Travel – It was a calling
Boyd and I met when we were 15 years old. He was sitting in my chair in Science class, it was his first day at a new school on the Northern beaches of Sydney. I believe it was destined. I can still remember seeing him for the first time, a country boy in football shorts with a mullet, and yet somewhere in my consciousness there was a familiarity and a knowing. We started “going out” which lasted for a year and a half and even when we started seeing other people we always remained close friends. Our paths took us in different directions physically yet somehow with the same calling.
Boyd has always had a good sense of self and a feeling of belonging, so his travel was more exploration, a desire to see the world and to push his limits. He learned to fly planes and saw the world. At the end of his pilots course he followed a girlfriend to Europe, where like almost every Aussie he backpacked his way around phenomenal destinations with new stories emerging from his memory even today. Lucky for me, he left his girlfriend in Europe and headed to the United States of America with a mate, and travelled through 35 states. They ended up penniless in Whistler, Canada. Boyd was hoping for a job as a “lifty” but the human resource department at Whistler/Blackcomb saw a different potential and he ended up running a “ski-in, ski-out” restaurant half way up the mountain. He managed to help turn the restaurant into a cash cow by using his country charm and his good sense of Aussie knowhow.
Travel For Education and Work
I finished school and went to university where I studied a Bachelor of Business in Tourism at Southern Cross University. This ticked all the boxes, my love for travel and living half an hour from Byron Bay. I owe this decision to my Dad, who sat me down and asked me what I wanted to do with my life”, he wasn’t surprised when I immediately said “Travel” as he has always instilled in us the value of seeing the world. Post my degree, I got a job at Club Med in the Australasian head office. I started on the reservations team and quickly moved into a sales role – where I was paid to travel. So I Cub Med-hopped my way around the Asia Pacific for a few of years, away escorting groups of travel agents most weekends. I then moved into a domestic focussed role, which led me through many great destinations in Australia. I was hungry to see more of the world, so when a position came up in an Adventure Travel company, I jumped at the opportunity. Suddenly I was rubbing shoulders with some of Australia’s’ adventure travel pioneers. Peter Hillary, Gabi Hollows (for her and the late Fred Hollows) work in Nepal, Tim Macartney-Snape and Sue Fear only to name a few. My work lead me to India and Nepal with an extensive education of these areas as well as South America and Antarctica.
By this time, Boyd had moved home and we were engaged to be married. In 2001 We honeymooned in Vietnam immersing ourselves in the history and culture of the places we visited. Boyds need for travel was satisfied for the moment but he was anxious to return to flying. So we set out for Darwin, a well known spot for pilots to increase their hours while flying for a charter airline. We ended up living and working in Kakadu National Park. Boyd flying and me on the tours desk.
Travelling with the Family
Its now 13 years later and we have 4 children. We travel with our children as much as possible. Domestically we travel nearly every school holidays. Boyds family are still farming so we are lucky to have the opportunity to visit the farm and be involved in that lifestyle. Internationally, we travel as much as we can. We’ve been to Hong Kong, New Zealand, Thailand, and to Fiji. We tend to travel to New Zealand and Indonesia with the children, mainly due to the proximity to Sydney. Queenstown is an obvious favourite for its scenery, food & wine and choice of activities. In Indonesia we head for more remote locations like The Gili Islands in Lombok or off the beaten track in Bali. Our favourite little village is Bukit Batu a half hour out of Ubud.
Travelling Educates Our Children
For me, travel is important family time. But more than that it gives us the opportunity to instil a sense of knowing your place in the world – we think this is important for our children. It is important for them to see that they are the same as others, just living in another part of the world. Hopefully it will also give them a sense of belonging to something greater, to being a global citizen. We try to teach responsible travel and to be respectful travellers. I love that they have formed their own friendships with local people from our travels with language not being a barrier.
Future Travel Plans
We plan to head to Siem Reap in Cambodia this year. Angkor Wat holds a mysteriousness that fascinates me. Boyds plans are further afield, he wants to show us Canada. Obviously I’m not complaining, the Northern lights have been on my to-do-list from the beginning. We travel because the idea of not travelling and seeing our world feels wrong. I keep returning to a well known quote by Mark Twain that my mum gave me as a poster when I was about 20, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness” and so for these reasons and many more, we have both travelled and for as long as we can we will keeping travelling.
A Near Tragedy & Family Travel Insurance
Whilst in Bali, our daughter slipped on wet tiles and slid under the second storey balcony railing. Watching your daughter fall two stories to the ground is nothing short of horrifying! Fortunately she has since made a full recovery and is beautiful, healthy and happy.
One of the first questions asked when at the hospital was – did we have travel insurance? Luckily, the answer was yes. We provided our details and from that moment forward, we did not have to worry about paying or dealing with hospital administration. Our travel insurance company looked after everything. Furthermore, they called daily to check on our daughter and offer assistance and well wishes. During a very stressful time, our travel insurance provider alleviated a great deal of stress – both emotionally and financially.
We have experienced the unexpected, formed life long memories and friendships and greatly enriched our lives thanks to travel.
By Turiee Stidwill