Memories come alive at 5

My family immigrated to Canada from Jamaica before I was born. Trips “back home” were done as it could be afforded which wasn’t often. Both of my parents worked shifts, money was tight and travel was a luxury.

My earliest travel memory is of a trip I took back to Jamaica with my dad. I was about 5  years old at the time and though I don’t remember it all, I do recall the thrill of getting on the airplane and eventually arriving into the arms of people who loved me.

As a child, it seemed as though my grandmother lived at the top of a huge mountain. I remember her head full of fat, black braids and the toothy grin she had for me.


In later years, I’d be back to Jamaica several times. The mountain, it turned out, was actually just a small hill. My grandmother was smaller than I’d remembered.

Time and age does that, doesn’t it?

It provides a perspective shift we can’t plan for. Big things turn out to be smaller. Memories revisited gain colour and definition.

#Blogust | My Kids Travel

#Blogust Travel

Ethan, age 3 in Italy

Now I’m a mother and I’ve watched my own boys make travel memories as babies, toddlers and young men. And I’ve watched them wrestle with their memories from early ages; struggle with fact and stories they’ve overheard; wonder about people we’ve met along the way.

#Blogust Travel

Machu Picchu, Peru 2008, Cameron age 4

I watch knowing that the lessons they are learning, ones that started long before they turned five, will continue to guide them in the years ahead.

I watch knowing, more than they can at this young age, what a privilege it is to be able to assume that they will continue to laugh, love, travel and grow just as I did before them.

#Blogust | UN Foundation

Earlier this year I accepted a role as a member of the Shot@Life Blogger Advisory Council. At a visit to the UN Foundation offices this past spring I learned how unlikely it is for many children around the world to assume they’ll live past 5.

Some of the sicknesses that we’d describe as an inconvenience (including diarrhea) or haven’t seen in North America in decades (polio) are killing children. 1 in 5 children around the world does not have access to the vaccines they need to survive.  Every 20 seconds a child dies from a disease that can be prevented by a vaccine.

Think about how many children that would be just in the time it took you to read this blog post.

These are children who won’t run into the arms of someone they love, or live to see that their grandmother’s love was huge even though neither she nor the “mountain she lived on were as larger than life as they seemed or have the chance to watch their own kids experience the world.

I’m asking you as people who have been watching my family make memories for many years, to help us help children in third world countries around the globe live long enough to make some of their own.

#Blogust Travel


#Blogust | How to Help

It’s easy. For the month of August comment on this blog post (or any of the others shared on, or share, tweet, RT, Facebook post or instagram using “#Blogust.” Every time you do, a vaccine is donated to a child in need. Just as importantly, it brings attention to their need.

#Blogust is a month-long digital dialogue, bringing together many of the most beloved online writers, photo and video bloggers and Shot@Life Champions to change the world through inspirational imagery and storytelling. This year marks the fifth year of #Blogust helping kids around the world reach their fifth birthday thanks to the power of global vaccines.

The Blogust 2016 digital relay participants will be sharing the story behind #TBT baby photos or videos of themselves, their kid(s) or a side-by-side comparison at important milestones – from first steps or first smile to fifth birthday. Every parent everywhere should be able to experience these milestones, which is why every like, comment and social media share their posts receive (up to 30,000 throughout the month of August 2016) will trigger a donation by MAM to help provide a vaccine for a child in need around the world.