Travels with My Aunt

Aunty Cecilie

Part of my passion for travelling came about at least in part through the fact that my mum’s sister, Cecilie, had moved to New Zealand soon after I was born. She and her husband Gregor made regular visits to Melbourne with my cousin Kristine and later with her younger sister Rachel. I was always incredibly excited that they were coming and immensely envious of their “jet-set” lifestyle, for we never flew anywhere. The free toys my cousins received in-flight were better than anything they might have brought us for presents, their stories of what happened during a flight more riveting than any others and airports were the most exotic of locations, even if you were not the one who got to go on a plane.

During one of their visits to Australia, when I was approaching the age of 15, I remember moaning on to my uncle about the fact we never went to visit them in Hamilton. He was totally unsympathetic. Why should I feel that I needed to wait until my parents had the money to bring the whole family along? He said I should come on my own. Initially I thought he was mad or joking, as I protested that my pocket-money, even if diligently saved wouldn’t be sufficient to get me there until the next century, which was then 23 years away. “Well get a job” he said,”You save up enough for the airfare and we will look after the rest”.

So I did. Three months before I turned 15 I got a weekend job at The Bake-Inn Hot Bread Kitchen in Bentleigh and just days after my 16th birthday, I took all the money I had saved, bought a ticket and flew to New Zealand. Mum and Dad gave me enough to top up my spending money to $100.00 for a one month tour of the North Island with the rellies. I still have my best souvenir, a stuffed toy kiwi made out of possum skin, that was named Rewi by Krissie.

I have lost count of how many times I have since visited Cecilie in New Zealand, my Uncle Gregor now, sadly, deceased. She always encourages me to return and is a very generous and inexhaustible host, always taking me on an adventure to places I’ve not visited previously. We once also met up in the UK to be tourists together and a very happy pair we made, too.

Like my mother and both my grandparents on her side, Cecilie has been a professional musician all her life, having trained as a pianist from her earliest years. She has a wonderfully optimistic outlook which is helped along by another very important passion in her life, which she shares with me and my mum. She is a madly dedicated, dog lover. Having recently bid farewell to one of her much-loved rescue-pooches, Mia, she last week welcomed Ellie the kelpie-cross into her life. It is my dedicated intention to get her and her new baby into a photobooth one day, my Snowy-Dawg having suffered the experience only recently. One has to admit it is not a dog’s favourite of pass-times.

This is an undated Polaroid booth pic taken several years ago, presumably in Hamilton, New Zealand.

5 comments
  1. Lisa said:

    I love how you weave personal history behind the photos. Reading about your first adventures traveling makes me think of my own first travels alone and how exciting that time is – and how that feeling only makes us want even more adventures!

    Like

    • Yes, indeed. I now have ME so am very limited in what I can do. I am really glad I travelled a lot when younger. I’d give anything to be well enough for more travels but they will have to wait a long while yet.

      Like

  2. You do write a great story, I especially like the part about how you got yourself a job and saved enough money to go to New Zealand at such a young age. Inspiring.

    Like

  3. Xsi said:

    I love this story,but it did make me cry.

    Like

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