It’s my father’s birthday today. If he were alive, he would have been 66 years old. 

I’m lucky enough to be married to a man who also loved my father, went fishing with him and together they took riverside walks by the Avon that my dad loved so much. It’s been two years since I lost my dad and I know Andy mises “The great story teller” too.

This is why we are doing this.…
Travelling for a year is something we decided to do after seeing how short life is. How little time we have to do the things we want to do and make our story a meaningful one. 

My dad loved life and he lived it with great passion. He gifted me the love of nature, the love of green and blue. Oh, and in case any of you were wondering, the blue turtle and it’s baby was a gift from my father for my first car, it was to remind me to take my time on journeys. As he stuck it to my car’s dashboard, he asked the car to carry his baby carefully, just as the turtle slowly carries its own. It’s a lovely memory of my dad’s great sense of humour and has become our lucky charm on this journey. 

He and his friend had just bought themselves a small boat when we learnt that he had cancer. They were going to go fishing on that boat and enjoy the lake. Between the chemo sessions and being taken to hospital, my dad never got to enjoy that boat.

We decided that the best celebration of his colourful life would be spending his birthday on the water. What better way to do it on a houseboat in Kerala where the backwaters stretches over 400km.

Andy mentioned to our captain the significance of today and he kept us close to the thin strips of land tightly squeezed between the backwaters and rice fields in the hope that we would see a kingfisher, my dad’s favourite bird. Perhaps as a man who loved rivers and lakes, and who loved the colours of life saw the kingfisher as everything he ever wanted to be!

On the anniversary of his death I spent the day kayaking on the river Avon in Warwick in the hope I’d see a kingfisher. I spent the entire day paddling up and down the river scanning the banks for signs of their distinctive colours. Unfortunately I didn’t catch a glimpse of one that day, or any day for that matter in the two years since I lost him.

As we now decided to celebrate his life instead of mourning his death, we were rewarded today with the sight of many kingfishers flying with their brilliant blues and oranges and even diving and catching fish! They seemed to accompany us throughout our first rain-free day in Kerala which was truly magnificent!

As we cruised the backwaters of Kerala on our little houseboat experience it felt like his presence was comforting us in the dazzling colours of the kingfishers along the way and watching over us just like the turtle watches over it’s baby. It was truly a magical day. One that we will never forget.

We miss you Dad. X

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