Puns and other plays on words are some of the things I love about language, so excuse me while I work around the number four.

Travel defined my life before I had a chance to ask why: my parents whisked me off to live in a foreign land in my tender schooldays. 

As I grew up in Europe, I was introduced slowly to travel and how it expands horizons. I have clear memories of my first school trip to the Brecon Beacons in Wales, when I was about 12. For a boy growing up in what had long been a smoky London, this trip into the Welsh mountains was to Paradise. But, it wasn’t just new places, but new ways of living. Sharing a dormitory. Sleeping in a bunk bed. New sports: holding a tennis racket for the first time, even against my friend who was county champion. 

My school sent a class to France for a summer holiday and my love of French began. It lay sleeping for years after leaving school only to be aroused again deep in my working life, when I had to use it daily to get my job done in African countries.

I got to love travel for leisure and holidays abroad were the norm. I visited most of Western Europe and some of eastern and Southern Europe. I traveled on by car, slept in guest houses, rented farmhouses, traveled on trains and slept on them overnight. I went to remote places and got friendly with local people and their food and customs. 

I got used to learning at least a few phrases wherever I went. Ignorance was more annoying that struggling to pronounce new words. 

Someone decided I was trusted enough to send off to represent my organization in far-flung places. But, I got to play football in Holland and Malawi in the process. I had to be in Mexico City during the 1986 World Cup: I got a superb view of all the goals, seated in a palco just behind one of them. I’d scalped tickets with a friend. 

Later in my working life, I took a post in the Republic of Guinea, a west African country so like Jamaica it’s unreal. When my father came to visit, he said he’d “come home”. 

So began a phase of living and working abroad. Migrate, migrate! 

Now, the movement went full circle, and I’m back in Jamaica, on my wife’s skirt tails ūüėäModern man follows his woman. 

My youngest has lived the nomadic life and thinks of a trip to Norway as a reasonable idea for a short Thanksgiving trip. We need to talk! But, she’s open to all kinds of experiences and likes food, and different is good. Would she have been otherwise with less travel? I’ve no idea where she’ll roam, but even if far from home, she’ll find friends and maybe relatives. We have, and keep doing so. It’s made life much richer. 

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