This week I was all set to chronicle our trip to Paris but as I sat at the computer I started to reflect on what it all meant to me. Why did I love travelling so much and why did it evoke so much emotion in me when I travelled? Well I am going to share two very personal reasons why travelling means so much to me.
Growing up I never thought we were poor. Thinking back to my childhood days I still don’t. If we were to analyze it from a strictly economic stand point using all the creditworthy monetary measures of poverty, well then, we may have been on the wrong side of the tax bracket. But the fact that we never felt wanting in any way is a testament almost in whole to my Mother. Don’t get me wrong, I was somewhat distantly aware that my friend’s houses looked bigger than ours and the contents of their houses newer and shinier, but our humble home was a content one. My mother did everything in her worldly power to make sure we were never without. She worked two and even three jobs at times so that she could send us to the best schools and provide the best start for us. Looking back, I am in awe at her achievements. On weekends, she saw to it that we had ample extra-curricular activities to make us well-rounded kids. I remember we grew up doing things that I now understand are “rich kids” activities all thanks to her. This is the first reason I travel, as a way to pay homage to my Mother.
I have seen my Mother struggle through some tough times and held her head up high and has always put her Children first. I know that had her life been different, she would have loved to see the world. Well, she sacrificed tooth and nail to make sure that we got the best education and the best life possible, so it is my duty to live that life. Seeing the joy in my mother’s eyes when I share my travel pictures or hearing the elation in her voice is the most gratifying feeling in the world. It is a living testimony to her success. Yay! Mom we made it!
The second reason I travel is a much more somber one. My mother was away a lot as she juggled multiple jobs to provide for us so my brother’s and I made do with each other. As the oldest I assumed a motherly role to my two siblings and together we made it work. I would prepare dinner for them which we ate together and pack lunch to carry to school the next day. At lunchtime, we sat together just like we did in our humble tin roofed home and enjoyed each other’s company. We were each other’s support system. One dreadful afternoon while we were swimming, which was one of the many wonderful activities that our Mother engaged us in, my brother had a terrible accident and drowned. I will spare all the gruesome details of this frightful day but it changed our lives completely.
Our once close-knit family unit started to come undone at the seams. Loss as it often does, tore as apart inside and out. As the immediate care giver to my brother’s I was ravished by guilt. One of the ways I overcame the grief was to swear to myself that I would live the best possible life for me and for my deceased brother. Not only did I owe it to him but also, he wouldn’t want it any other way. Every time I embark on a new journey I take a bit of him with me and I know he is watching over me, smiling and saying, “you go girl!”.