My youngest memory of just how enchanting the world could be was from flicking through my grandparents photos from days gone by. My mother is a daughter of a Colour Sergeant who served 25 years in the British Army. Before meeting my Gran, Grandad served out in India for 5 years followed by Burma for just over a year before having to retreat back to India during the Japanese Occupation. I still look through his photo album from India and these photos of the Taj Mahal continue to inspire me to see such wonders of the world.
Funnily, whilst this is my youngest memory of seeing the world through someone elses eyes, I still haven’t made it to India but it is very high up on my list. As is Burma.
Over the past few years I have dedicated my time to go on trips that in some way have a reflection on my family. Hong Kong, Singapore, Vienna, Pisa, Israel, Copenhagen…… I’m sure posts on all of these will follow in due course.
Other photos I remember looking at was from when Grandad was posted to Austria for six months. According to Gran he was working out of Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, which between 1945-1955 the Palace was the administrative headquarters for the British Forces. During my “48 hours in Vienna” trip, we visited the Palace and also the Prater, where this photo was taken of Grandad and Mum on the Ferris Wheel. It’s still there, the same wheel.
Then there was Hong Kong. Whilst Grandad, Gran and Mum lived in the New Territories, it was the picture I remember seeing of Mum and Gran in Singapore. They must have visited for a holiday. A black and white (obviously, this was a looooong time ago haha) picture of Raffles taken in the late 50s made me obsessed with wanting to go to Singapore . I don’t know why, probably the grandeur of the building, the essence of history and that is was SO far away from home. Finally, on my extended trip around Asia and Australasia I spent my 31st birthday sipping Singapore Slings in Raffles. Perfection. On a return trip to Australia I stopped over in Hong Kong for a few days. I made sure I took plenty of photos to show Gran just how much the place had changed.
I recently hired a researcher from my Grandad’s regiment who pulled together historical documents of his time in the army. I still need to work through them and piece together some locations but hope that 2015 will be my year to visit Burma.
There are numerous factors that have also inspired me to travel. My Dad’s Dad spent a few years working in South Africa, Dad travelled Europe by car with the boys in his younger days which ended with Dad working on a kibbutz in Israel. Mum nearly became a 10 pound pom, in hindsight, quite glad she didn’t as the working conditions weren’t exactly as ideallic as was advertised. Instead she spent years working in Jersey one of the Channel Islands. But it is this post, that I dedicate to my Mum’s Dad. Last weekend was the 25th anniversary of my Grandad passing. Gran, a sprightly 91 year old, still keeps his memory alive for me by re-telling all of the old stories. In turn I hope I keep it alive for her by visiting the places from the old stories.