On slowing down
For the past nine days, I was in Turkey, travelling with my parents. If you’ve never travelled anywhere with your own mother and father, give it a try.
I’ve always been used to only looking after myself when I travel but on this trip, my needs became less important.
It’s not that my mother and father have never travelled overseas before, they have, on many occasions. Just four years ago, they took my eldest niece to New Zealand with them, rented a car and drove all over the country. Not very many people can say they’ve done that with their nine-year-old granddaughter.
But four years is a long time in human body terms, and this trip with them was an exercise in patience, humility and more patience. I had to walk much slower than usual, although I often forgot and found myself speeding ahead in front of them. Allowances had to be made for their daily habits- my father absolutely MUST spend at least half an hour in the bathroom every morning, something I find both amusing and infuriating, depending on the circumstances. My mother is far from overweight but isn’t very active, so I asked my brothers for ideas on activities which wouldn’t tire her too much, although I wasn’t always spot on in my choices.
In short, this trip ended up being totally different from my solo trips. Extra time had to be set aside for my parents to get ready; for someone who is accustomed to walking almost everywhere and fairly quickly, I walked less and took more taxis; I ate well; I stayed in pretty comfortable hotels which of course, I’m not complaining about!
We didn’t rush- in fact, we couldn’t. When you have parents who are past 67, rushing isn’t always possible. I slowed down on this trip, and as a result, I had more time to observe what was around me.
This was my second time in Turkey but the first for my parents, so while certain things were already familiar to me, they were seeing the country with new eyes. And because old people notice little things, I did too. I saw how pretty the flowers in the Topkapi Palace grounds were. I noticed the frescoes in the Hagia Sofia more closely this time around. There is so much wisdom in slowing down, in not rushing through things or trying to achieve too much in a day, and I have my parents to thank for that.
The Turks we met were lovely. They were respectful towards my parents and took the time to chat with them, making me realise that if strangers could be patient with my own mother and father, I could too.
So if you’ve never travelled with your mum and dad, do it. If you’re lucky, you’ll also find out that they love travelling and still see the world with wonder in their eyes.
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