It happened! My dad’s journey has begun! After following my blog for two years, my dad has packed his bags and permanently left the US to travel the world, with a home base with me in Edinburgh!
There’s quite a story behind this, but here’s the summary. When I originally left my work in December 2014 and chose to have a lifestyle as a travel blogger, my dad cried tears of joy for me. However, a little part of those tears was the fact that I was going to fulfill a dream that he had had most of his life: traveling the world. Growing up, he did travel extensively. Then in 1974, he was assigned to a job in Los Angeles, and for 42 years he traveled very little.
In July 2015, my dad had a stroke which necessitated that he finally retire. At that time he moved up to live with his daughter (my sister) in Portland, Oregon, where he made a full recovery from his stroke.
Then in December that year, I showed up on his doorstep to give him the best Christmas present ever. That’s a great story if you haven’t read it yet.
A few days later, I was with him at a cabin near Mt. Hood for Christmas when I was writing my blog post about how I traveled to 35 countries in 2015. Unfortunately, I found I had miscounted and had only been to 34. I told my dad I was going to make a quick drive up to Canada to get my last country in. Without hesitation, he said he would accompany me.
Two weeks later, when I planned to drive out to see my mom in Montana, my dad insisted to come with me as well. By now it was clear. He had caught the travel bug!
In March it was time for me to return to Europe. I found my ridiculously cheap flight to Sweden for $200, but the departure airport was Oakland. I was 700 miles away in Seattle at the time.
Instead of flying to Oakland, I chose to drive down the Pacific Coast Highway with my dad. He’d had a dream to do this for decades, and had driven several parts here and there, but never the full route. By the time we made it to Oakland a week later, he was thoroughly addicted to the travel lifestyle and was already making plans for further trips, possibly even getting a tiny home or RV to travel in.
At this point, he told his ex-wife about his intentions. This wasn’t my mom, but his next wife, whom he’d divorced 20 years earlier. She became excited and said she wanted to come do a journey with him, whereupon she booked a ticket to fly out to see him two weeks later. Within that two weeks, the trip turned into getting back together with him, and she brought all her stuff along to move in.
Around the last week of August, they had a house picked to move into. But at the last moment, she pulled out and decided to move back to Florida with her kids. While she had originally wanted to go for road trips, at 85 she wasn’t up for the nomadic lifestyle my dad had proposed. So when she decided to return to the East Coast, my dad was happy to pursue his original purpose to travel.
With that, he purchased a 40l backpack, and gave away or left behind his possessions that wouldn’t fit into the bag. He traveled down to Los Angeles to stay with a friend nearby LAX, which was the cheapest airport to fly out of. I found a ticket for him to depart a week later from Los Angeles to London for $330.
On the 22nd of September 2016, I picked up my dad from Luton Airport in London at 10 PM at night. His journey had begun. (Sorry, I forgot to take a photo in my exhilaration of seeing him again!)
My first surprise for him was a house sit at a wonderful home less than an hour from Luton in the English countryside. Here we have a beautiful terrier dog to take care of and walk each day, while my dad gets established back in the UK. He actually never became a citizen of the USA in all those years, but rather got a residency card while he retained his British citizenship and passport. Incidentally, that’s how I was able to get dual citizenship myself.
Our next stop is Edinburgh, where another surprise awaits him, and the rest of my readers for that matter. We head up tomorrow, so you won’t have long to wait. I’m so excited to show my dad around my favorite city in the world. Edinburgh happens to be his city of residence way back in 1968!
I don’t suppose you’d like to read a blog from him on his travels around the world at 77, seeing places he hasn’t been to in over half a century while experiencing new adventures?