In my last post for this blog I was celebrating the completion of a writing project (The Titanic Document). That was just before I set out on what began as a three week visit to Australia at the beginning of March, but got extended… Since my return, I have completed another writing project – a separate blog describing My Epic Aussie Adventure.
Most people like to take home souvenirs of their holidays, and I’m no different. So, here’s a little insight into what I brought back:
Books, naturally. Then there were some colourful and unusual shells to remind us of those wonderful beaches. The mandatory T-shirt, of course. But these are just the physical things. On their own they help to invoke pleasant memories in the same way as the photographs I took. Writing my special blog also helped with that! Mentally, well… I came back with something I hadn’t expected, and that’s what I wanted to touch on here.
Let’s wind the clock back a bit. The initiative for my trip down under was to “follow my parents’ footsteps”, and explore the places where they lived for a brief few months seventy years ago. I did that, and it was wonderful – not the least because I was able to meet people there who had actively helped in research for my book A Kangaroo In My Sideboard. That was a rewarding experience in itself, but I came away with something more: a new perspective.
I discovered how universally welcoming and friendly the Aussies are. Throughout our month-long stay we came across people with a ready smile and a genuine “happy to help” attitude: The receptionist; the taxi driver; the baker; the woman in the supermarket; the man in the restaurant. You’ll find many examples in my other blog. It made me realise that, despite the huge letting down my parents suffered at the hands of one Aussie farmer, they must have come across so many others who gave them moral support and practical assistance. I’ve described a few of these in my book, but the big souvenir I came away with was to find myself in a similar position to mum and dad (stranded in the same country), wondering how I was going to get home – and receiving unreserved friendship and generosity from the locals.
The world has changed enormously in the last seventy years. Technology has driven that transition, but I honestly find it reassuring that (at heart) people are still the same. We all face fears and doubts, especially under the impact of a world pandemic, but the experience of travelling halfway round the globe has taught me that we can still make things better by supporting each other with a smile and a thought for how we can help others.
When we come out of lockdown, there are going to be so many opportunities to do just that. I’ve got my souvenir, and it’s going to help me in the future. Now I’ve shared it with you, what do you think? Could YOU make a positive difference to another person?
Give someone a G’day!
Need to know:
(I don’t just write fiction.