Tell Us About- The Road Not Travelled

Hello everyone , after my quite long absence I am finally rejoining the monthly writing challenge – Tell Us About- where bloggers from around the world explore a different word each month.

Our theme for this month suggested by Mary Katherine is The Road Not Travelled.

Am I out of writing practice  , maybe, but I really had to think how this applied to my life path and came to the conclusion that my own life followed The Road Less Travelled instead. I do realise that some may argue that there is a fine line there but it is open to interpretation.

The one thing I will say that as I age I see no point in looking back at what might have been done differently but frankly I have no regrets on the decisions I made , what was out of my control not so much.

I was a child of the 1950’s born to older parents , Mum was in her 40’s and Dad was in his 50’s , which was in itself unusual at that time. We lived at the local airport as my father worked for the Department of Civil Aviation and I attended the local primary school , maybe this is where my love of travel stemmed from. My father retired just as I started high school and we moved into the small city of Launceston where I still live today.

At the age of 17 I started my nursing training but that was not meant to be as I fell at the first hurdle failing my exams. I now know this was not the career for me but at the time I was devastated. This was in the days of hospital training and quite frankly I was simply too young to cope with the strict rules of that environment. That and the fact that my father died of a stroke during my training period.

After that little setback I started working for Kodak in the wholesale division  and set my sights on fulfilling my dream of seeing the world. To that end I also started waitressing after my day job to boost my savings . It was during that time I attended a birthday party of one of the girls I waitressed with that I met my future husband John. Fortunately John was also keen to travel so in 1975 we flew to London and spent the next nine months exploring the UK , Europe , Scandanavia in our VW campervan, then returned home overland via Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

No, we weren’t married at the time and this did raise a few eyebrows from our very conservative families.

Posing in Athens 1975 , not sure exactly which month this was , half way through our travels.

We arrived home just before Christmas , 1975 , settled back into our working lives, fortunately for me Kodak took me back as I had actually resigned . We decided to get married and did so on September 11th., 1976.

Life continued as planned , we saved money and bought an old Victorian house in need of much renovation . The renovations took care of both our time and money for the next few years until the urge to travel again took hold again and we boarded a plane to the U.S. We travelled together for a short while then mutually went our separate ways for a few months , me to South America and John skiing in both the U.S. and Canada.

Me on the left about to board the light plane to fly over the Nazca lines . It was a wonderful experience exploring South America and I am just so glad I left my comfort zone and travelled alone to Rio to join the group. It was a varied group of people from all around the world , I was the only married woman travelling without her husband and this was no luxury tour , camping and cheap hotels and mainly travelling by bus.

One of the highlights was unscheduled side trip to the Galapagos Islands due to flooding in northern Peru we had to fly to Ecuador instead of driving and this meant time to fill in. I am so glad I visited back then as from what I have read lately there are restrictions on visitor numbers and where you can go.In case you can’t find me I am in the front left in red and white stripes .

Once again we returned home just before Christmas . Things were a little different this time as we both had resigned from our jobs and had rented our house so we moved to Hobart where we lived for over a year. We came back to Launceston a little over a year later and moved back into our house . John was fortunate to continue his previous employment and I started working for a building society.

In August 1987 we welcomed our first son , Zac , followed by Callum in February 1990 , then our daughter India in January 1993.

Our world changed on Christmas Eve in 1999 when we were told our beautiful little girl had a brain tumour. John, India and I flew to Melbourne just after Christmas where India was admitted to the Royal Childrens Hospital. Our boys joined us a few days later and we all spent the next few weeks there as India underwent radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Over the next 23 months our brave little princess endured chemotherapy and numerous MRI’s , both here and in Melbourne.

India passed away on November 24th., 2001 at the age of 8years and 10months.

To be honest the next months are all a bit of a blur as I tried my best to keep things as normal as they could possibly be under the circumstances.

Time passed and the raw pain of grief subsided somewhat and I knew I had to be present for my husband and sons .  At this time Zac was in the early high school days and Callum was at the end of his primary years.  I also became involved with Brain Tumour Australia for some time attending several conferences in Sydney .

