When I was home briefly last weekend, I took the time to flip through some old family photo albums. We have a bookshelf that’s partially dedicated to all of our memories, but there’s a specific cupboard where we keep the pictures from that time we lived in Australia. Three full albums of road trips, holidays, visitors and one from our jaunt to incredible New Zealand. I was three (and turned four) when we lived in Oz, and you would think that I wouldn’t remember very much. But there are all these flashes of vague things from my childhood, very nondescript, that I recognized from pictures in Australia. My childish brain didn’t choose to remember a lot of the important things, but things like an adventure playground, a bouncy castle, and jumping on a trampoline….those are cemented in my mind.
That’s not to say I don’t remember the important things: I remember building an Uluru (Ayers Rock) replica of sand just outside our cabin in Alice Springs. I remember being too scared to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef so I splashed around a little pool on our boat. I remember hanging our stockings on Christmas, not at the home I was used to in Canada but in a place that felt so much like home. I remember running wild on Caloundra Beach with sparklers on New Year’s Eve.
The most important thing this trip gave me, though, wasn’t a memory, but a lifestyle. Even when I didn’t really understand what the fact that we had lived in Australia meant, I just understood that travel is what my family did and what I wanted to do. I travelled more with my family growing up, and as soon as I was old enough and had my own money, I started travelling alone – kicking it off with a solo trip to China. Moving abroad for a year as a kid affected the whole way I live my life: if my parents could pick up their children, jobs and lives and do this, why couldn’t I do it as a teenager with no real attachments?
I’m forever thankful to my parents for fostering the spirit of travel in me and showing me that I can go anywhere I want to go – although I’m sure my parents would have rather I skipped going to Morocco alone. I’m also thankful that my dad is such an amazing photographer and took all of these incredible shots for me to remember this life-changing year. I’ve uploaded all the pictures I chose to scan to my Facebook page – there’s something magical about the way old film pictures turn out when they’re scanned, so I couldn’t resist posting them all! Here’s a selection of my favorites – head here for more.