Migrant baby boomers: time to break free

Roger Moore as James Bond in The Spy Who Loved Me during the famous ski chase scene.

Jay Pandya calls for migrant baby boomers to take inspiration from the movies, and jet off somewhere new.

While I was on exchange last year in Europe, my parents – both born smack bang in the middle of the baby boomers generation – came to visit me in London. It was our first time in Europe; they were only there for two weeks, so time was limited. We went on a round trip starting off from London, through Western Europe’s main sights and cities. While on top of Mt Titlis (that name never gets easier to pronounce) in Switzerland, we came across a cardboard cutout of two famous Indian actors on top of the mountain next to the chairlifts. I realised this was the typical picturesque mountainous location where so many famous Bollywood dances scenes and songs were filmed. My mum relived her entire childhood and adolescence while we were up on that mountain. My dad, an avid James Bond and Jason Bourne fan, finally got to see the scenery and experience Europe as it was on screen. He was convinced the ski scene from The Spy Who Loved Me was filmed where nearby.

I’d never seen my parents act the way they did on that mountain. I might be overthinking the moment, but it summed up our whole trip and I realised that if I wasn’t in Europe on exchange, then my parents would probably have never found a reason to visit Europe and break out of their comfort zone of India. My view is clear and simple: baby boomers should go to places different from where their families originated. For many Australian baby boomers that were born overseas like my parents, holiday experiences usually stick to one flight path, return ticket. A family friend, Mukesh Patel was born in India in 1963, just at the tail-end of the baby boomers generation. He moved to Australia almost 20 years ago but goes back about twice a year without fail. Both his sons were born in Sydney and he tries to take them to India at least once a year too. “I wanted to make sure they still remember their culture and custom back in India and all my family live back in India as well so I want to see them,” he said.

These sentiments and strong connection to home away from home is something shared across many migrant and ethnic backgrounds. But the benefits of breaking out of those shackles are invaluable as I experienced last year with my parents, who held the same mentality as Mr Patel. One overseas experience outside of India made them appreciate what else is really out there for them. Baby boomers have seen a great deal of change over their lifetime from the development of television to overseas travel becoming more accessible as well as the advent of the internet. New places to travel to are just a click  away and it’s always that first step that’s the hardest. For boomers with a migrant background, travelling back to their country of origin is an essential part of maintaining culture and identity. But when you find yourself watching a film like The Bourne Identity or seeing an incredible destination on The Discovery Channel, fight the temptation of reverting back to the same travel destination and start planning for something that’ll make you feel like you’re in a movie.

Jay Pandya


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