After some time I knew I needed to get myself back into the workforce again and was offered a job at a local gift and homewares store on a casual basis. I will be forever grateful to Robyn and Ian as this helped restore the self confidence that had all but disappeared.

Over the next few years my sons became young men of whom I am extremely proud . Zac is a nurse , specialising in mental health and a father of two little boys and Callum is an automotive engineer now living in Melbourne . John retired a few years ago and I finally retired last year.

We started travelling again in 2016 , returning to Europe , no surprise but how things have changed, we visited Japan in 2017 , just beautiful , back to Europe in 2018 and again late last year.

I was diagnosed with bowel cancer this time last year , surgery and chemotherapy followed and I am being closely monitored but I do feel extremely well.

Apologies for such a long post but the Journey Less Travelled of a 70 year old is not a short story.

To all the other contributors to Tell Us About please forgive me for not mentioning you individually as to be perfectly honest that is out of my technical skill range. I will mention Gail at Is This Mutton , who kindly organises the challenge , thank you so much. If you go to Gail’s blog you will see all the links.

Once again, a big thank you for reading and commenting.

 

 

 

 

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24 Comments

  1. January 18, 2024 / 7:08 am

    Hi Jill,
    Thank you so much for sharing this insight into your Roads Less Travelled.
    Such a tapestry of emotions, growth, colour and love.
    Love,
    Elizabeth.

    • grownupglamour
      Author
      January 19, 2024 / 3:14 am

      Thank you so very much Elizabeth, I always so appreciate your comments.

  2. January 18, 2024 / 10:00 am

    Wow, what a trip you made the first time! And thank you for sharing such a personal part of your life about India.

    • grownupglamour
      Author
      January 19, 2024 / 3:13 am

      Thank you Nancy , I will admit it was difficult as it was very personal but it is part of my life journey.

  3. January 18, 2024 / 10:07 am

    Oh Jill what a fabulous intrepid traveller you are. And your entire story is one of great adventures, including taking the route (the other way round) that I should have taken! I totally admit I am not an intrepid traveller but that trip I should have taken! And then OMG to go through what you did with your daughter, so hard, so very tragic but you pulled yourself together for your two sons and your husband.

    What a story – a very good read. Thank you so much for it and for joining us in this challenge, a challenge that makes us think Every. Single. Month.

    • grownupglamour
      Author
      January 19, 2024 / 3:11 am

      Thank you so very much Penny I am pleased to back joining in with the challenge and yes it was a thought provoking one. I am so pleased I was able to do much of the more adventurous travel at a younger age not sure I could now. Off to catch up with everyones posts.

  4. January 18, 2024 / 1:40 pm

    What a Life you have lived and still are THRIVING!
    Travel is the best escape and education!
    I enjoyed reading your story very much.
    Xxx

    • grownupglamour
      Author
      January 19, 2024 / 3:07 am

      Thank you so very much Elizabeth. I couldn,t agree more that travel is the best education and experience.

  5. January 18, 2024 / 3:27 pm

    My word Jill, so many roads travelled. How brave and independent you were to go to South America on your own. I know I will have to do the same if I want to see more places, and you have inspired me.

    • grownupglamour
      Author
      January 19, 2024 / 3:05 am

      Thanks Gail it has been a varied life so far. Looking back I will admit to probably being braver then than now. That said if you want to travel I say go for it there are many options now for solo travellers.

  6. January 18, 2024 / 7:56 pm

    Jill, thank you for sharing your story for the Tell Us About…. prompt. Your life certainly has been filled with adventure but also sadness. It must have been devastating losing India and something I’m sure a parent never fully recovers from. I’m also sorry to hear of your bowel cancer but heartened that your treatment seems to have worked and all is good so far. Enjoy your retired life with your husband and sons and wishing you all the best in 2024 and beyond. x

    • grownupglamour
      Author
      January 22, 2024 / 10:35 am

      Thank you Sue it is good to be back joining in with Tell Us About challenge. The sadness of loosing a child does stay with you forever , life moves on but in a different way,
      So far I am enjoying my retired life and the changes it brings.

