Planning for our next tour is always fun and between family time and living, this is what has been filling my thoughts of late and its led me to reflect on travel and family. After a number of years there still is simply so much of our beautiful country to see. Even revisiting places we love is a joy, as we get to see what time has made of them and then there is Family… yours.
The focus of any tour when you plan it, is what you want to see or do. Given this… the rest is relatively easy and very much part of the fun in the journey as you discover things along the way. We’re heading out for a number of months, after spending a good chunk of family time… a good chunk on medical issues and a larger and very rewarding chunk on the families future direction.. the Grandkids.
One of the hardest things in touring full time is that you miss the family. You crave touching the future, watching the kids grow into adults and helping our own families along in their chosen paths. Parenting never really is far from your thoughts in the dreams of the night. Family is a truly wonderful thing, and it can be one of the pleasures in life. Unfortunately it is also, one of the greatest pains as we have more recently discovered. But I don’t want to go there… to that dark place in families where the worst of family experiences live. Strangely enough, it is the sunlight to be found in family relationships which redeems the dark and as we get older, and more fragile… it is in this sunlight that we choose to dwell however, and the warmth is delightful. Turning your back on the dark, when you know your mortality is marching up, is also a pleasure you choose in its own simple way. Handing the reigns onto the next generation is too a joy in itself, and as each string slips from our fingers… people… it is truly liberating!!
In all this, one thing we have learnt is to value is technology, as bloody confusing and demanding as it can be at times. Truly, it’s greatest value is how it connects you to people you love. I love media platforms, those I have chosen such as facebook… its constraints, its demands and that it constantly changes is a delight and a demon to be dealt with all at once. It is the 21st centuries version of hanging over the fence gossiping. It does however give us easy access to family and for this… I will be eternally grateful.
Embracing technology as each new feature emerges is a challenge, constantly before us but the trick is to take from it, only the things you need. It also makes you value those ‘techo’ free’ breaks like that which we recently enjoyed with some of our Grandies where all they could do was watch their devices run flat. Where just sitting around a campfire and playing in the bush and creek becomes your whole world. These times are the gravy on the roast of life, with so many little mixed flavours and pleasures are found simply in this gravy.
It is kinda like that awkward transition from analog photo’s to digital. As easy as it is to delete those blurry and awkward shots… you also have to learn how to preserve those many good pictures in time so that they can be easily found. Like life, I have developed a system that works for me in mixing family and our love of touring… filing, cataloging and removing the things you value from the control of others… such as “the cloud” the “mem stick” and the “phone”, and finding a place in your life to make these things safe. Somewhere that you can protect and control, and often that platform is multi purpose.
Like I will shift a pic from my phone to my computer where I can play with it… share it… value it. I will then take it from the computer to a separate hard drive where it enters the ‘storage phase’ there it sits for a year or so until I once more shift all the pics to a deep storage… the DVD disc, and what a wonderful time capsule where these DVD’s are, storing pic’s along with other digital matter. Along the way those pic’s are also shared …. To postings, to articles, to Facebook, friends and family and into digital based photo albums, some of which I actually send to print. This, all while they live on the ‘puter in my life. Once they make the hard-drive they are well used, but then they sit in hiatus while other times and pic’s take precedence. Once moved on to DVD though they become a beautiful archive which has already spread its sunlight around. An archive which however, is a record of our lives and revisiting that archive is truly the best trip of all.
My parents are both gone from us now, but those archives… opening them will take you back in time. In todays world, with Youtube, blogs, instagram and the like, it is so truly easy to share your visit back in time with others. Yes I value technology, for its pains, its progress but in particular its pleasures… Its learning to use these things so that you enrich your life and so that they don’t control you, which is the most valuable of skills. Life… like the digital world can evaporate in a second and needs to be carefully nurtured and protected if it is to be valued beyond all.
My parents both travelled extensively in the later years of their lives, and their archives, mostly analog and old film recording their travels, are scattered and disjointed. Largely lost unfortunately but the digital world and media platforms we now enjoy have changed this. Given the time, one day I might attempt to gather what is largely lost of their experience… but most of all I will treasure, from my life, these things I have been able to gather, those which take me back to wonderful times. In this I also make the past assessable to my family, and we all can travel back to our future.
Jan is a Traveller and an Author. You can find out more about her books on travel on the page dedicated to Oldies at Large, where you will also find a list of her blog postings in topic.
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