Beginning of a journey
I’m about to go on a 2 month world trip - tomorrow in fact! After my Dad died last year (and a year of sitting quietly absorbing, feeling and processing all that), this year I woke up inspired to get on with the things that you dream of doing before you can no more! One of these things is travelling so here we go!
It’s quite a personal journey, inspired a bit by my Dad and his life, roots, own travelling, etc, as well as my own.
A key fact emerged about my Dad after he died which has been a major event for me as far as understanding and ‘getting to know him’ belatedly (as often happens after a death I hear), and has played a big part in focusing my thinking and this travelling kind of around him.
When he died me and my brother and sister were told by my uncle that we had a sister we never knew about. My Dad had fathered a child with a woman he had been in a serious relationship with 10 years before he met our mother, a woman called Margie who was close to his own family, who he abandoned heartbroken and pregnant in 1952. (This did something to explain the vagueness with which he always referred to his early life, and the distance he had always kept between us and his family.)
In 1952/53 three major things happened to him, which, the way I see it now, mark this time as a ‘line’ through his life, a point where it irrevocably turned:
- His mother died.
- His daughter Jacqueline was born to Margie.
- He left the UK (leaving Margie before Jackie was born), joined the army and travelled to the Far East, where he lived for 7 years, then to Canada where he met my Mum and had a family (us). He didn’t return to the UK to live for 20 years (1972, when we came to the UK as a family, me and my sibs for the first time, all born in Toronto).
He never met his daughter Jackie, leaving her and her mother in one hell of a situation in 1952. But me and my brother and sister were lucky enough to make contact with her last year, and between us have done a great deal of healing, sharing and learning. Marvellous! Amazing to be blessed with another sister (and one as cool as Jackie) at this great age!
Bit of a story eh! In amongst all this I have always wanted to try to track down my Dad’s family history (East European Jewish ancestry); I have also always been strangely compelled by the Holocaust; I’ve always wanted to drive across America, amongst other odd things and personal interests... So this then is the itinerary for my trip:
11 Sept - Bucarest, Romania
A week or so trying to track down my Dad’s mother’s family origins, known to be in Romania.
Mid Sept - Continue in Eastern Europe
Visiting Poland (Auschwitz, always wanted to go), plus trying to track down my Dad’s father’s side of things in possibly Lithuania (still working on that one!)
Late Sept - Berlin
Meet up with my partner and her good friend there for a few days there, find out what Germany feels like, maybe go to a cabaret a-la Sally Bowles!
End Sept - South Germany
Doing an amazing shamanic course there, going to ‘the dark side’ of self, fantastic! Looking forward to that.
Early Oct - Malaysia and Hong Kong
10 days in the places my Dad went to soon after leaving Margie and Jackie in 1952, formerly Malaya and Hong Kong, places he lived in for 7 years and apparently loved very much. See if I can find out why he loved them so much. Hong Kong, where he had a ‘bit’ part in the Orson Wells b-movie ‘Ferry to Hong Kong’ (the dashing, dastardly Portuguese officer who won’t let the hero land at Macau for those who know or are interested!) etc.
11 Oct - fly from Hong Kong to San Francisco
My Dad’s best friend in Canada always said my Dad was the only British person he knew in Toronto who had never crossed the Atlantic! I am perversely looking forward to going on a flight that starts at 11pm on a Monday, takes about 14 hours, and lands... at 8.30pm on the same day!
12-15 Oct - San Francisco
A few days in beloved San Francisco, Western gay mecca (as was), radical hippy corner of the USA, beautiful streets, buildings and cable cars, staying at the zen buddhist centre, and a bit of grounding there before the next bit...
15-28 Oct - drive! from San Fran to Ohio
Route not entirely finalised but will hopefully include... Yosemite, Death Valley, Las Vegas (to point and stare at only, not stop!), Grand Canyon, Rockies, the Great Plains, Chicago, small town America, and much more no doubt... If you know anyone who lives there or anything about poetry nights that might be on this route please let me know!
Late Oct- Ohio
To visit some very dear friends of my parents who we were close to us when we lived in Canada, knew me as a very young child, etc (I have very few people in my life of that category). Lovely people, can’t wait to go ‘home’ to them.
Early Nov - over the border to Canada, Toronto
Back to the beginning, the city where I was born in 1967. Visit our old neighbourhood, a great city much changed, the place of my parents’ courtship, and another old friend of the family who knew me as a baby.
6 Nov - home
So quite a journey! I intend to write as I go as you can imagine, a blog and other creative stuff that comes to me. So if you are interested in tracking my travels or reading about it please have a look at that:
And if you like it, please spread the word to others who you also think might..!
Happy travels wherever your journey is currently taking you.