The last time I spent a night away from my family was in 2009. I drove to the Victorian town of Daylesford for a relaxing weekend and managed to chafe two layers of calf skin off during an ill-conceived trek on horseback. I spent the next day walking with an imaginary equine between my legs. I called him Shirley. Shirley made it incredibly difficult to sit down or converse without painfully extorting facial muscles.
Securing a night off alone from family responsibilities is a privilege in our household. Our military obligations as parents mean that when our children take us down, they take us down together. We are Spartans. One of us is worth a thousand men.
Sometimes Spartans require a break from household warfare and since the mistreatment of Helot slaves as entertainment went out around 371 BC, I chose the next best thing – aeroplane travel and a buffer zone of 877 kilometres.
When Kidspot announced their masterclass and launch party for the Voices of 2013 campaign, I explained to my husband that I needed to put faces to names. I needed to board a plane. I needed to network. Given he knows I require 1.7 glasses of Shiraz or a natural affinity with someone to emerge from my shell, it was very kind of him to concede defeat.
I love air travel. It challenges my anxiety and despite possessing an uncanny knack for thinking how unnatural it is for a gigantic white machine with wings to be up in the air right at the point of take-off, there’s something about floating above a huge mass of water that makes you appreciate your insignificance. It’s humbling.
It was during a Kidspot masterclass panel, that someone vouched for showing humility. This followed on from award-winning film-maker and photographer Hailey Bartholomew’s keynote speech, in which she beautifully articulated her own humble beginnings via a video that spoke to the heart on raising small children and fearing that the world is passing you by.
Humility in blogging can feel in direct conflict with the self-promotion that is required in sharing your work and spruiking your wares, “Like my page!” and “Vote for me” and “I love your blog!” The networking can be enough to make the most resilient of Spartans retreat inside their armour.
There are people in blogging who navigate this terrain with a grounded dignity, who are generous with their knowledge and talented to boot. They might not shout the loudest but there’s beauty in their words, their creations, or their love of all things retro. And sometimes it takes being three thousand feet in the air to appreciate the quality in being grounded.