first trip to europe, aged 44

As a child, I watched my three older sisters leave New Zealand for Europe.  One by one they left, in tears, always the tears – and I waited for years for them to come home.  In my early 20s, when everyone went off on their ‘OE’ (overseas experience) I didn’t.  It was too big.

Twenty years later, in my early 40s, I feel the pull.  With New Zealand so far away, it takes a strong pull to leave.  Then my son’s class at school plans a trip to Europe.   Now I really want to go.  I’m ready.  Why should he get to see Europe before me?  I’ll go with the school as parent help.

I get home one afternoon to a letter advising who the parent helpers will be.  I stand in the hallway, keys still in my hand, and read that I have not been chosen.  I feel myself sinking hard.  This was my chance and now it’s gone.  But in that second I make a decision not to go to pieces. I wave the letter above my head saying, I’m handing this over, sort it out.  I put the letter away and don’t let myself think about it.

A couple of weeks later my partner hands me another envelope.  It’s a $10,000 travel grant awarded by his company – completely unexpectedly – for us to use however we like.
Thank you.

So I got to go to Europe.  A special trip with my partner, meeting up with our son in London.

The next few posts are a few of the odd experiences I had in different cities.


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