How Becoming an Adult Orphan Shaped my Future in Travel

ToboganningI am an adult orphan and became one in the year 2000, when my youngest child was five years old. I had been caring for my Father, since the passing of my Mother. Not that anything I did or could do – would resolve his resounding grief at her loss. No matter how in the child like part of my subconscious – I worked hard to keep him alive.

I lost my emotional mirror at this time – my barometer. I realised I was next in line. There was no longer anyone in front of me.

Feeling rudderless was something I experienced for a while. My father was the place I could go to and be completely me. I was accepted. We had experienced war torn battles between us, at the loss of my mother and we both had to create a communicative emotional connection which had previously been filled by my mum and his wife. When he died, I felt like I experienced the ice bucket challenge on the inside. A continual pouring of tears running down my inside in an attempt to wash out my fire which burned resolutely in my soul. I fought this with every inch of my being – so that my grief and loss did not consume me. No matter how difficult it was.

“Parents are like repositories of memory. They’re the only ones who hold certain memories of you as a child. It’s like a mirror — we define ourselves in terms of our relationships so our parents’ deaths challenge us to define who we are.”  

I remember the feeling of no longer being able to see my reflection anywhere. As if I had become vampire. As if I had become noone. It was very odd. Even now I have questions I would like to ask my parents and things I feel they should be told. There have been moments when I have felt my mothers love around me still – not being able to hold it and the feeling that my father is with me. My best friend has recently lost her father too. We have been friends for 30 years and have known each other since we were 16 – to me she is precious. As a person in her own right and as the last link to my family. She is the closest person I have to them.

Best Friends

So I started to look for places to see myself. Counselling is where I thought I would discover me but it reminded me of who I am in my friendships and close relationships. My ability at listening and being with another. Not judging their pain and thoughts. Sorting the wheat from the chaff and blowing the rest away. Alas I didn’t find myself here but lost myself even further. Tumbling down a rabbit hole of emotion as my training connected me with the depth of feeling inside. Growing my emotional understanding and awareness but keeping me away from who I am.

It wasn’t until we went travelling and the upheavals which had taken over our lives, during the past years led me to find myself on the quest of returning me to me. To the happiness inside which is born out of being outdoors, happy in nature and stimulated by a different and changing environment but one which informs, educates and inspires me to keep growing and learning. Travelling took me back to childhood and to the happiness of growing up in a loving family and nurturing environment created by my mum and dad. It took me back to my freedom and showed me the way.

Travel with the Strings

Highlighting the first steps onto the path as if they were lit by glowworms.

It is through travel I get to know me now. It is through travel I reconnect with the forgotten parts of myself which could only ever be remembered by me in society – if my parents were still alive. They would tell me the stories of my life and I have learnt to deduce which memories are mine and which are implanted by the repetitive stories I grew up with.

Travel allows me to connect with my freedom and happiness – the same gifts given to me as a child by my parents through their love. Getting to know them was one of the greatest gifts I could give them in return. But then as you know by now. I have always been interested in stories.

Experiencing both the inner and outer world simultaneously I have found truly amazing. Leaving me with a desire to share both myself and the world we live in with others. This has led me to writing and travel blogging.

I like to share – I like to feel part of and intertwined with our world and travel enables me to do that. It brings me to me.

What has travel done for you?

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