'Let's go and have a look around," is how my Dad announces a trip to a town whose main draws are a supermarket and an obese pigeon.
Occasionally we accidentally find something interesting like an amphitheatre or macaroon shop. But we won't have time to stop; we have to see all five of the neighbouring village's cows.
But the family holidays have their perks. For instance, I've experienced all zones of the Paris Metro. And, as Mum insists we travel light, I can open the train door carrying an anorak, backpack, water bottle, sunscreen, and bumbag while tying a jumper around my waist.
But I'm also one of the noticeably more mobile metro punters.
A lot of people lie crumpled behind the platform chairs, or slump twitching on a seat. On the stairs, beggars in head scarfs stare blankly, and on the train, two tired eyes peer up at you, croaking "one euro, one euro?" Get out of the station, and tramps stoop next to men with bloated shins curled in semi circles.
Paris is, and has been historically, one of the cities most tolerant of poverty and homelessness. According to the Guardian, in 2009, 75 per cent of French people felt "solidarity" with the homeless. It's not surprising given 56 per cent of French people thought they could be homeless one day. So it seems poverty and homelessness are present in the minds of everyday Parisians.
I can see why it's always there. It's a raw, ugly sight that's hard to forget.
Back home in Auckland, I thought homeless and poverty wasn't so much of an issue. In geography at school, I remember a girl explaining we don't have families below the global poverty line in New Zealand. So we don't have "proper poverty".
There's a few guys outside Maccas in Queen St. And that's it. Right?
When I made some comment about things being better in Auckland, my Dad, with the authority a working class English accent gives someone, told me I was nuts.
He's right. In 2013, one in four Kiwi kids were mired in poverty, and one in six went without basic necessities. Like a bed. In 2012, the Sunday Star-Times reported that frontline workers from charities dealing with homelessness and poverty were "bursting at the seams".
So yes. There's a problem. And the same report said New Zealand was light years behind the rest of the world, such as Britain or Australia, when it comes to tackling the issue.
Why are we so behind?
In Paris you can see the problem. In Auckland, it's hidden. Poverty is there, but we don't see it, so we don't do anything about it.
It's because we're a bit dumb; we are obsessed with visual proof of existence. I would never have believed something as pointless as cress existed, until it was waved in my face by a supermarket saying, "HAH we will put this green bum fluff in all of our sandwiches, AND charge you extra so you can pretend you're healthy."
So if there's no visual evidence, you get people like me, who think poverty is for cities like Paris. But if it's not in the public conscience, then it's not going to be changed.
I'm not suggesting charging on to the street and yelling: "Everyone get on the road! Look hungry! Middle-class bunnies like me think too much about diet yoghurt and not enough about suffering!"
But we comfortable, complacent people need to think, talk and campaign about the very real, very scary reality that 25 per cent of Kiwi children live in. If we don't stop being so complacent, nothing in government will ever change. The Government reflects the public, and if the public don't say anything, they're not going to risk votes by leading the issue. It will continue reflecting our ignorance.
If we want change, we need to be loud and angry. Can we still do that?