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My friends generally welcome the fact that I love travelling. One can understand why: they get to “like” my endless TripIt updates on Facebook, skim-read those lengthy blog reports and scroll through myriads of pictures afterwards – without ever having to travel themselves. Convenience galore.
I confess that I, too, enjoy following other people’s adventures without participating. Seeing a new place every weekend may be fun – but going through the pain of booking actual flights, dragging to airports, fastening seatbelts and putting up with low-cost service of Europe’s self-proclaimed leading airlines is infinitely less so. Let alone editing hundreds of pictures and combining them into blog posts as a follow-up. It rightfully seems a lot of work – and is hardly ever worth the effort.
But that’s another story. Thank you very much, folks, for being such good readers. Your enthusiasm does wonders to my motivation. Most of you find it a cool thing to see anjči jetting off from London frequently – and seem to enjoy glancing through my photographic travel reports afterwards. Most of you.
Except for two people. Yes, two fearless rebels do not seem to share the excitement of watching me zoom around like crazy. Unlike the rest of you, they hardly look forward to finding out – on Facebook – about my impending discovery of, say, India. Neither do they appreciate the sense of adventure one gets hanging around the Malaysian-Thai border for hours without a sprinkle of cash. Reading about some eccentric local semi-psycho I happen to meet in Morocco gets them anything but entertained. And they certainly drive one insane with their requests for detailed itineraries of every trip I embark on – hotel fax numbers and owners’ dogs’ names included. Truly I tell you – those people are not easily pacified.
But, as demanding as they can be, I love those folks to bits. Because they happen to be my parents. And today is a very special day in their lives. The 6th of March – 35 years since the day my parents met each other for the first time.
How it all began
Their story is an interesting one. Thirty five years ago, my mother – a construction engineering student from Riga – came to her aunt’s wedding, only to discover that among the guests was this acne-pestered young sailor with hazel eyes: my father-to-be. Two years my mother’s junior, he went on to do what sailors of the world immortal have been doing for centuries – namely, got hopelessly tipsy and had to be taken home. My mother volunteered to help; the rest is history. Let me just say that, in such a romantic setting, there was bound to be some sort of a happy end.
And here they are – 35 years of happy relationship and counting. Needless to say that my parents have made a fantastic couple. I have no doubt that another 35 years will be a walk in the park. Literally. Mum and Dad, they not only have found each other – they have been great parents to their only child, too.
Indeed, I have parents to die for. The freedom I was given growing up is enviable; my parents hardly ever objected to any choice my wandering mind made in the past. The examples are a legion. When I rushed to study in cold, expensive Finland, my parents only sighed and agreed. And, as unhappy as they were with my decision to move to Greece, a joke of a job market, three years ago – they didn’t say a word, either. They probably knew I’d get over it eventually, anyway.
Yet one thing my parents and I could never agree on is travelling. In my mother’s mind, travelling is forever crystallised as an all-inclusive beach holiday in Antalya. Falling off a cliff on the Faroe Islands, taking a 13-hour ride on an obsolete Serbian train, driving up to an actively erupting Icelandic volcano and celebrating New Year with 10 Vietnamese strangers – those are only a handful of things my mother would NEVER classify as fun. And my father? He has sided with my mother for as long as I can remember. Strictly between us, that may well be the key to staying together for three and a half decades.
A perfect Anniversary present?
Thirty five years is certainly no joke. What could I do to make my parents happy on this important occasion, given our family’s general opposition to opulent material gifts? Perhaps I could promise Mum and Dad to travel less? Seeing me cut on travel would no doubt be welcomed by both of them.
Obliged, I briefly considered limiting my travel to über-developed countries like Germany or Switzerland. Or travelling with a group of friends or – panic – a boyfriend. Or coming to my parental home in Riga for every single holiday. Or calling my mother hourly when on the road. Yes, I was almost ready for a major sacrifice.
I honestly meant well – but good intentions are worth little when one cannot commit to them. I soon realised that I could never revolutionise my travel habits without stopping to be the anjči my parents – and my readers – know so well. It would simply be too much to offer.
Suddenly bright light shone on my horizon. There WAS in fact something besides travel my parents and I always disagreed on. For years, they have tried to convince me to learn the language already spoken by half a billion of the world’s population. Spanish, ladies and gentlemen. Somehow the idea of their little girl chattering away in español was dear to Mum and Dad. Not to me though; I have been a bad daughter and resisted, instead getting repeatedly hooked on languages with infinitely less populous armies of native speakers.
In short, I have let my parents down. And the time has come to remedy the situation. Dear Mum and Dad, I could not promise you to travel less. But, on your 35th Anniversary, I instead solemnly promise to get down to learning Spanish. At last will your long-term dream come true. And nobody will need to curb their travel mania. And everyone will live happily ever after. I promise.
Above all, thank you for being such atta-parents all this time. Here’s to another 35 years!
¡Feliz aniversario de Madrid! : )