The beautiful Cambrian mountains - spectacular scenery to drive through, to your daughter’s first university open day.
A misty, rolling, dreamlike landscape – ideal for a journey, but not a place that many find easy to live in.
The route took us from the Midlands through the England/Wales border country, to Aberystwyth on the west coast of Wales.
And as with all bittersweet journeys it wasn’t simply the destination that defines the journey in my mind, but the words of the lady who owned the b & b we stayed at overnight.
“My son wouldn’t go there. He wanted to get as far away as possible. He wanted to get out of Wales.”
So she named the university he went to, in England, and then said with a laugh, “And he’s never been back.”
Of course it had a happy note. He’d met his future wife there and now they were settled in England. His Welsh wife would have willingly returned to Wales, but he had no desire to at all.
At Aberystwyth, a lovely, remote but small and friendly community, I thought of the fact that the majority of students come from outside Wales. And all the Welsh young people probably want to get away from the place.
All around, amongst the crowds of visitors, I saw over and over again, one parent and one innnocent seventeen year old. I thought of how this moment is one of those defining moments in life. Your young person may spend three years here, may meet their future life-partner here, will make choices and decisions here that will impact the course of their lives.
Your young person may go there, and, like the son of the b& b owner, “never come back”.
Now I understand why attending a university open day can be a time both when you dare to believe in new directions and exciting opportunities for the future, but also a time when you may understand why the end of all our seeking is to return to where we began.
What defining moments have you had? Consider leaving a comment, and sharing your thoughts with me!