When we started travelling full-time back in 2006, we weren’t too worried about leaving our family behind. It didn’t matter that we were going to the other side of the world: we could always keep in touch by phone and email, and we’d be back in three or four years — it was no problem at all.
Maybe it’s part of getting older, but over the past few years I’ve really started to value my family. I’ve become better friends with my sister and brother, and I’ve been making an effort to make regular phone calls to my mum and dad. They, and Craig’s family too, are a big part of the reason why we head back to New Zealand every couple of years.
Going home is great, but spending time with family in other countries is even better. We’re lucky in that our families are happy to travel, and we’ve spent time with various members of them in a whole bunch of places: Craig’s mum visited us in Malta and again in La Coruna, Craig’s sister has visited us twice in Spain and once in Berlin.
We travelled through Western Australia and Scotland with Craig’s dad and stepmum, and I’ve lost track of the number of places we’ve been with my sister: France, Turkey, Austria, and the Czech Republic number amongst them, not to mention a fair chunk of Australia and New Zealand. Plus, we travelled to five European countries in a day with my dad and have met up with him in Asia a couple of times too.
This month has been a great month for family, as my brother and his fiancée were here for Easter and Craig’s dad and stepmum Anne spent a week here later in the month. We got to act as tour guides and show them around our city and a couple of others, and I’m pretty sure we all had a fantastic time. I did, certainly, and they say they did too… and who am I to contradict them?
I really enjoyed spending time with my brother Simon and getting to know his fiancée Katie a bit more — they’re both awesome. While we explored Alcalá and Madrid, we reminisced about the past (well, Simon mocked me about past stupidities, but that’s the same thing, right?) and formed new shared memories and personal jokes.
It was especially great to be able to watch a couple of Easter processions with them; it’s a tradition Craig and I have experienced many times, but always by ourselves. It was nice to get a different perspective on them! We also explored countless eateries: some of our tried-and-true favourites in Alcalá, and some new-and-exciting ones in Madrid. We were lucky enough to have excellent weather, so our stroll around Retiro Park was very pleasant, and we were ready for a carafe of tinto de verano afterwards.
Craig spent more time with his parents than I was able to, since I had to work during the day, but our evenings together were chilled and relaxed, and our weekend trip to Valencia was amazing. The highlight was definitely hiring bikes and cycling down the long park that used to be a river, and cuts a swathe of green through the city. We stopped for photos near the City of Arts and Sciences and continued on for tapas at an outdoor food market and lunch by the beach. Paella, of course!
Craig also showed them around Alcalá and took them to Toledo — I’m just a little jealous, as I had to work, but they brought me back marzipan as a consolation prize. And, continuing the theme, we spent lots of time eating: Anne couldn’t believe how cheap and tasty the menus del día are here.
Being away from family is a struggle for many travellers, though modern technology like video calls makes things a lot easier. Of course, it’s even better if they come to visit! How do you deal with being away from family while you travel? Has your family visited you?