The women in my family have always been a symbol of strength; both physically and mentally. They are the backbone of the family, the nurturers, advisers and my teachers. Firm disciplinarians, yet quick create laughter together with their playful conversations often minced with (sexual) innuendo! I learnt through watching my Aunties, how to be a woman. To accept my curves with pride, to stand strong in my beliefs and most importantly to be an independent woman.
So strong are my role models. Maybe too strong at times… I often wonder; exactly where do men fit in the picture?!
So it was a heart-warming surprise to get an invitation from my aunty Lou, Mama Lou as she’s often called, to attend her wedding!
And what a glorious one it was! The Lutterodt women came together to get our outfits perfect. There was something handmade (my aunt Marian sewed her own dress), something bought and something borrowed (Aunty Nicky’s hat topped off my outfit, and the jewellery courtesy of aunty marion added a touch of bling). The Lutterodt men played their role too, looking dapper in their fresh suites!
A picture of perfection!
From the ceremony, Mama Lou’s numerous outfit changes (my aunties don’t do things in halves- it’s all or nothing at all!) straight through to the very last dance. Mama Lou, very much a perfectionist, couldn’t have planned it any better. Nana Obuobi – Queen Mother of Meyera, Greater Accra, brought a cultural Ghanaian touch to the traditional English wedding. Even the British weather was on point with sunny spells. Simply glorious!
What I really loved about this day was seeing my Aunty, an influential role model, surrender to love and happiness. An example that us women can still have our qualities of strength and be soft for love 🙂
The cherry on top of the wedding cake was that I caught the bouquet! Much to the delight of my elder aunties! I can’t help but love their team spirit cheering me on, patiently waiting for me to settle down…
No pressure then!
Vacancies are open. Who what’s to make an honest woman out of the travelmaker?… Don’t all come running at once!
We planned our trip over a month ago! The excitement of my cousin and I in Ghana together always brought cheeky giggles to our Skype conversations while I was in Brazil.
And now reality is here! We’re both in Ghana!
There are many factors of travelling alone I’m fearful of, yet I rarely voice them- not even to friends or family. The last thing I need is a scenario confessing to a member of family my fears on the potential dangers I could face coming Brazil alone for 3 months, or how insecure I was made to feel in Buenos Aires, questioning why I bother to travel to countries where people don’t look like me.
I can imagine my aunt patiently listening to my pitiful doubts while attending to pots of soups and stews bubbling on the stove, lifting each hot lid with her bare hands immune to the burn of the steam, to pinch a taste with her signature wooden spoon (my aunt’s an amazing multi-tasker and, goes without saying, cook)! And when I finish speaking, she’ll wipe her hands on a tea cloth and simply say;
“Then why do you keep going? Stay!”
So with that scenario in mind, I would rather keep my fears to myself than to ruin my protagonist ‘fearless black girl travels the globe’ tag in neon lights I’ve adopted for myself!
I may not openly call it ‘fear’, but in many of my posts I’ve highlighted some element of ‘concern’… The closest I’ve probably got to admitting to another F word that isn’t failure!
As a travel addict for over 5 years, I’m extremely lucky to have the support of my family. Now don’t take this the wrong way. My family in no way contribute financially towards my addiction- that would be adding more fire to the fuel (though I beg to differ)! Their role is to simply answer my skype calls, and to be there for me when I return home taking the plunge into the pool of reality, hitting the bottom hard- post-travel depression.
When I mention to my Aunt that I’m off again, she simply gives me a few words of advice and encouragement (long gone are the days of a full on lecture)! I know secretly she is waiting for the day I get married… The day I sign away my beloved free-sprit into a retirement institution and welcome stability and routine.
(Insert F word here)!
But surprisingly, I want that!
I want the whole package that comes with blissful married life, and a nice home (because despite my love for travel I’m no nomad. Home is where my heart is… and its also the solid volt I store my travel memoirs), a good job (as a travel journalist of course)… And kids.
I’ve been in and out of broodiness during my travels for a long time- favouring a pregnant bump over a wash board stomach. But during this trip to Brazil, broody is away minding its own business because having a baby isn’t top of my ‘to do’ list for a while!
How do kids fit into the life of a female travel addict? Because lets face it, even when Miss Free Spirit goes into retirement, I’m still going to be travelling for work. And, no! The only hand luggage I want to be carrying with me is my handbag- not a baby!
But I do want kids! I feel it’s my right as a woman, to have them. To satisfy my instincts from childhood playing with dolls that one day I will have my own real babies…
But is this enough to justify wanting kids. Do I want them just because I have a womb I should use for the sake of it?… Just like I use up all my twitter characters for the sake of it?!
The truth is, I don’t feel any real connection with babies before they are at the age of knowing their please and thank yous! Yes I find them cute and I give some attention when I can, but for such small things they demand so much (a little selfish if you ask me- joke!… not)!
Despite this kids seem to love me!… Whether its waving at me from the bus or playing a 10 second hide and seek with their hands, making me wonder why I am the chosen one?! I wave back and usually always get a big smile in return…
This melts my heart! To think one day I can wave at my own kids and make them smile this way… Surely that isn’t my only reason for wanting kids?!… To wave back at them?!
Today my pregnant host (airbnb) excitedly showed me the outfits that her baby growing in her womb will be wearing in a few months time. The excitement in her eyes as she displayed the pinks and yellows of the different tiny outfits was one of a proud mother-to-be… But sadly I couldn’t relate and simply ‘oh’ed and ‘ah’ed out of politeness.
I felt as far dis-attached from the baby outfits as I do to my womb… Is being a travel addict over-taking my natural right as a woman?
Let me know your thoughts please!
And this time has been like any other. I’ve been caught up in the whirlwind of arriving in Rio and settling in that anything outside this world be comes a distant memory.
No news is good news is my motto.
I forget to call home.
Back home where my family and my friends are.
I forget that I’ve actually missed hearing their voices.
Missed the familiarity of their accents. Their concern, their humour and the comfort in their voices.
And I’m possibly starting to miss them… Just a touch.
But a phone call is enough to banish any melancholy creeping in.
The telephone line stretches thousands of miles between us. Yet wraps a tight bond around us as I call home to send my love to everyone and receive theirs in return.
Who’s the first person you call when you’re away?