Exploration is in the Cross Country DNA. Years ago on a whim our CEO Ian Georgeson and I started with a trip to Kenhardt in the Northern Cape to photograph the “Kokerboom Forest”. We ended up on a local farmers’ farm as the forest had been closed to the public. The shots were awesome and we were treated to the rare experience of viewing a “Blood Moon”.
The hotel in Kenhardt arranged “braai packs “ and we stayed out until gone 01h00. This kindled in us a spirit to explore places we have never seen. And even others where we have previously been. That is the spirit of exploration.
I will digress as I want to share the experience of travelling with a son. Ian’s son Sebastion is an absolute joy to travel with and has accompanied us on a succession of trips. When we stop to refuel Seb will always appear with a pie, crisps and water before the tank is filled. His knowledge of technology is exceptional. As is his ability to find bargains at second-hand shops and repair and repurpose them. In this regard he is legendary.
I love seeing what he gets up to in his”man cave” shared with his Dad.
On a trip Seb comes into his own, he has an amazing playlist which he shares at the drop of a hat. A healthy debate ensues when we discuss the cameras on a cell phone. As a youngster, he favours Samsung. The older generation favour Apple. He also can find good biltong when we stop for fuel or at a farm stall. In addition, he makes a mean coffee with his French Press which is how we start the day. His good humour is catching and so often we find ourselves laughing at his comments. I can not imagine a trip without him, and I must admit enjoying his endless commentary when awake, as well as his ability to find and share knowledge as we travel. Seb has travelled as a youngster as he just embraces the experience.
My son Miles lives in London yet from day one he travelled. He has accompanied us all across Africa. He revelled in trips with “Radio Sonder Grense “ and was great at picking his travel kit, as is Seb who always has a cap and pillow. Miles attributed his good manners to the talks we gave him before joining a group,as opposed to his having gone to a private school. He was a baby when we camped next to the “Bloukrans” river near Colenso and grew up in a car travelling across Southern Africa. Often leaving in his Pj’s and being dressed before stopping for breakfast.
Children need to get outdoors, swim in rivers and camp. More and more I see this not happening, it’s important. It’s part of growing up and it develops character and an ability to be self-sufficient. Miles our son has camped with us and slept in the smallest tent I mistakenly bought. And he has slept in 5-star lodges and off-road caravans. It’s all part of growing up. Both boys have the unique ability to make themselves at home,no matter where they are they fit in.
I suppose the prompt for talking about our children came earlier. My son sent me a few pictures from Lake Como in Italy. He had flown across from London to spend a few days there. He went on a long hike on the shorefront and explored a Deli and the town all on his own. The scenery is amazing. Seb and Miles love exploration.
As a parent, I can only vouch for the benefits travel and exploration do for our children. It does so much for their growth and development. It is like a university of life, it enriches and develops. It is so important.