The Best Gift I Ever Received

The best gift I ever received was not something material. I think maybe most people would say something like a bicycle or a car or a diamond but I think that these things are not so important.
I’m not interested in acquiring lots of things. I lead a fairly simple life so owning many things is not really a big part of my life. I know that we are taught that to be wealthy, you should own a car or a house and while I would like a home, it’s not so necessary these days I think.

So, what was the best gift? It was a piece of advice from my father. I also don’t generally quote people if I can help it. I will quote movies and music but usually not people. So what did he say you might ask?

Let me give you a bit of background. My father had children young and I’m happy he did because he made me. Thanks Dad. But with kids comes responsibility and this limits certain things you can do, such as travel freely and for an extended period of time. He was able to travel overseas when his children, including me, grew up and he had a great time with my Mum traveling around Europe and even Japan. Cool, I know. He was able to afford to stay in sophisticated hotels and tour around enjoying the sights. Overall it was a great experience he said.

Now, when my brother and I started getting towards the end of high school, he asked what our plans were for the future. We were unsure if he meant further study or career but he meant something different. He was talking about traveling. He explained that he had no chance to travel overseas when he was a young man because of having a family. He said that we really should travel before we started our working life and he specifically mentioned backpacking. He went on to explain that traveling in hotels and backpacking, which are obviously different experiences, teach us different things. He said if we wanted to stay in hotels when we were older, of course we should. However, backpacking is only really fun when you’re young. Yes, it’s possible to backpack at any age, but I wouldn’t do it now and I loved it back when I was in my 20s. You meet so many different people from different countries in different situations that you just don’t have the opportunity to do on a short overseas stay. “Go when you’re young”, he said. And we followed his advice. My brother went to Europe snowboarding and then lived in America for a year and I lived in the U.K for a year and then went backpacking around Europe, Greece and Turkey for about 6 months both when we were in our early 20’s. I believe this taught us so many things and changed our lives. It gave me the desire to travel more and even took away the fear of living in a foreign country so that now I live in Japan and I love it.

Thanks Dad for that advice, the best gift you ever gave me other than the gift of life.



material (adj.) - relating to physical objects or money rather than emotions or the spiritual world
quote (v) - to repeat the words that someone else has said or written
certain (adj.) - used to talk about a particular thing or group of things, etc. without naming or describing them exactly
sophisticated (adj.) - expensive, chic, fancy
specifically (adv.) - for a particular reason, purpose, etc.