When I’d started looking at my route round the world to begin with, I quickly realised that I had extended family that I’d never even met before in practically every single continent I was headed. My gran comes from a family of 10 and between herself and the rest of her siblings they pretty much cover the entire globe. I have family in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, America, Mainland Europe and all over the U.K. right up to the Orkney islands so when I was looking up things to do in the places I was going to see, I knew it would be unthinkable to be so close by and not get a chance to meet as many of them as I could.
In Australia I managed to meet up with my great uncle peters friends from the 70s. They all hung around getting up to no good in the Netherlands before Pete moved back to Scotland and settled in Orkney with his family and Harvey moved to Brisbane, Australia to start a family of his own. So when Pete found out where I was and that I’d be in Brisbane in March – it was only natural that I met and had a brilliant time with his pals he still thinks so highly of.
My mums cousin Isabel emigrated to Perth over 10 years ago with her family and I was able to spend a whole week with them on the west coast as well. I spent my time catching up with my cousins Robyn, Josh and Ellis – going on day trips to Rottnest Island, having picnics on the beach and taking in the city from above at Kings Park ! I was absolutely gutted to be leaving because they do live so far away, I just hope it’s not another 10 years before I see them again…
I also met with my grans old best friend Margaret who left Scotland when she was 18 to move out to Melbourne. Showing up on her doorstep on a whim of an address and introducing myself as “Margaret cannons granddaughter” brought a smile so wide it made my heart melt. I was so happy to meet someone my gran has such good memories with, and being able to surprise FaceTime my gran at home in Scotland and let her see Margaret after all those years was such an amazing moment as well, and one I felt very privileged to be a part of.
Therefore, when the opportunity arose again to connect with more extended family members in New York I was absolutely thrilled. I’d grown up with stories of my grans sister Mary and her daughter Melissa, I already knew so much about them it just felt so natural when we finally met. Mary lives in South Carolina with her husband Mike but had come up to New York to spend time with her granddaughters Emma and Cameron (and to meet me of course!). Together we spent the best part of a fortnight on day trips throughout Long Island, eating pizza, getting our nails painted & going to the cinema to see a giant prehistoric shark tearing up the world (yeah thanks for that one guys…). We went on a road trip to big adventure in New Jersey and Melissa and I stayed up many a night drinking wine and attempting to solve the world. It was bliss.
Emma and Cameron also kept me great company with their impressively mature conversation topics as well as showing me their hobbies and skills. Emma is a national karate champion and competes in championships all around the world – she has so many medals hanging on her walls it’s unreal, and shes so clever and sticks in at school at the same time as being the little champ she is. We bonded over the fact that boys are stupid…and my only advice to her was stick in at school, get your grades and never give up your hobbies! Some solid advice if you ask me…
Cameron is equally amazing considering she can literally make whatever you want out of whatever you give her. She’s a cracking little seamstress and is already making her own clothes from her own designs…not to mention she’s a dab hand in the kitchen and is the funniest little girl I know – I actually can’t wait to watch them both grow up and become even more successful with whatever they choose to do.
Even writing about it makes me all emotional. Until this year I hadn’t even met them and now I can comfortably say if they ever needed me for anything at all I’d be on the first flight over. My immediate family is very very small. It’s only myself, my mum, my dad, my gran and my brother. My mum is an only child and my dad has one sibling with two kids we barely see. Other than my godmothers’ little girls there’s no one under the age of 15 in the family so for me it was nice to be able to hang around with them and be able to experience, however briefly, their amazing life in Long Island, New York ; lounging around their beautiful house and garden playing piggy in the middle in the pool. It was a holiday within a holiday for myself and I loved every single minute of it.
When people think of New York they really only think of manhattan, but being there this summer taught me there’s simply so much more to be seen than just the big Apple. Melissa and Billy did take me into the city one day, much to Billy’s dismay, and as they put it themselves it was enough to just go in and visit rather than have to spend an entire holiday in that mad, bustling chaos. Born and bred in New York, the pair of them make every effort to avoid Manhattan and I do understand why. You’re basically fighting to get through the droves of people on the streets, continually being stopped by people asking to buy their mixed tapes and edging round the crowd of folk queuing for a photo with the naked cowboy (okay I’m also guilty of that one…).
On my last day there I went into the city and had a wander around by myself and honestly it’s just WILD. Especially around Times Square and Broadway you can barely edge past the sea of people hurtling towards you, too busy trying to get on with their own lives and take notice of each other, too busy to breathe…
Long Island on the other hand is the perfect mix of busy and calm (with everything except from the drivers, they’re still mental) with long stretches of beaches, cute little coffee shops and nail salons with great places to go for lunch and dinner. It’s also really well connected to the rest of the island, with massive interconnecting parkways that allow you to drive right to the end to the Montauk Lighthouse and back in one afternoon.
New York has so much more to offer than bright lights and yellow cabs. It doesn’t always have to be Applebee’s and broadway shows – take a road trip, see the big duck, have a swing and take a breather. And if you’re in that neck of the woods I’d urge you to take a train down to the island, spend some time on the boardwalk and who knows, maybe you’ll bump into my family on the way.
If you do, send my love, tell them I miss them and to just keep in mind…it’s always see you soon!
Much love to you guys 💛
**************************************************My next blog takes me on a 16 hour bus ride to South Carolina where I hang around some more with Mary doll and her buddies, take long walks on the beach and chase some alligators with golf carts!
Stay Posted x