  7. January 19, 2024 / 8:50 am

    As a self-confessed travel obsessive, I absolutely loved reading about your travels, Jill. That photo of you in front of the Acropolis is wonderful and I thought of it when I stood in the same spot this time last year! How brilliant that you and John, having different interests, took separate holidays – I keep encouraging one of my friends to do that as her husband is a sailor and she’s absolutely terrified of the high seas!
    I can’t imagine how devastating losing beautiful India must have been for both of you, nobody should have to endure such pain.
    The way you’ve tackled your cancer diagnosis has been nothing short of inspirational. You’re an incredible woman. xxx

    • grownupglamour
      Author
      January 19, 2024 / 11:38 pm

      Thank you so much Vix , yes we do share a love of travel and discovery. I wish it was easier for me as I do envy your cheap and easy European travel. I do hope your friend takes your advice and travels independently, the first time is the hardest.
      Your kindness is most appreciated.

  8. January 19, 2024 / 10:20 am

    Thank you for sharing your story with us, Jill. Writing about your little girl couldn’t have been easy.
    I do envy you your travels, though. You’re much more adventurous than boring old me, it seems! Sending hugs xxx

    • grownupglamour
      Author
      January 19, 2024 / 11:34 pm

      Thank you so much Ann , it was difficult writing about India but it was a part of my story . I have a theory on why so many Australians and New Zealanders travel, we are so far away and it takes so long to get there that we feel we need to see as much as possible . xxx

  9. January 22, 2024 / 5:07 am

    Hi Jill, this was a great response to the prompt and I’m so sorry about your daughter, just so sad. Your life has been varied and lots of travelling that’s for sure, go you!!! It’s great to have you back with us for Tell Us About…

    Debbie at Debs-world.com

    • grownupglamour
      Author
      January 22, 2024 / 10:23 am

      Thank you so much Debbie , this one was a thought provoking one . It is good to be involved again.

  10. January 24, 2024 / 2:10 am

    What an amazing life you’ve led, Jill! I cried for you and your family over the loss of your daughter – thank you for sharing that.

    • grownupglamour
      Author
      January 29, 2024 / 3:14 am

      Thank you so very much Sheila for your kind and caring comment.

  11. January 28, 2024 / 3:54 am

    Welcome back to blogging and writing. What a powerful post with which to make your return. Bravo for exploring so much of the world before settling down to raise your beautiful family. Sadly, I hurried to ‘grow up’ and get married and didn’t enjoy just being a young adult without a lot of responsibilities.

    I am so sorry for the loss of your precious India. I am sorry that at her young age she had to fight for so long and so desperately for her life. My 3-year-old nephew Andrew died on the same day and the same year after an 18 month-long battle with Wilm’s Tumor. Our lives were forever changed but in his short life, Andrew brought us so much love and joy. I am sure India was a light in your lives, too. May God hold them close.

    • grownupglamour
      Author
      January 29, 2024 / 3:13 am

      Thank you so much Leslie , it is good to be back blogging again . This one was quite a personal challenge for me deciding what to share. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your little nephew. Yes , the loss of children changes you forever . India bought so much joy into our lives and was such a treasure. I am so plesaed I travelled before having my children as I was so much braver back then.

  12. January 28, 2024 / 9:20 am

    You have such a colourful life, Jill and all the travelling you do sounds amazing! I never had any children and cannot even imagine the pain of losing your daughter. I lost my mother though, when I was 13 year old, but I am a very spiritual person so have a deep sense that we will all see our loved ones again.
    Hugs
    Suzy xx

    • grownupglamour
      Author
      January 29, 2024 / 3:07 am

      Thank you so very much Suzy, this one was a thought provoking challenge for me. Loosing someone we love , especially when it is way to soon , is life changing. I am sorry to hear about your mother . I do hope we are re united with our loved ones again .

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