Eight years ago  I was standing on Waikiki Beach staring at the sunset while hubby swam with the turtles. Ah bliss. This was the end of a mammoth 5 month tour of the world including places like: Egypt, France, Spain, Italy, Ireland, England, USA and Canada.

It was an interesting time to travel. When we were in Cairo, the bombs were starting to fall in Iraq. We had violent protests moving up towards our hotel and even lost (and later found) a few Americans which was quite scary. While we travelled, protests for peace, ‘pace’  dominated nearly every city we visited. It was like a common theme running through our trip.

I must admit I was not the world’s best tourist. Pretty soon I was sick of hostels where you had to share a bathroom. Sometimes I just wanted a long toilet session in the peace and quiet of my own room. That’s not too much to ask is it? I found myself stressing at the silliest things like taking the wrong turn. Not because I was cranky with hubby-boy but with myself. I think my perfectionist streak came out big time over the weeks and months that followed.

The travelling experience was like being in a bubble. All that mattered was the next meal and the next bed. Home was so far away that we barely gave it any attention, except when I pathetically missed my little black cat… and my bathroom. Sigh. I loved getting to a new place or finding a small ancient town that we hadn’t really planned on visiting. It was like digging for treasure and you cannot lose when in Europe.

We were certainly on a whirlwind tour of the world. A man in France laughed at us Aussies who seemed to take a fast-forward tour of Europe, cos we live so far away. I was proud to be a typical Aussie, though. Those spoilt Europeans can afford to meander through each little town, but we just wanted a general taste of everything. And that’s just what we did.

From Hong Kong to Egypt, Europe to America/Canada, we saw pyramids, mountains, summer snow, wild animals, ancient monuments, castles, strange and exotic food and muchos vino. We ate gross vinegary tuna with tinned corn and carrot which really got old after the second week. Our European snacks included giant strawberries, garlic baguette chips, wine, fresh bread, cheese and lots of yummy coffee (only in Italy).

We videoed ourselves singing the same song in every country so that we could splice it together and revisit the whole time in only a couple of minutes (good idea hus of the band). We walked the Brooklyn Bridge, rode a camel near the pyramids, relaxed in a gondola in Venice, slept in a 400 year old Gite in France, walked the Cinque Terre with some awesome friends, camped in the semi-wilds of Canada with bears, saw a show on Broadway, in Las Vegas and Hawaii and flew 19 flights in 19 weeks.

We fought, we cried, we sneezed, we giggled with delight. It was the trip of a lifetime, something we will never be able to replicate. It was hard and fun and satisfying. But the biggest and best adventure is happening right now. As much as I loved travelling and learning and experiencing the world, nothing compares to my family.

The little whispers of my kids with their lovely stinky breath and cute boring stories. Their art that takes up all the room in my drawers, under the bed and in the office. Their cuddles, their giggles, their love for stories. I wouldn’t want to miss a moment for anything.