The five things travel taught me: Catherine Crock

A physician at The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne and professor at Deakin University Faculty of Health, Catherine Crock is the chair of the Hush Foundation which transforms healthcare culture through the arts. See ;


On our Simpson Desert trip with four children under seven, there was so much to see that some days we only travelled 50 kilometres. Every morning we used the radio to let the Royal Flying Doctor Service know we were safe. We stopped at a remote property and the farmer offered us a huge roast meal. He made us so welcome. Kindness from the RFDS and the people we met had an unforgettable impact on our kids.


I have been fortunate to visit hospitals all around Australia and the world. I particularly love country hospitals where I meet staff who give above and beyond to care for the people of their community. This is where you can see people who have joy in their work because they know they are making a difference. Even though the work is hard and can be sad there is still joy in doing it.


My sister Liz and I saved up for a trip to Europe to celebrate the end of uni. We spent two weeks absorbing the sights and loving the food. A phone call from home soon brought us back to reality. We had both failed a subject or two and had to cut the trip short to come home for supplementary exams. Emotions were all over the place but acceptance gradually kicked in. Maybe acceptance isn't quite the right word?


Belalp, Switzerland is a special place for me and my family. We took our children there skiing when they were young. On day one our three-year-old broke her leg. We didn't let this ruin our holiday. Once she was plastered we hired a toboggan, tied her firmly into it and she joined in the fun. At the end of each day all seven of us headed down the mountain road, Michelle on the toboggan, none of us are real skiers so there was hilarity, spills, wipe outs and general playfulness as we tumbled our way home.


My husband Rod and his brother Neil invented the sport of rogaining – long-distance, cross-country navigation – in Victoria in 1976. It is now an international sport and has taken us all over the world competing. In Estonia, we were warned to avoid swamps with dead trees that could be like quick sand and to avoid ditches which could be up to a metre deep. Navigating during the night was the ultimate in endurance for me. I was so sure we would end up in the drink that I forced Rod to detour an 15 extra kilometres along a gravel road.