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1971–72 –AROUND THE WORLD

In July 1971, Tove and Tooti were planning their dream round-the-world trip. Tove described their travel plans in a letter to Atos Wirtanen.

‘Our first destination – Japan – was decided by business I have in Tokyo and so the Japanese will be paying for the first leg. Then it’s off to Hawai’i and San Pedro – you know, where Taube loads up gasoline – and where Tooti’s aunt lives, and then Mexico by all sorts of routes (including paddle steamer!) through the States and onto New York. I still can’t believe it’s really happening. Tooti is studying English four to five hours a day and the World Map is always open.’

Tove and Tooti made thorough preparations for their trip, but once they set off, a sense of freedom was vital. They did not book accommodation in advance, instead they chose whichever hotel or bed and breakfast seemed appealing, and there was always room.

The trip gave Tove eight months of peace from the flood of fan mail she had been receiving. Her brother Lars dealt with urgent queries, while others got a postcard telling them that their letters were awaiting Tove’s return.

The first stop on their round the world trip, Japan, was for business as well as pleasure. The Moomin books were published in Japan from 1968–72, and Fuji Telecasting produced an animated Moomin movie. The movie proved to be a horrifying experience for Tove. Her characters were unrecognisable, Moomintroll got a beating from Moominpapa and war broke out in Moominvalley. Tove could not prevent the film from being shown in Japan, but showings elsewhere in the world were banned. In 1991, a new film was monitored closely by Tove and Lars Jansson, and the rights were sold in many countries.

In Japan, Tove and Tooti bought a small Konica camera to record 8-millimetre films of their life on the road, on the island and at work. Once she had concluded her business in Tokyo, Tove’s real freedom only really began once they reached the next stage: Honolulu.

Travel was a lifeline to Tove and Tooti, and they were ideal travel companions. Travel provided Tove with the chance for extended periods of work, in peace and with fresh inspiration. During their round-the-world trip, Tove and Tooti stopped off in New Orleans, where Tove put the finishing touches to The Summer Book and began work on new short stories. Tove sat in the little kitchen, happily writing away. In a letter Maya Vanni, Tove writes that, ‘This might be the highlight of the trip, this joyful, beautiful, peaceful city full of music! We’re no longer tourists, we live here, we prepare food at home, in a friendly room with its own backyard where we grow vegetables.’