Sitting in front of the fire on a cold, winter's day pinning up a storm on Pinterest. Boards are filling with breathtaking pictures of endless blue seas, striped umbrellas, tumbling bougainvillea. There are hidden grottoes and pastel villages clinging to seaside cliffs. Blog posts yell, "12 things you must do on the Amalfi Coast", "8 towns you cannot miss", "The perfect day trip to Capri." … and that's just the Italian board! There's a board filled with the wonder and joy of the Algarve and yet another on the splendours of Seville.
An e-mail from my sister, Keran saying that we have just a month to go and that it's time to start booking a few fun things to do was all that was needed to indulge in a Pinterest fest.
Planning yet another trip with Ke fills me with warm, fuzzy feelings: there's the sense of anticipating the discovery of new places, there's the sheer delight at the thought of being reunited with my Aussie sister, and then there's the joy of remembering all the wonderful memories we have created as we have explored the world together.
Ke and her husband left the shores of a less than sunny South Africa as newly weds over thirty years ago. Clive and I visited them in Australia eight months after they had left. We vowed there and then that we would commit to seeing each other on a regular basis. We've managed that by planning our next trip or reunion as we prepare to go our separate ways at the end of each and every trip. It's worked a charm. We have kept in close touch with each other, seen our families build some life long memories together and visited some spectacular places over the years.
Together, we have spent long lazy days on beaches in Sydney and in Cape Town. We have celebrated with each other as fireworks have lit up the sky over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. We have toasted friendship, family and fun from the top of Table Mountain as the sun has slowly set on yet another shared holiday. We have watched our children learn to ski and to take to the skies. We have split our sides with laughter as we have fallen off ski lifts, bounced across waves and wobbled around on bicycles.
We have explored the streets of Paris on a cold wintry day and wandered the cobbles of Rome in the sweltering heat of Summer. We have lived together in a farmhouse in the golden hills of Tuscany and we have sailed the endless blues of the Mediterranean. We have ridden bicycles in the traffic of Paris and Barcelona. We have gazed in wonder at Michelangelo's David and been filled with awe by Gaudi's Sagrada Familia.
We have sipped on cafe cremes on Parisian sidewalks and Campari's on Roman Piazzas. We have shared platters of antipasta, tapas and meze. We have feasted on foie gras, giant biefstuk florentina and slow roasted Turkish lamb. We have devoured Patiserries and Gelato on street corners, shopped at markets for riverside picnics and little Italian grocers for simple feasts to be shared under the Tuscan sun.
We have sailed on dabchicks, swooped over waterfalls in helicopters and flown in the tiniest of planes to game reserves deep in Africa. We've been scared witless by Elephants, charmed by our first sighting of a kangaroo and delighted by sulphur crested cockatoos and crimson rosella’s in Australian gardens.
Life together over the years has been amazing. We were having so much fun we didn’t realise that we were also building a lifetime of memories. So as we plan yet another wonderful trip together, I pause in the midst of all the planning, booking and organising with a deep sense of gratitude to remember the joy of trips past and friendships deepened. Our lives apart have been closer than we realized and for that I will always be grateful.