“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me”
This year, I was blessed to have the opportunity to travel with my Dad and even more so that I was able to get a month off work to do so! I have always been close to my parents and since we lost Mum suddenly last year, it is even more important that we all look out for each other. Dad has always wanted to go to Australia but Mum wasn’t such a good traveller. This year, I had a conference in Singapore and thought this would be a great opportunity to visit my best friend who has been living in Melbourne for the last four years. And of course, I invited Dad along too…
As I do shift work, I was able to travel between sets of nights which helped maximise my leave and with study leave built in too, I was able to get the most leave I’ve ever had in one go, since I graduated. Obviously there were constraints on dates with regard to the conference and shifts. Overall we had just two weeks in Australia, then a few days in Singapore for the conference and a week after that.
I’ve been to Australia three times before but still have loads of places that I’ve yet to go. My Dad is so laid back that it was really difficult to get him to tell me what he wanted to do. My original plan had been Melbourne, Sydney, Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef i.e. to see the things most people probably thing of when they think of Australia. Dad said he was really keen to see Sydney but wasn’t that fussed about Uluru and as the flights were expensive, that then got dropped. The Great Ocean Road is my personal favourite thing in Australia – I’ve now been three times! And with my friend being based in Melbourne, that was an easy decision. I did my PADI in Cairns 9 years ago but a bit of google research told me that Port Douglas or Palm Cove was a much better option to stay in to access the Great Barrier Reef, so we stayed in both! One of my cousins spent a year travelling around Australia and recommended Noosa and Brisbane so they were our final destinations, and new to me too.
As Singapore is not that big (and I’ve been before), I planned to see things in the evening after my conference and to pop out in the hour long lunch breaks too, so we flew out the day after it finished.
For the final week, I figured we’d go somewhere that was at least in the vague direction of home. We debated between Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Jordan etc before finally settling on Vietnam. As we wanted to be home in time for Easter with the family, that only gave us five days in Vietnam and thus we had to decide whether we’d prefer to see the North or South. As direct flights back to the UK are only on alternate days, that made our decision for us so we were off to Hanoi and Halong Bay!
Travelling with Dad was fantastic – I can now appreciate my parents for the people they are themselves. It also meant I gained a better insight into how he’s coping. It was nice to not need to be quite so budget conscious too! Dad is a perfect travelling companion – easy going, willing to try most things and always willing to stop for a beer or two! Thanks Dad x