1960s – A Secret to My Wanderlust Life

by Rosemarie John on May 29, 2013

Mum and dad in the 1960s!

Mum and dad in the 1960s!

People usually ask me how I can travel at a drop of a hat and not be bored of a near nomadic life. I have been often queried about why I travel and why I keep meticulous accounts of the places I travel to. The answer lies somewhere in the past. It lies in the way I was brought up as a child. It lies in the environment I grew up in. It lies in the tales of my parents and their friends. As they recant the stories of some 50 years ago, I dreamed dreams of seeing the world as they did…

The 1960s wasn’t just about bell bottoms and big shades; it was also the dawn of ASEAN travel with the emergence of MSA (Malaysia-Singapore Airlines) in 1966 – An airline my father trained and flew for. With his cadet days behind him, newly married and the world to explore, my parents’ globe trotted all their lives instilling in me the wanderlust for travel!

As MSA ceased operations giving way to the separate formations of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and Singapore Airlines (SIA) respectively, the travel routes between the airlines grew tremendously. My father flew for Singapore Airlines for several years and was even part of the historic 3-man cockpit crew that flew in SIA’s first ever Boeing 747 before moving over to Malaysia Airlines where he flew for 37 years.

My dad (John Paul) standing in the far left with his fellow Flight Engineer cadets after graduation

Flight Engineer John Paul in front of a MSA Boeing 707 on the tarmac

Flight Engineer John Paul in front of a MSA Boeing 707 on the tarmac

With so much history of flight in my family, growing up around aircrafts and listening to travel stories made it pretty evident that all I would want to do would be to globe-trot and craft my own tales too! My very first flight on board Malaysia Airlines was at 11 months old. I had my own passport before turning a year old. Back then, it was a big deal… air travel wasn’t an affordable affair. A privilege I had with my dad in the airlines.

Looking at the old photographs of my parents from the 60s made me always want to experience that hedonistic culture for myself. The thrill of freedom, the cocktail of cultural experiences amidst historical settings, the period of change, the breaking of taboos and the revolution of thought of the rollicking 60s.

My gorgeous mum with the pigeons at Trafalgar Square

My gorgeous mum with the pigeons at Trafalgar Square

My stylish dad at Trafalgar Square in the 60s

My stylish dad at Trafalgar Square in the 60s

It is the spirit of those times that I find in the bottom of my soul. Travel liberates me and makes me feel that I relive the youthful and frolicking times my parents had in the 60s. My father was a dashing young man and my mother a sweet beautiful lady with an old world charm. They were both caught up with the spirit of the 60s and shaped their life around travel and adventure. They instilled in me the same spirit of the 60s… which is to have a free soul and bold steps to go explore this vast and beautiful planet.

So if I were to be asked, how did the 1960s inspire me? My answer wouldn’t be based on a movie, a song or art from that bygone era… instead I would tell you that my inspiration came from my parents, their fading photos and travel and aircraft tales that they have kept repeating for the past 32 years of my entire life!

Thank you mama and papa for introducing the world to me!

1960s – A Secret to My Wanderlust Life

My beautiful mother walking the streets of England in the 60s - notice the shades? :)

My beautiful mother walking the streets of England in the 60s – notice the shades?!

My dad inside the cockpit of SIA's Boeing 747

My dad inside the cockpit of SIA’s Boeing 747

Singapore Airlines Director of Flight Operations Captain S.K. Chan, Capt. Kenneth Toft and Flight Engineer John Paul garlanded after successfully piloting home SIA's 747B.

Singapore Airlines Director of Flight Operations Captain S.K. Chan, Capt. Kenneth Toft and Flight Engineer John Paul garlanded after successfully piloting home SIA’s 747B

My uncle and I on my first flight aboard a Malaysia Airlines aircraft at the age of 11 months – yes, I still smile that way each time I take a flight to somewhere magical!

My daring flight over the Himalayas to see Everest up close at 32 years of age!

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