Keeping tabs half a world away

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So off she went. It actually happened.

The day we’d been dreading for months finally came around and daughter #1 and her pal boarded a flight to Buenos Aires to start their THREE MONTH tour of South America.

Me and the boss and a friend who came along waved them off at Lancaster station last week. They were carrying backpacks almost as big as they were and looked about 11, not 19.

We all put our brave faces on as we said our goodbyes, had a bit of a wobble once the train was out of sight then drove home to an empty house. It was not a good day. Before they went, I gave them two pieces of advice. 1. Don’t do anything that you wouldn’t do here. 2. Whatever happens, stick together.

In the days before the internet, when you went interrailing around Europe for a month, your parents were lucky if they got a postcard which, apart from your non-appearance on the news, 
was all they had to say you were still alive.

Now, even when your kids are walking around a city that’s SIX THOUSAND MILES AWAY, thanks to Instagram, Snapchat and good old-fashioned texting, they’re in touch more than when they’re at home.

We’re now in late stage parenting. We communicate with our children through our hand-held idiot machines so much they might as well be Tamagotchis. Only Tamagotchis aren’t as needy and require way less funding. So far we’ve seen Instagram pictures of them wandering around Buenos Aires’ art galleries, lounging around parks in glorious sunshine, sipping mojitos, eating thick juicy steaks and exotic looking McDonald’s.

And they’ve only been there a week. After that, it’s Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Colombia before flying home sometime around mid-May with a backpack full of filthy clothes and stories to last a lifetime. Yours truly turned up at work after we waved them off white as a sheet and was given advice that sort of helped which boiled down to “try not to worry too much” and “keep busy”. Easier said than done. Put it this way, Instagram and Snapchat are our new best friends. And we live for the pictures and videos they send. May can’t come quickly enough.