Monthly Musing – July 2023 – The other side of the world

“Have you had any messages today?”

“No, not yet – oh wait, I’ve just got one!”

Not so small daughter is currently on the other side of the world in Japan, wide awake when we’re sleeping and sleeping herself whilst we’re going about our day.  It’s strange to think that our days are opposite each other, and I have found myself checking my phone more than usual to see if there are any messages, and then checking the “what time is it in Japan?” website to see if I’m expecting her to be texting in her sleep.

She’s actually messaged us more than I expected her to.  “You need to be enjoying yourself,” I told her, “Not worrying that you’ve not sent us any messages.  We’ve got an emergency contact number and no news is always good news.”  It’s exactly what I told big daughter when she went to Peru, although we were delighted when she managed to call us from a hostel where she was staying in high in the Andes.

I think we’re so used to being in contact with each other and it’s so easy to do that with a phone – we have a family chat group, and we regularly share photos and website links as well as send messages that relate to all of us – that it is hard to remember that it’s OK sometimes to keep the phone switched off in a bag.

Not so small daughter is in a group of 20; their itinerary keeps them busy from dawn till dusk (by the time you read this, she will have hurtled from Tokyo to Kyoto on the bullet train for the next part of her adventure) and I am pleased that she’s not feeling the need to message us every 20 minutes.  I’m keeping up with the events of the day through the group’s Instagram account and we’re all hoping that she’s been able to take lots of photos that we can see when she gets home.

In complete contrast, when my Canadian cousin was here with her family last weekend, her daughter was telling me about the three hour bike rides that she goes on with her friends – and she doesn’t have a phone at all.  None of us had a phone at one point, did we?  If you’re my age, you used to disappear for hours with your friends to play outside and come home at tea time with the unerring sense of a homing pigeon (or sometimes it was because you heard your Mum shouting!).

Nowadays, I don’t leave the house without my phone (my keys, my specs …) and it feels completely normal.  We wouldn’t have wanted not so small daughter to travel to Japan without one, and yet we don’t worry if we don’t hear from her for 24 hours because we know she’s safe with her group.  Do we carry our phones to make us feel safe or to stay in constant contact, and is it the same thing?  Now that’s a question to ponder – whilst I’m waiting for a message from my girl on the other side of the world 🙂

A group of young women wearing tuquoise hoodies and navy blue t-shirts standing in a group holding a Japanese flag and a Girl Guiding flag.  Their faces have been blurred for privacy.


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4 Responses

  1. Corinne says:

    Oh how wonderful for your daughter! I’m sure they’re having a great time.
    I remember when we didn’t have or even need a landline, never mind a mobile phone, and we managed perfectly well.😄 We just had to be more organized. But times have changed, and I too take my phone everywhere with me and it was almost surgically attached when my late dad was really poorly. I had half the North East NHS on speed dial. At least we have the technology to be able to choose how we use it nowadays. I’m looking forward to some lovely photos of Japan.😊🗻🌏

    • winwickmum says:

      I think that it’s easy to look back on the times when we didn’t have phones and feel as if life was freer – and to some extent it was, but it’s so much more helpful to have them these days! 🙂 xx

  2. CarolynF. says:

    Your daughter is having such a wonderful trip. I’m curious if the Guides are the same as the Girl Scouts in the United States. Many, many years ago I was part of a wonderful experience called Round-up, in Girl Scouts. We also had Girl Guides come from other parts of the world including England to be part of the 9,000 girls who participated in Round-up. It was such a wonderful time. We still talk about being there in our Facebook group. In the future I hope she can stay in contact with other girls she meets there.

    • winwickmum says:

      I’ve had to look that one up but I think the answer is that yes, they are. Originally, only boys could be Scouts and girls became Guides but in the US and some Eastern Asian countries, they kept the name Girl Scouts. Nowadays, there are girls who are Scouts (I used to run a Venture Scout unit for older Scouts myself) but Guiding is just for girls, and the longer that not so small daughter is involved, the more I can see that the movement is excellent for encouraging and empowering girls and young women all over the world. I bet your Round-up was similar to the Jamborees we have here – originally for Scouts, I think, but now Guides can go as well and meet others from all of the world – I’m not surprised you’re still talking about it! 🙂 xx

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