Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Travel broadens the mind...I hope!

As you may know, I'm just back from a month's holiday in Europe.  While I could bore you to tears with travel tales, I thought it would be kinder to just post a few observations, some of which relate to parenting and family!

  • It was very apparent that many Europeans, particularly young people are fluent, or at least very competent in English as well as their own and sometimes 2 or 3 other languages.  While this is obviously useful to us as travellers, it also shows up how limited many Australians are in languages other than English.  I think learning foreign languages, whether Asian or European, should be given much greater emphasis in Australia.
  • I love the glimpses that I get into how people live their daily lives while I'm travelling.  It was very obvious that fresh food: fruit, vegetables, fish and meat are still staples, and the quality of what I saw was excellent, although not particularly cheap.  And the flavour of tomatoes was fantastic.  We are blessed with such abundance of these foods in Australia, we really have no excuse for eating packaged, pre-prepared food.

  • Travellers like me, have come to so dominate some centres eg Venice, that many former residents have moved away to quieter, less expensive areas.  And in some areas, tourism is the main 'industry' and when the tourist season finishes, money earned in the height of summer has to last the rest of the year.  And in some countries, even with high employment in the tourist season, unemployment can be as high as 10% and there is limited government assistance.  Next time you complain about taxes, think about how fortunate we are to live in Australia where unemployment is relatively low, and there are reasonable levels of pensions, health care and education.
  • Naturally with my background, I tended to notice (from the outside) schools, childcare centres, kindergartens, playgrounds and children being dropped at school and picked up afterwards, accompanying their parents on various outings, doing the shopping.  Birth rates may not be high, but there is certainly a new generation growing up!  I was particularly taken by this little girl shopping with her mother, and already very stylish!

I enjoyed my travels had a wonderful holiday, but now it's down to business and back to normal, until next time!

Next week SusanSays will be back to its usual parenting/child/nanny focus.