My son and I set out to travel the world together in January. I’d imagined many wonderful things about the journey. What I hadn’t imagined is the sheer quality and quantity of time together.
Or, for that matter, the absolute, unalloyed luxury of starting every single day with a complete free rein.
Where shall we go today? What shall we do? What shall we see?
All, as it happens, for less than the rent or mortgage on a one-bedroom London flat.
I was self-employed, single and working from home when Z was born. On a Sunday. By Tuesday, I was back at the laptop, newborn at boob, hitting a deadline I’d hoped to get out of the way before he arrived.
Now, I’m aware that working from home is many mothers’ dream. But, like self-employment, it tends to spill. You cannot leave your work at the office, because your office is your home. When jobs for different clients collide, you work all the hours god sends, and then some.
Preparing for a holiday was a frantic scramble: endless late nights at the laptop, followed by a last-minute squash of possessions into backpack (usually sitting on it, by the end), check of passports, cards and tickets. Enough, in fact, to make you need a holiday in itself…
So… here we are. Our year out to travel the world has extended to a multi-year trip. My assumption that we would return to the London grind has been replaced with a desire for a 300-euro a month rental somewhere the boy can become bilingual in Spanish and I can work much, much less.
And what have we done with today’s time?
Well, we caught the night train from Hanoi to Lao Cai, a highland town spitting distance from the Chinese border, and picked up a bus to Sapa.
It’s a slightly surreal place, Sapa. Tiny Hmong women in dark leggings and endless scarves and minuscule Wen Xai ladies in scarlet turbans wander amid French colonial buildings, fantasy Pyreneean mansions appear amid dramatic contours clad in oriental pines, while water buffalos laze on the endless rice terraces.
Breakfasted. Bought a penknife, with a compass. Chatted to a Vietnamese family at our guesthouse and two Hmong ladies in town.
We looked at the wonderful landscape, the maize, young rice and paddy terraces, and the bamboo irrigation system. Played pooh sticks in an irrigation channel. Z built an archipelago out of mud, tried to catch a butterfly, and picked me a bunch of wildflowers.
And, yes, as they say on the postcards, we are having a lovely time. Thanks to Josie at Sleep is for the Weak for the writing prompt, time.