My grandparents were both born and partly raised in China. As children of missionaries they attended a boarding school on the Rooster mountain (Kikungshan) from the age of seven, which enabled them to stay in the country and not have to go back to Sweden to get an education.
But going to school in China didn’t make it that much easier to spend time with family – the distances were long and the means of transport slow and often dangerous. In spite of the peril, my grandparents went to visit their families once or twice a year.
After returning to Sweden they lived in a missionary home without their parents from the age of 14 and onwards.
Perhaps the many trips they had to make as children – within China, from China to America, Japan, Sweden and back, satisfied their travelling bug when it came to other countries. As I look through their photos of past holidays, it strikes me that they are always travelling around Sweden. Once they went to Norway, but it seems they preferred to travel by car, stay with friends or put up a tent in their own country. Going abroad was not something they longed for. But then again, they grew up in China and might have felt that Sweden was the more exotic choice…
On one of those vacations, they apparantly got interviewed by a newspaper. A picture was taken and to my surprised it turned up last year in a crossword magazine!
I came to think of it this summer, as I went on a similar roadtrip with my family – though we did not sleep in a tent – we stayed in small cottages in camping sites were the nature was so beautiful it almost hurt.
In the picture, my dad (the eldest boy) is about 14 years old, and serving himself some breakfast (I presume). No one is looking in the camera, and it seems to be a very natural situation.
I’m happy I found this picture. It has a nice air to it. They all seem so calm, and my grandfather looks like he may be thinking about where to go next.
And that is the best thing about vacations when you don’t have to plan everything out in advance. Staying somewhere just because the scenery pleases you, stopping to look at an old farm and finding a lovely café and a spontaneous guide who teaches you something new.
Though I hope I don’t have to stop travelling abroad forever, I do see the charm of discovering my own country.
And it is big enough to last many staycations… 🙂