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Travel Bug Mummy

By 9th January 2015

I caught the travel bug before I’d even taken my first trip. I poured over the out of print atlases in my granny’s North Dublin living room. Many of the names had long since changed of the faded pink and green shapes on the maps. I was transfixed by my aunt’s slides of her trips to the Himalayas, Borneo and South America projected on to her cottage wall in remote Connemara. Scuba diving and trekking were a world away from 1980’s Ireland.

Once I did get on the road by myself or with friends I knew there’d be a lifelong love of travelling ahead of me. I had my list and while I mostly didn’t get to stick to it I did make it to East Africa before mobile phones linked every village and Eastern Europe before there was Sat Nav or Euros.

I know one or two things about travelling, not necessarily the glamorous clinking of heels along an airport concourse but the hauling of reluctant sleepy children miles away from their warm beds.

I still have my list but nowadays our travelling is not as global as it once was.  Instead I find myself, with three children, living and loving them in different parts of the UK. We’ve discovered Northern Ireland and with almost monthly trips over three years I knew the road to Dublin from Portstewart backwards.

I would begin the packing for a Friday departure on a Monday night knowing that you can never pack the night before. Learn that lesson at your peril. Washing strategically was key! I’d bury their favourite t-shirts under nappies and formula. There was a stash of toys and duplicate children’s paraphernalia at my parent’s home. I had heels and handbags there too.  The weekly shop was tuned down to cope with the car picnic and eating like church mice the night before a trip.

You do realise that ‘Less is more” so when the journeys became regular I had it down to an almost fine art. I always forgot something or more than one thing if I wasn’t driving down with my husband. Once I’d remembered what I had forgotten I mostly relaxed into a driving daydream. On a good day I’d be remembering views from trains in India or buses in Tanzania. I could even get nostalgic about being stuck on the Berliner Ring for 10 hours in an Estonian Volvo.

On our return, we had a jar of pesto waiting for us ready to stir into otherwise bleak pasta. Wrecked, happy but swearing I wouldn’t travel with kids again. Only deep down I know the travel bug means I will and I can. And if I really meant it then I should take those maps off our kitchen wall!

Until next time,




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