Knowing that you will never have another day like this, in this company, at this place—it makes it all that much more intense and valuable.
They made me feel at home, and I always felt like I was able to give my love to them in return. Love is not something that you keep to yourself. It is something that you share with others.
It was the first time I had travelled anywhere overseas alone, and my nerves were all over the place. What happens when I get there? What if my feelings are different in person? What if he doesn’t like me? If things turn sour, what do I do?
My mum asks me to send her a postcard from wherever I go, and every time she receives them, she gives me a call and tells me how excited she is that I have visited yet another country on my list. She keeps count of the number of countries I've seen and is my biggest supporter when it comes to getting out there and making the most of it, no matter how much she misses me while I'm away.
Then suddenly, our three-year-old son simply let go of my hand, ran off, got through the barriers and started patting the Liberty Bell with a big proud smile like it was his new treasure… A second later two security guys approached me with the look on their face like we just killed someone.
I can’t remember exactly what we talked about, but what I do remember is the bright, cheery sound of her voice. It was probably mid-afternoon in New Zealand, perhaps my little brother had just woken up from his nap, and she chatted to me about normal life and made me feel as though I wasn’t alone. It was such a warm contrast from the deadly quiet, pitch black streets.
I remember thinking at this exact moment how wonderful it is to be with your sister and mum. This was the first time we had gone away just us three and we kept on saying how lovely it was sitting with the sun on our backs and being happy together.
I learned not to judge and to be kind. I learned to take leaps of faith because often they deliver you right where you’re meant to be, and as a result, I met and fell in love with my now husband.
My mum cut her first trip to Paris short, vowing that one day she would take her future family there, and truly experience the beauties of the French capital. Nearly 30 years later, she did.
My dear mum had passed away the year before. She knew that I had always, always wanted to go to Greece. A painting of Santorini she did for me hangs on my wall – not her best work (as she aged her Parkinson’s got the better of her magical artistic talent), but filled with love, just for me.
There was never a dull moment growing up with a woman who lived life with passion and craved adventure. I inherited these qualities from her, and I am forever grateful.
It was the perfect trip to get away from everything and everyone I knew, out of my comfort zone and into the open and unknown. I questioned everything I’d envisioned for myself in the past and tried to imagine what I wanted from life in the future. I didn’t find an answer… until I got to New Zealand.
Being the worrier I am, I was more on the half-glass-empty kind of side, but getting out of the cold and having a change of scenery won the bid, and there we were.
On our first night I was so tired from the 33hr door to door travel but I just wanted to cram it all in. Times Square, yellow cabs, hot-dog stands and sky-scrapers that made Auckland buildings look like match-sticks.
I planned and trained, and all the while gained more confidence each day for the adventure ahead. I will admit I did have butterflies the actual evening of my departure.