It's A Great Big World
It’s A Great Big World
I grew up in England and had a fantastic childhood. I played every sport I could. I danced. I played a number of musical instruments and I relied solely on my mum and grandparents to get me to all of my commitments. My brother was just as active as I was and as I look back on my childhood, I marvel at how my mum managed to juggle our schedules all by herself. Now I know what you are thinking; my mum is probably a single parent. Wrong. My mum has been happily married to my dad for 27 years. The thing is, my dad was constantly working away.
Whenever my dad returned home after weeks of working away, our family dynamic would change. My brother and I were so used to our hectic schedules and knew exactly when our next practice or game was, but my dad found it difficult to keep up and more importantly, to reconnect with us. To have my dad slot into our busy lives was quite a challenge. Instead of falling into a dangerous pattern of my dad returning home after being away for weeks and getting annoyed and angry that he didn’t know what day our music lessons were, my mum decided to make time for us to reconnect. The easiest way for us to do that was to plan time where we would all be present and not distracted. We chose to travel every chance we got.
My dad made sure that the times he was not working fell during our school holidays and we made sure that we always had a family holiday together to look forward to. Whilst my brother and I were young, we would head out for a week a couple of times a year, generally staying in the UK. But as we got older we extended not only our range but the duration too, culminating in a three week tour of Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand.
Our family meetings would consist of, “do we want to get new carpets or do we want to visit Asia this summer?” Every time, travel won and I am glad it did. I can’t even remember what our carpet used to look like when we lived in England but I do remember when we boarded a Tuk-Tuk in Bangkok for the first time, and I remember the sense of achievement I felt after climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Every trip we took reconnected us as a family as we experienced new activities together.
Instead of our family drifting apart, we kept reconnecting through our travel experiences. It could have been extremely easy for me to look back at my childhood and just remember all the times my dad wasn’t there. Instead I look back at my childhood and remember all of our family holidays where my dad was completely present and a huge part of our family. One of my favourite memories is when my dad turned in his skis (he is a great skier) and learned to snowboard with my brother and I. Our family is very close, so close in fact that we still travel as a family! However, we now have added my husband and my brother’s wife to our family!
We see a lot of families where one parent works long hours or works away and we hear time and time again that the spouse feels like they are missing out on their children’s childhood. We are living proof that that doesn’t have to be the case and it is our pleasure to be able to provide busy families with the same travel opportunities we were exposed to and help families deepen their bonds.
About the Author
Rhian Torontow is a Family Travel Consultant with Magical Family Adventures. Rhian creates travel experiences that foster connections in your family that will last a lifetime and transforms your children into open-minded, flexible, well-travelled people. During Rhian’s childhood, her father travelled for work constantly and it was always travel that brought her family back together. You can follow Rhian on Facebook at www.facebook.com/magicalfamilyadventures, Instagram @MagicalFamilyAdventures and you can also connect with her on LinkedIn ca.linkedin.com/in/rhiantorontow/