As some may know, the Traveling Dad is moving home base from Atlanta, Georgia in the USA, to Christchurch, New Zealand. I am taking a senior role in the infrastructure reconstruction following the significant earthquakes in that region since late 2010. It is expected that I will actually have more time with my family, more time for blogging, and more time for family travel – instead of the significant amount of international travel that I have been doing for work over the last few years. Today I thought I would simply offer a few thoughts about making an international move.
– If it’s just you and your backpack, it’s fairly easy to pack and go (speaking from experience). An international move could be the greatest education you ever get, as it teaches you about yourself and about others.
– As a young couple without kids, it’s also relatively easy to make an international move … just make sure you’re both in agreement about making the adventure together. Troubles will come, and flexibility is essential … but in the future you will probably remember those times as your greatest adventures. At this time in your life, you can probably sell everything you own and start again in the foreign land of your choice (it’s a lot cheaper than moving a bunch of furniture around the world).
– When you’re a family with children, an international move is a significant event. This is what our family is doing at present. Once the move is decided, there are many details to work through – too many to comprehensively cover today. If a sea voyage is required, don’t trust the moving company that gives you a quote based on land costs (yes, we did get one). I would also recommend taking the time to downsize, and ensure that you keep only the things that are most important such as – memorabilia, items of sentimental value, things that are “irreplaceable”, items that are expensive to replace in the new country, and items which will make your new place feel like “home”.
Please take the time to sign up for updates. I’ve been asked by many people to write more about our various travels and activities, so hope to have more time with my new job. Having traveled extensively, I believe I have enough material to write for a very long time.
Don’t be afraid to venture overseas – the world is much bigger than your country of origin.
Red barns have proclaimed the “See Rock City” message across the Southeastern United States since the 1930’s. However, although the number of visitors is quite high, I suspect that a relatively small percentage of people who have driven past one of these iconic and inventive early billboards, have actually paid a visit. Even I lived just six miles away for 3-4 years in the early 1990s, and never once visited. All that changed this past autumn when I took my wife and daughter for a weekend away – something that’s nice to do when the boys are off camping with the Scouts.
The Rock City Gardens were a surprise to me. Having lived nearby I was familiar with the “See Seven States” location, but I didn’t realize everything else that was contained within the 14 acre gardens (it seemed so much bigger). The massive rock formations were like a giant playground with panoramic views from 1,700 ft above the Chattanooga Valley. Over 400 types of wildflowers, shrubs and trees are contained in this unique and fantastic place
Our daughter just loved the Fairyland Caverns and Mother Goose Village, although the 1,000 ton balanced rock, swing-bridge, 100 ft waterfall, and “Fat mans squeeze” were also favourite stops along the way. The attention to detail was reflective of the eight decades which have been invested into the original mission of “creating memories worth repeating”. The official website, www.seerockcity.com says it best in a portion of their vision statement, “Rock City remains a national treasure of botanical, geological, and entrepreneurial significance”.
There is a lot to see, so don’t rush. Allow yourself at least a couple of hours to enjoy the sights along the various walking paths.
Sometimes we miss the hidden gems that are right in our own backyard. Old Mill Park in Roswell, Georgia is an example of this, nestled just outside earshot of the busy intersection of Marietta Hwy (GA-120) and Atlanta St (GA-9) near the Old Roswell Square.
Old Mill Park can be found at the bottom of the Roswell Mill development, featuring the Vickery Creek covered bridge and the Mill Dam. Our family simply went to visit for a couple of hours, but we bumped into some young people who had brought along the makings for dinner, and it looked like they were planning to stay for a good while longer. After the obligatory photo at the park entrance, the kids couldn’t help themselves but race to the covered bridge.
The covered bridge was rebuilt in 2004, and provides a comfortable and relaxing walkway over the bright and bubbly creek. We stopped on the bridge to enjoy the soothing colours and sound of this convenient get-away, before scrambling down to the colourful creek bed for the kids to play. While we were not the only family with pants rolled up and wet feet, it didn’t feel crowded at all – and enjoyed 20-30 min with nobody else around at all.
Although the creek has been renamed to Big Creek, skeletal remnants of the old mill still stand unyielding to time. To be fair there were more than one mill on the creek, and Sherman’s forces destroyed this mill in 1864, lightning then destroyed the replacement in 1929, and the remains are from the last edition of the mill which was operational until 1975.
The Mill Dam provides a wall from which myriad water courses cascade like a veil. While we didn’t walk right up to the base, we could clearly see a young lady who appeared to be getting portfolio type photos taken with the dam as a backdrop. The dam site was more popular than the covered bridge site, all taking time to enjoy the peaceful outdoors and attractive beauty of falling water. A walkway provided easy access and informational signs provided a brief history of the various sites along the way.
Overall, the area begged us to come back and visit another time and to stay a little longer. However, often the best time to depart an attraction is shortly before you run out of things to do, for then it leaves you wanting to go back and minimizes the chance of children complaining about having “nothing to do”. That said, creeks and lakes seem to provide limitless attraction to our boys who never seem to tire of tossing rocks into water. The portable toilet near the park entrance was the only item that seemed out-of-place, and one wonders why something more permanent hasn’t been added yet.
Go ahead and take the family for 2-3 hours, but plan on getting your feet wet and take a towel for drying off.