When our brother in law Paul died in June, at his funeral there were so many wonderful photos of the four of them together on various trips, within Asia, Africa and further afield. They shared some amazing experiences, travel was a huge adventure that Cathy and Paul shared when they first met and they extended that into their family life with their children.
Just after Paul died, his son, our nephew, went to Cambodia for four weeks. It was a trip he'd been planning for over a year, first committing to it before his dad even knew he was sick. He'd raised over $2000 himself through various fundraising activities to give to a local family in Cambodia who he would assist in building their own home. He completed extra classes at school in TEFL and would act as a teacher and mentor to young Cambodians during his stay.
The trip was challenging for him in many ways. He had lost his father only a week earlier, and left behind his mother and sister to cope with those early days alone. Paul, his father, was a determined man and took his commitments extremely seriously. He instilled that same sense in his children and we all believed that Paul wanted Dan to go on the trip, to complete what he'd committed to over a year earlier, and to have fun in the process.
We booked our trip on a whim, because life is too short and we want to have those experiences with our children. We want them to have vivid memories of a wonderful family life, together in our home, doing nothing in particular, and being lucky enough to see another side of the world, where they can truly appreciate the reality of all they have.
In SE Asia, life is lived on the street. A huge part of it's appeal to me is that aspect of it and all that you see, not hidden from the public eye, but there right in front of you. It can be confronting at times, but often those things that surprise you most are the things that you remember longest. Mothers nursing babies, young children playing with nothing in particular, seemingly always laughing and pushing each other. Their life seems simple but happy. At times it's hard not to judge, many children are shoe free, very dirty, but always smiling and laughing. The differences are so vast, between our everyday and the average Cambodian's everyday that it's too much to list here. It made us thoughtful though, very grateful for all we have, or just the good fortune of living where we do, but also I felt how wonderful to share that with our children, to have the luxury of that travel with them, it was very special.