I love maps. I always have. Growing up in a small Australian sheep shearing community with less than 1,000 people, I constantly dreamt of my escape. In my room I had a small desk with the world map laminated on the top. I spent many hours looking at the map (instead of doing my homework), imagining that I could one day visit these mysterious countries I had only read about in my books or seen on television. My childhood heroes were Amelia Earhart, Gertrude Bell, Nelly Bly, Louise Boyd and Mary Kingsley. Strong women – independent pioneers – I wanted to be like them, to travel the world without fear.
Africa, South America, Asia, Europe; you name it – they called. As a child, if you had asked me what I was going to be when I grew up, I had no idea. All I knew was that I was going to visit each and every one of these continents given the chance – to me they were all well within my reach.
My mother always taught me to be strong and independent like so many other women pioneers before me. This was my life’s challenge – laid out by the women who dared to do. I was entranced by movies like Roman Holiday, African Queen, The Last Emperor, Death On The Nile – exotic destinations filled my every waking moment…
Fast forward 30 years and here I am living in Cusco, Peru – a far cry from country NSW. Yet some things never change – I still have a map in my room although this time it is a beautiful hand drawn creation of South America courtesy of the King of Maps. My children are entranced by it, asking me question after question and I hope it inspires them as much as my little map did when I was young.
I am using my map for inspiration for my next journey – a road trip across South America. Cusco is the starting point and I have no idea where the end point will be. Destinations unknown…it’s all in the journey.
“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
Maps allow us to dream and plan and conquer our fears. The landscapes are in our imaginations, the locations peppered on the map for us to seek out and explore. And as beautiful as this map of mine is at present, hung on the wall; I know it will become all the more beautiful when I have embarked on our journey allowing my family and I to seek out our lust for adventure and enhance our knowledge of the world.
Preface to And Off We Went
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