Thursday, 19 July 2018

#52Ancestors, Week 28, Travel


Travel. It has to be number one on my list of things I like to do. If only I had a bottomless pit of money to go with my passport. I’d be off.

Where did this restlessness and curiosity come from ?

In my recent history, I guess you could say I come from travellers. Not travellers like gypsies – but that could be an interesting twist in the tree – travellers like migrants.

Less than 200 years ago, my ancestors took opportunities offered to them by the British government to set sail for the other side of the planet, to a place they had never seen. A place I imagine many of them had never heard of. For what ? To be pioneers in a new land, where everyone was equal, where class wasn’t as limiting – to be British in another land; building the Commonwealth.

What a giant step they all took. Most of them came from families who had lived in the same hamlets and parishes for generations. They came from different backgrounds; glovers, sailmakers, frame knitters, agricultural labourers, millers, bakers, military, domestic service, farmers and landowners. There must have been other factors, not just the lure of new opportunity.

This migratory, adventure seeking behaviour has found it’s way in to my DNA. My most recent ancestor to leave England was my grandmother in 1929. Her family were travellers too. One grandfather and his brother left the rural agricultural life and joined the railways as they were exploding across Britain and offering opportunities of employments and travel to not just the upper and middle classes. Her other grandfather left the a similar rural life and moved north finding employment as a jaunting car driver or car man. A career path followed by his youngest son who was a coachman and taxi driver as the automobile industry was just beginning.

In New Zealand, too, automobiles were becoming popular and many holidays were taken exploring the countryside, by my great grandparents, grandparents and parents.

When we were little, our holidays too involved cars and travel; to the beach, the lake, three trips to South Island for the summer holidays covering every corner, others to the east Cape, Northland, Coromandel and Taranaki. Don’t leave the country until you have seen it all !

Even in the 1960’s there was international travel; my grandparents travelled to Australia to visit, my aunt too with a friend from work, my other grandmother took cruises to the islands and around the world.

In the 1970’s my grandmother and her sister travelled back to England, plus a bit of Europe. Mum and Dad travelled to Australia and on their second trip took us along too. Then they were off to the UK and Europe, reconnecting with family and exploring. Crazy Kiwis driving all that way in ONE day !

Australia, Fiji, England, Wales, Scotland, Germany, USA….plenty more places I have left to see or revisit.

Is all of this why a love of a road trip has manifested itself in me ? I was never much interested in driving when I was young – but now, I love it.

Jump in the car at any opportunity, go exploring, discover where you live, what’s just down the road, find the interesting places, not always the popular crowded places. See your country like a tourist does. Sometimes just drive for three or four hours to visit people or have lunch in a different city.

Because you can.

And why not ?

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