Why you should travel with your teenagers

Thailand holiday 2014 412It took travelling to another country where English wasn’t the Mother tongue to open the doors of communication with my teenagers. These are teenagers who seem to physically shudder at the thought of spending time with me, who walk ten steps behind me through the shopping mall,  groan every time I ask a simple question, such as ‘do you have homework?’ or ‘are you going to be home for dinner?. Travelling with my teenagers was an opportunity to get to know these growing young people more intimately and discover how much my ‘babies’ had grown before they take their own path into that grand experience called life.

The idea of travelling with teenagers was wrought with emotion, anxiety and excitement. Would I be the referee between arguments between my two children, or between the children’s father and the rugrats? Would I have sulking teenagers who would refuse to talk to strangers or engage with others, or constantly complain of being bored? Would my teenagers be on social media bemoaning how many days they had left to be tortured on a daily basis by their forever annoying parents. We had traveled to Phuket, Thailand, with our two teenagers, eighteen and fifteen years of age.

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We all have a story – stop avoiding and start listening

Home by Trudi Sutcliffe


I live in a small city, Porirua, New Zealand, with a population of around 50,000, a baby city really. Geographically our city is split by our two harbours, our many hills and demographically. Like many larger cities we have our poor and our wealthy, its white and its brown faces.

We are shadowed by our larger and hipper neighbouring city, Wellington, which is also the capital of New Zealand known for its strong café and bar scene and where many of our locals commute to daily.

But when I’m driving home and I see Mount Cooper/Whitireia’s half-moon shape I know I’m nearly there…home.

“We turn the corner on the motorway and there it is. Whitiriea. The heart calms. The breath deepens. HOME.”

But often when I’m at a local event or even just shopping I’m struck by the diversity in our city and how we mostly all get along, but how we often know so little about each other, and how this lack of knowledge can sometimes lend us to sit uncomfortably side-by-side. But it also makes me wonder about each of these communities and sub-communities, our diverse cultural, ethnic, economic, sporting and art cultures, and from our youth to our elderly. What are their stories? What are their aspirations?

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Blue is the warmest color and relationship dilemma

Blue is the Warmest colourThere are not many films that encourage me to write, but as I was watching Blue is the Warmest Color I craved to pick up my pen and start writing, not because the film was so bad that I wanted to rewrite it, but because the film, the dialogue (subtitles), the characterization and the story line was so good. So strong. There were moments where I had aha moments. When I observed how the film used literature and culture to define the two main characters. I also had the odd moment when, I thought to myself, damn I’d wish I’d written that.

This film spans a decade and is predominantly a coming-of-age story for the main protagonist, Adele. Just after starting up a relationship with a boy from her school Adele has a chance encounter with a slightly older woman, which leads Adele to think that something is missing in her relationship with the boy. Adele who is still at high school and the other woman, Emma is a young student completing her final year with a Fine Arts degree. Emma, being the elder of the two takes on the younger Adele as her protégé, not just sexually but to support her in her growth in becoming a young adult and person.

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