I am sure like me, there have been times when you have wondered what difference might have been made to your life, if your younger self had been gifted with the experience and knowledge you have accumulated over the years.
I invited several friends from the writing community to share their thoughts on this subject which I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did.
Today author and poet M.J. Mallon (Marjorie) shares her thoughts on the prompt and how her father’s work abroad and visits to spend time with him in exotic locations and his stories ignited her own passion for writing.
I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! #Family #Travel #Writing by M.J. Mallon
Thank you so much to Sally for inviting me to share my thoughts on I wish I knew then what I know now!
In many ways, I led an unusual life as a teenager. My father was often away for long stretches of time working abroad. He tried to work in the UK but was stifled working in a dreary accountant’s office. My mother elected to stay in Edinburgh, Scotland with my brother and I, so that we would have a good education without any interruptions. My parents didn’t want to send us to boarding school, like a lot of their contemporaries at the time.
We’d regularly go to visit my dad in exotic locations such as The Caribbean British Virgin Isles, Papua New Guinea and Fiji, much to the envy of my contemporaries at school. Here are some photos of Dad in Malaysia where he met my Mum, and in Papua New Guinea, Senegal and in the Middle East.
Each time I saw my dad after his spells away he seemed different in some way… grew a beard, developed a fatter belly, or the like. To this day, I admire him enormously for his love of travel, his spirit of adventure and his desire to live amongst different cultures.
In fact, one of the favourite stories he told me was of his time living in the Malaysian jungle with the dajak tribe!
Here is an image of the dajaks on the river…
Dad and Mum are such fascinating people. Here they are at the time of their engagement.
My Dad has always been a wonderful raconteur and my Mum has many tales to tell too. I believe their combined influence has made me the writer I am today.
My Mum loved living in Scotland. She embraced the culture with great enthusiasm, going to Scottish Country dancing and the like. She still loves Edinburgh, which is bizarre given that she comes from a very different country culturally: Malaysia.
No doubt she must have found it difficult to adjust to living in Scotland to begin with. But perhaps having a Scottish dad helped!
Looking back, I wish I had continued writing. I started during my teens, writing diaries about my travels, and the like but then boys came on the scene, and later my graduate studies. I lost a sense of direction of who I was meant to be. This remained the same until eight years ago when I started blogging. My blogging site – Kyrosmagica which means crystal magic – grew with many activities, such as book reviews, photo challenges, poetry, and blog posts about my life and travels.
Sadly, I don’t have as much time for all these wonderful challenges these days. But I occasionally I still participate. I remember the pre-pandemic blogging bash events in London with great fondness. Blogging helped me grow as a person, develop my confidence and I will forever be grateful for that.
Whizzing forward to the present time, my hubby and I have decided to take early retirement recently and oddly I seem to have less time than I did before which is really strange given that there were times when I was working 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday, getting home at least an hour later in the evening and still finding time to blog. I suppose your priorities change as you get older and our lifestyle is in the process of a major overhaul. We are making plans to spend more time in Portugal.
So, we have been travelling a lot. Exploring Portugal. Lisbon, Tavira, Sagres, …
More About Mum…
As I’ve mentioned, I’ve grown up with the idea of living abroad. My father, against local advice at the time, went off to the Far East and married my lovely mum, Paula, a Eurasian girl. Sadly, there was a far bit of prejudice at that time. My mother recently told me that at Dad’s office parties she often felt left out (due to being of Chinese/Eurosian parentage,) with few people to talk to. I was shocked to learn about this but perhaps not surprised. She had one or two allies who she spent time with and coped with it all admirably. When I look at photos of my mum, I see enormous strength of character.
Here she is the day she left for the UK (at the tender age of eighteen,) saying goodbye to her dear Malaysian friends… there is a touch of sadness in this photo.
Here she is with my brother and I… looking all smiley. Well, she is, I look a bit serious!
I love that she used to climb trees as a child and had a very free childhood to be adventurous herself!
I was a cheeky one too! And still am… Here’s me on a boat when I was little. I’ve always loved the sea.
So, in response to Sally’s question I wish I knew …I’d say that… doing things out of your comfort zone (like my Dad travelling abroad, my Mum leaving Kuching, Malaysia and my current plans to spend time abroad,) these adventure can enrich your life in ways you would never imagine. As can the smaller steps we take, like moving from Edinburgh to Cambridge. If I’d stayed in Edinburgh all my life, I am sure I would have been happy but… think of all the friendships I would not have made. The places I may not have seen.
I regret nothing and am looking forward to this next chapter in our lives.
And to future writing adventures!
©M.J. Mallon 2022
My thanks to Marje for sharing this lovely story of family and travel and the wonderful childhood of travel and adventure… as she says.. more to come. I know she would love to hear from you.
About M.J. Mallon
My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheros!
M J Mallon was born in Lion city Singapore, a passionate Scorpio with the Chinese Zodiac sign of a lucky rabbit. She spent her early childhood in Hong Kong. During her teen years, she returned to her father’s childhood home, Edinburgh where she spent many happy years, entertained and enthralled by her parents’ vivid stories of living and working abroad. Perhaps it was during these formative years that her love of storytelling began bolstered by these vivid raconteurs. She counts herself lucky to have travelled to many far-flung destinations and this early early wanderlust has fuelled her present desire to emigrate abroad. Until that wondrous moment, it’s rumoured that she lives in the UK, in the Venice of Cambridge with her six-foot hunk of a rock god husband. Her two enchanting daughters have flown the nest but often return with a cheery smile.
Her motto is to always do what you love, stay true to your heart’s desires, and inspire others to do so too, even it if appears that the odds are stacked against you like black hearted shadows.
Favourite genres to write: Fantasy/magical realism because life should be sprinkled with a liberal dash of extraordinarily imaginative magic!
Books by M. J. Mallon
My advance review for The Hedge Witch & the Musical Poet July 16th 2022
This is a poetry and flash fiction collection seeped in nature and illustrates the love the author has for the environment, particular the forests.
The first pages share the delightful love story of the Hedge Witch and the Musical Poet, bringing two solitary characters together in the sanctuary of a magical forest far from the human world.
This story is followed by poems and flash ficton, some of which are poignant such as the tribute to a ginger cat in Chester, Don & I,and bewilderment voiced in The Network of Treesas they stand in danger from the human need for progress.
There is also the sad reflection that much of the beauty and adventures to be found in the forests are being missed as children find themselves engrossed in the online world instead. The author makes sure to include the fun they could be enjoying instead.
The Teddy in the Woodsprobably should come with a tissue alert.
There are some reminders of poems from another collection which I also enjoyed Mr. Sagittarius Poetry; one of my favourites being Rainbow – Parasol of Light.
In the second section of the collection there is a series of poems inspired by other writers. Set in the woodlands and the beauty they offer. This includes the ethereal The Forest King.
The forest king lives in the shadows
his hair and beard, a flame alight
in his crown, the fairy queen sits
far from the tangled roots of his throne.
This is a collection to savour and to dip into when the technical world we inhabit becomes too demanding, or we are in need of a touch of magic. I recommend to lovers of nature and fantasy.
Thanks for dropping in today – Sally