Charmed Childhood

If there's one thing I can say with absolute certainty about my childhood it's that it was about as magical as any childhood could be. I grew up on a boat sailing around the world with my family for the first five years of my life. Afterwards my mum wrote a book about it. I am also really fortunate that both my mother and father are sensational photographers and we have several boxes worth of albums and photos from the trip.

Over time I hope to scan all of them in and share some of them through my blog.

This first one is of the four us us on the boat. I'm going to guess this is St. George's, Grenada purely from the background. I was there again in 2012 but I could still be mistaken (it's been known to happen). That's my mum under the dodger in the companionway (oh, look at you all fancy with yaw sailor talk).

My dad is rocking an epic beard and a Greek fisherman's cap and me and my sister are squinting at the camera. I assume the photographer was Ivan Cornell, one of our crew members at the time but I can't be certain. BTW, my sister looks like a Japanese cartoon character (it's called anime not cartoons you Philistine). I actually didn't recognise her when I first saw this photo.

This is me celebrating my third birthday in England. That's my mum in the background out of focus. She raised me and gave me life but who cares? Her picture is out of focus - I'm the main attraction here people. I have no idea what shape the cake is but the expression on my face is so reasonable. "And coming up next on the show, let's just have a chat, just you and me, with some hot cocoa, please, take a seat and let's connect."

This one is of my sister in the Galapagos. It's only one of several thousand where she has been cajoled to have a photo taken against her will and wears an expression that says: "OMG, you're embarrassing me in front of the seals!" (the first one to correct me on what the animals really are gets cut).

Here's one of me and my sister at the 1987 ARC Rally party in Las Palmas before all the boats departed [Correction: My most avid reader (my mum) informed me that I was wrong when I previously stated that the picture was taken at the "after party in St. Lucia (probably Rodney Bay)"].

Wife-beater + cork hat + kid = adorable, Wife-beater + cork hat + adult = Wolf Creek. I think my sister is Little Bo Peep. There was a fancy dress competition for the kids that night. To put it modestly, my sister and I won. To put it honestly we plunge our fists into the chests of the other children, wrenched their still-beating hearts out and showed it to them before they died (oh my, this guy is losing it, I can't believe I'm reading such filth in a blog post).

This one is me and my dad in the Galapagos. Definitely one of my favourites and my mum is the photographer.

This is one of my favourite photos of all time. Me, my sister and my grandfather. I think I was 3 at the time which would make him 83. His is a real rags to riches story involving business empires, wars, rebuilding and family.

His memoirs became a book and my memories of him are the best. This photo was taken at my aunt's home in Worcestershire, England. One other thing I love about the picture is my sister's smile. To see my sister that happy is always a joy and I can hear her mischievous giggle just from looking at the photo.

My sister, my mother and myself in Washington DC. My sister used to want to be Alice from Alice in Wonderland so much that she used to introduce herself by that name!

This is my reaction to being told I'm not actually steering the boat. That's Gibraltar in the background.

Me, my sister and one cool cat in the background. My favourite part about the Caribbean photos is how cool everyone looks in them.

This is at the caves in the northern islands of the Yasawa group in Fiji. [False! Correction: this didn't happen in the Yasawas, shortly after publishing my mum told me it was taken at (insert place I already forgot here)]. That's us rowing into the abyss.

I suspect that one of the reasons why I've had a lot of international friends in my life and continued to travel and connect with people from other countries is because I was, literally, raised that way. When you're a kid and you see another kid, you get closer to each other, you're shy for the first 3 milliseconds and then you're instantly best friends.

You start playing games whose rules you make up as you go (often you're each playing by your own rules) and you don't care that you can't speak the same language that you're a different race or any of that nonsense, you just play. Except if it's a girl because girls are yucky.

And here's me being a total fanboy for Winnie the Pooh. My first pseudo-memory in life is the Star Wars ride at Disney World.

This last photo makes me go: "Meh" but for some reason everyone else thinks it's adorable. I don't see it. But I do look like I'm having more fun lying on grass than is humanly possible. Pfft, kids.

So that's just a start. I hope to scan more in, upload them and then have my mum tell me the stories behind them so that I can rip her off and write as though I had the best memory any 1-5 year old boy has ever had in this world.