Who’d have guessed that a desire to meet my British cousins would lead to an overland trip from Kathmandu to London. I’d worked two jobs whilst at school to pay board since 15 yo. So after school I took on three jobs and had my savings topped up by an insurance pay out. A drunk had sent me flying from my motorbike into another car.
My paternal grandmother came from Dudley in UK. She nursed my grandfather when he was wounded in WWI. He told that he had nothing and lived in the middle of nowhere. She was well educated from a strong line of female high achievers.
Unable to comprehend his situation she caught an ocean liner down under to marry her ex-patient. Accompanied by another nurse, Lillie, who married a NZ soldier met under similar circumstances. When she realized the severity of his situation, he was widowed with adult children from his first marriage. She insisted on travelling back to UK by sea – afraid of flying – every two years to visit her family. Each time she took her daughter, my aunt Beryl, father felt abandoned … more on this later.
The freight ship I’d booked my passage with informed that they had an all male crew and passengers. They gave me a full refund suggesting that I take another mode of transport. Cousin John inspired me to take his dream overland trip, I had no idea or expectations. But I did want to see the Taj and Venice.
Having grown up in Australia with long family road trips and frequent camping, it was a lifestyle I was more familiar with. The ship passage had been my grandmother, Nancy’s, preferred mode of travel and I had wanted to travel in her footsteps. But like most of my life when handed a lemon I made lemonade!