Proving Travel’s Attributes True

There’s an old saying: Travel broadens the mind.  

You’ll find no dissenters to that sentiment among us Homesteaders.  In our time, we’ve done our fair share of globetrotting and, some days, it’s only the lure of our next planned adventure to coincide with Farm Girl’s tenth birthday (Union Homestead: Euro 2017 or How to Blow the Mortgage in 42 Days) that keeps us going. It has this crazy way, whether it be travel for work or play, obligation or relaxation, of recharging your batteries and reigniting your enthusiasm for what you left behind.  Oh, there’s also the whole seeing how other people move through their 24 hour time allotments, what they value, how they communicate, what floats their boats, and how similar we all are in our differences, but we figured that idea was already a given.

A couple of us have been broadening our minds this week, but far from being excited by the prospect of new experiences, upskilling, and not having to cook any meals for four whole days, one of us was feeling downright ripped off.  The other was bouncing-off-the-walls excited (and that was only about the plane ride) but the elder of the duo found it difficult to see past missing the first plum blossom, a whole week of kid growth and sampling the first broad bean; The Milk Maid can suffer a tad from tunnel vision.

As if to rub it in, all the stops were pulled out as the sulky traveler completed one final round of Union Homestead prior to departure:

"There're leaving us?"
You’re leaving us?”
"What?  Seriously?!"
“What? Seriously?!”
"Relax.  There's no way..."
“Relax. There’s no way…”

But leave they did, destination Auckland aka The Big Smoke, for four days of learning, masquerading as hanging out with kindred souls or, in the case of The Milk Maid, full-on enlightenment.  A little explanation is probably called for at this point, before you begin to suspect we’ve lost the plot.

Our gorgeous Farm Girl was born with eyes that are a tad wanting in their primary function.  Over the last few years as she has become more able to articulate herself, the level of this slackness on the part of her peepers has become more accurately measurable and we Homesteader’s have had to come to the realisation that one of our number doesn’t see the world as we would wish. This week was spent with six similarly sighted five to eight year olds and their adult tag-alongs, learning strategies for coping in and travelling among a society that expects those with eyes to see.

2014-09-11 10.09.54

Spending time with people in which vision, or lack thereof, is a given and thus insignificant was surprisingly (embarrassingly so) relaxing.  No one shrieked, gasped or (worst of all) tutted about inattentive caregivers when a misjudged step ended in a full-splat face plant or Farm Girl’s guardian angel did some overtime ensuring she enjoyed the benefit of perfectly timing her wander in front of a swing in full flight.  Among the scholars, there were none of those hide the glasses/shoes/pen/school bag/whatever games that pass for “just having fun” and the adults got to swap ideas, anecdotes and ingenious strategies generally dreamed up out of desperation.  On hand were four wonderful Resource Teachers – Vision (RTVs) who had been there, done that many times before and answered the adults questions and led the younger campers through an awesome learning experience.

A day was spent at Butterfly Creek:

A couple of residents hitched a ride on Farm Girl's hat
A couple of residents hitched a ride on Farm Girl’s hat

where Goldie the Crocodile put on a bit of a show:

Farm Girl's iPad shutter finger captured the moment
and Farm Girl’s iPad shutter finger captured the moment

Movies were watched, the life cycle of the butterfly was investigated, dramas were staged, dances executed and research undertaken, collated and presented during which (to borrow a phrase from a fellow blogger)a few handkerchief fluttering moments were indulged in.  

Not that anything stood still on the Homestead.  The Bean Counter took a week off paid employment to assist The Goat Herd in keeping the home fires burning.  The new firewood seasoning section had some work done on it and a couple more trees were lopped off the fence line, the animals were well cared for and only slightly stand offish on our return,and no takeaways were consumed in our absence.  All in all, a successful week.

 It may have been a little exhausting:

2014-09-11 21.20.49

but on balance, so very worth it.  

Yep, the plum tree is now sporting a few blossoms, the kids are a little bigger and more boisterous, and the broad beans are cropping. Two of us missed that all happening but hey! there’s always next year and there’s no doubt in our mind this week away will definitely bear fruits of it’s own.  

To paraphrase another adage, There truly is No Place like Home and, if we may be so bold as to add, your very own bed, however this week has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, that travel does indeed broaden the mind:


and one of us has the certificate to prove it!

16 thoughts on “Proving Travel’s Attributes True

  1. Exhausted is what you want to see…success! Wonderful post:-) Those of us that grow food , even on city lots need a break every once in awhile…to get away and explore!

  2. Woohoo, the Beautiful Farmgirl has two numbers and congrats on that Tenth Birthday. I am so happy you enjoyed that lovely vacation. The youngest Walker Boy was visually impaired for a biggest part of his young years due to a problematic birth and together with serious dislexia you can imagine I can fully understand your fluttering handkerchief moments. I do not think you guys ever let something stand in your way but you might feel encouraged that the Youngest Walker Boy succesfully finished Highschool and reached the big 20 this summer and is a happy student in Toronto, Canada. Have a lovely Sunday, Johanna from Ohio
    ps Thanks for the link and I am mighty impressed with that croc!

    • Thanks so much. Farm Girl still has three years before her big 1-0; thankfully, as we are planning a full on Union Homestead World Tour to celebrate it and not a lot in the kitty. You know, sometimes people come into your life for a reason. How cool for us to have connected with someone who has been where we are now and thus totally understands the whole hanky fluttering thing. No worries re the link and that croc, while impressive, gave me the heebie jeebies 🙂

  3. Sounds like a fun experience for the two of you – so glad that Farm Girl had the opportunity (and the plane ride). Performing crocodiles, seriously? Auckland the Big Smoke? Lol…So, are you making plans to go back next year?

    • Well, the crocodile was less interested in performance and more on the chicken on the end of the guys bamboo pole but it put on a pretty fair show. Sadly (or not) Auckland is as big smokey as we get. Not my favourite city, but needs must. Definitely go back next year if we manage to tick all the boxes.

  4. It’s true that travel certainly does sharpen the mind. We often think that all kids of a certain age should be made to put a backpack on and go! It’s been 13 years since we were in Auckland ( wow, where did that time go?), Bet it’s changed, or has it? 🙂

    • This was my first trip back to Auckland in six years. I’m sure the inner city remains the same, but out where I was has been vastly changed by motorways etc. Like I’ve said before, not my favourite city but it serves it’s purpose 🙂 Dunno about the enforced travel option – maybe it’s the whole “OE” thing we antipodeans do. I’ve seen way too many folk get lost between the two hemispheres – yearning for home when away, and the bright lights when here and ending up waking up when they’re 40 very sad and with no one special around them. Maybe that’s simplifying it. Wow! That was a tad thought provoking for this time on a Monday morning 🙂

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