Letter to my children

Hi kids,

This is my first letter to you. It’s been really hard to decide on the first few phrases. I’m generally quite good with words, but this is unusual for me to write. I don’t know you, and you don’t know me. At least not more than you’ve been told by the parents you’ve known so far. And we all like to make a good first impression, don’t we?

Simon – your bonus brother – knows me, of course, but this letter isn’t meant for him. He spent most of his childhood with me, but he is a grownup now and will soon be ready to leave for the next era of his life. I have introduced him to as much of the world as I could, and I’m quite confident, that he is ready to conquer the rest on his own. I love him very much. Just as much as I would do with every single one of you.

I can’t show you the world in the same manner as I did with Simon. That’s the terms of the agreement. I knew that from the beginning, and there are no regrets. It’s for the better this way. I’m sure you have wonderful childhoods and a family that loves you endlessly. But make no mistake: I think of you every day. I sometimes even think that I can feel you, but that might just as well be my imagination. And hope.

I don’t know how many you are, where you are in the world or which languages you will speak. I only know that you’re not in Denmark. Some day, many years from now, your parents might tell you about my existence and show you the childhood photos they have of me. Maybe they’ll even play the recorded message from me, so you can hear my voice for the first time. I sure hope they do. It took me a whole night making it 😊

Even if they don’t tell you, advances in technology makes it inevitable that you will someday realize that your biological father isn’t who you think it is. Arrangements have been made for you to be able to find me, when that day comes. If you want to, of course. Be absolutely sure that I’ll love you just as much if you won’t.

My parents died last year. Actually my mother – your grandmother – died two years earlier, but she didn’t really die until your grandfather did. I sincerely hope that I kept my last promises to her to take good care of him. Since then I’ve realized, that I don’t know much about my family. Not even my own parents, and almost nothing about my grandparents. I have now completed my ancestry map 3 centuries back, but still all I know is their names, when they were born and when they died. I know absolutely nothing about who they really were, the lives they lived, their passions, struggles and most memorable moments.

There’s a slight risk that I’m not here anymore, when you want to find me. Or maybe you just want to know more about me without meeting me. In either case, I want to make sure, that you can get to know, who your father really was. Not just his name and the dates of when his life began and ended. I can’t think of any better way to do this, than to share my two key passions in life with you: The world and photography.

I want to visit every country in the world in my lifetime. Not just to run through an airport, put a needle in a map or make a quick Instagram moment. I want to stay there for some days, live among the locals and explore at least a tiny fraction of their country. I like to find the quietness and solitude where I can smell the air, feel the weather, see the horizon and really experience the magnificence of our little planet. All while I make photographs to bring back to my collection of memories.

I’ve been pursuing this for quite some time. Whenever I could. Yet I still have some 1,200 days of travel left to reach my goal. That’ll probably take another 20 years to finish. I would’ve loved to send you postcards from around the world, tell you stories and show the photos when I came back. And travel with you as much as possible. But I can’t do that. Instead I can write you letters here and trust the internet to preserve them for you. I’ve already written a handful to post, but I couldn’t decide if this was the right thing to do. Now I’m sure.

Hugs and kisses,

Kiruna, Sweden, March 24, 2019