful I am, that my travelling son is in good hands when I’m not there. I want to be able to see the positive outcomes and share those with him.
But mostly, I need to be able to leave him in Berlin knowing that if we don’t get to meet in Paris this visit, we will definitely be meeting in Paris on my next visit!