I've just spent a few great days in Sydney. Your thoughts on that statement will probably vary depending on what part of the world you live in. Sydney is just under four hours flying time from Auckland, and is one of our closest destinations. Although that's further than Paris is from London (for example), it's a popular place to visit for a short trip from New Zealand.
I love visiting Sydney, and have considered moving there on a few occasions, though the things I love about it are some of the things that put me off moving there. It's a vibrant, busy, bustling city, and these days I prefer the quieter life.
There is a popular quote that says travel broadens the mind, but does it?
I think that if we have an open mind to begin with, then travel will challenge our assumptions, and give us new ideas and views of people and cultures. While it possibly won't change our beliefs, it should give us greater tolerance for others. But, and this is a big but, we have to have the right frame of mind, and a willingness to change our perspective.
My mother always said that some people were too tightly zipped into their own skin to look at situations from a different perspective, and unfortunately that's still true.
I believe that as people there is more that makes us similar, than makes us different.
I stood for a few minutes enjoying a view within listening distance of a French family. The parents were with their youngest child, who was about three, while two older boys played with a ball. The mother said something, and the three-year-old replied with, 'Pourquoi?'
My school French managed to make our most of the mother's answer, and again the child replied with the one word. This went on for a few minutes until the mother gave up, and passed the conversation onto the father, and I moved away smiling.
Pourquoi is French for why, and I'm sure every parent has had more than one why conversation with a toddler. They can seem never ending when you're in the middle of one!
The ferry trips across the harbour to Manly were lovely, and even at night it was pleasant to sit outside and watch the city lights. The gardens and park along from the Opera House were filled with hyacinths and tulips, as it is a good 4-5 degrees warmer than here in Auckland, but it made me realise that Spring is just around the corner.
It's all about perspective.