You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘travel’ tag.

I have been writing more and more frequently in the last few days and so I know it’s time to share a bit. This is my usual pattern. Write, fumble..write, wonder how one can have writers’ block when one isn’t really a writer?? scratch, write more, stumble, feel a bit of flow, laugh at the crummy stuff I’ve come up with… and then in one fell swoop write something I feel I can share. It’s like a quick exhalation of real coherent thought… although this is subjective!!

The rest of it, all those little pieces of writing-excess, they are good and important and all that, but for me, the thought that hits home has a specific feel. I might compare it to the feeling you get when you swing the club and know, right away, that it’s a good one… maybe it doesn’t quite get you that hole-in-one, but it’s fairly straight and it’s not going to hurt anyone. It’ll go as far as your experience, strength, and equipment will allow.

And so I plan to make this a short post….

My last few months living down in a valley and working up on a mountain have been everything I had hoped for and so much more! It’s been refreshing, fun, social, and rewarding to work outside again. My snowboard and I have made good friends. I might not know thirty words for snow, but I know that “variable conditions” mean many different things to many different people and that the whole feel of the mountain can change in a matter of twenty minutes or twenty centimeters..

The season is coming to a very quick close. As I find myself in another period of transition.

I’ve also come to realize that as I settle down into routine and into living in one place for more than a few months, that the vastness of “new and different” aren’t lost – instead they change. I might see the same scenery day-in and day-out; speak the same language; align myself with those old familiar social norms; it’s all so the same. But really everyday is unique. There’s a richness in routine. The layers of the people we meet, the decisions we make – it’s fascinating and it keeps the spark alive. I’m especially impressed by my friends.

I don’t want to sound like an over-indulgent parent, but my friends are amazing! They make hard decisions, follow-through even when the going gets tough, and have the gumption to admit when they’re wrong.

They are funny when it’s appropriate and hilarious when it’s not.

They stand strong, ask for help, melt a bit, reorganize, restructure, change their friends’ kid’s diapers and down an 8-pack of Lucky in the sun when they have to. I have friends that run marathons, start new lives in foreign countries, and deliver new lives without even melting a bit!

I could go on and on, but I think I mentioned this being a short entry?

It’s been quite a ride. The forecast continues to call for variable conditions, with a 50% chance of melting.

We all know that Christmas is a special time of year. Family, friends, wining, dining, and gifts. Yeah, it’s special, no doubt. There’s the flip side to consider, as well. Stress and all that mumbo jumbo….so-busy-bad-weather-unexpected-expenses-hard-to-buy-for-too-much-to-drink-to-eat-to-wrap….yadda. Yadda. Blah blah.

Bah.

My advice? Start watching the chaos and find humour. Just give yourself a little extra time and sit back and watch the insanity ensue. You can’t change the crazies that come out of the wood work and emerge in droves at your local shopping venues. Instead of getting annoyed at the person who takes eight minutes and a nine-point turn in order to back into a parking spot, give these people a break. Everyone shops this time of year (with exception of those overly down-to-earth types who have found the true meaning and all that..or the really crafty types that are so prevalent here on the west coast). So it falls to reason that unskilled shoppers come out at this time of year. This makes it that much more adventurous for the rest of us!

Actually, I think I’ve over simplified these characters. They aren’t unskilled at shopping – they are more-or-less unskilled at basic social interactions and sometimes even logic in general.

Watch the person in front of you try to explain a specific book to the lady at the cash register – while not knowing the title, the author, or even the genre of book they’re in such dire need of. Take note as she get more animated and frustrated, starting to lash out …. “nobody in this bloody store knows anything about literature!” She storms off feeling vindicated knowing she is better-read than anyone else in the shop and also that it’s run by illiterate morons. Now instead of letting their negativity rub off on you and your retail experience, just take a moment – realize you’re just very lucky not to be that person. Smile at the cashier. A knowing glance can do wonders. Now you can feel vindicated in your own right – and the camaraderie of like-minded, socially-adjusted people is exactly what this season is about.

Love thy neighbour… and your local customer service associate.

In all seriousness, I’ve really had to embrace being back in the real world for this time of year. My battle is not with the general public, but with my memories. I thought I had it all figured out – I got a job at the ski resort in order to fully wrap myself up in winter. Being up on the heavily snow-covered hill, surrounded by people who love being outside – it’s the perfect way to get through the long dark winter. Yes…all figured out – I knew this sort of job would ensure I worked through Christmas and I could slog through this very emotional holiday by working hard and feeling exhausted enough to sleep through the night. I could avoid Christmas… again! What luck.

Luck comes in oh, so many forms. I truly believe that each one of us is lucky, it’s just a matter of perspective.

So I guess I was one of the lucky ones – my schedule gave me both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off. As I was about to volunteer to take my coworkers’ shifts, I held my tongue and thought about the opportunity at hand. This could be exactly what I need. I’ve stated before: some of the best outcomes have been from situations that are difficult and way, way, way easier to avoid. It dawned on me that I need to face the holidays; the traditions, the ups and downs that come hand in hand with this time of year.

It’s been pretty sweet so far, and even with a few tears there is some sense of accomplishment.

I can’t even begin to count the ways in which I’ve been lucky. Life happens, sh*t happens, some of it’s heavy and bad and life-altering, but we do our best to pick ourselves up, and when we do – whether it’s luck, or determination or sheer grit, we, hopefully, can look around and begin to see the love surrounding us.

My love and thanks to everyone who has been part of my life these last few years. I have met so many special people. I have travelled with each and everyone of you whether it’s through airports and foreign countries, written word, or shared memories.

We’ve arrived here …right now. It’s pretty good, isn’t it?

Keep each other laughing. Share music. Hug to stay warm.

Merry Christmas.

 

It’s hard to believe that the Tour du Mont Blanc is supposed to be one of the most popular multi-day treks in Europe. No one I talk to has ever heard of it! Maybe I’m not running in the proper circles. I don’t know many people that own trekking poles.

Old Friends

 

 

Planning the route and hiding from the rain at the same time...

 

Anyway, this ten day hike was a chance to catch up with one of my oldest and dearest friends and her lovely husband and to see some awe-inspiring scenery to boot. We met in Switzerland and set out for ~144kms through three countries. We stayed in mountain refuges – fully functional dorm accommodation with night-time meal included. Hiking on the West coast of Canada (where I grew up) is a different breed altogether. Up in the alps one feels quite civilized. You can shower almost every night! We also stopped though a few towns along the way so we were able to pick up supplies as needed, and to celebrate milestones and new countries with a pint, or a wee bit of fois gras.

This is quite a tramp and it doesn’t take all that long to get into the swing of things even if you’re not that much of a long distance hiker. One of my favourite moments occurred on the second day in. I think we were en route to the Grand Col Ferret (2537m) which marks the border between Switzerland and Italy.  We were slugging up yet another summit, sweat and sunscreen pouring into our eyes, sun blaring down on us, packs digging into our backs.  My good friend Diana casually looks at me, and with a resigned but somewhat enthusiastic smile says, “mhh, and to think…we could have been sailing in the Mediterranean right now!”

I’m fairly certain I stopped dead. “Pardon me??” …confused laughter escaping my parched and sun-burnt lips.

Answering with a casual chuckle and a shrug of the shoulders, “oh yeah, didn’t we tell you? If we hadn’t done this hike we were going to charter a boat and sail around the Med for two weeks.”

As my jaw dropped, she added proudly: “Jeff and I are both Skippers.” Broad smile. My uncontrollable laughter was a reaction to the altitude, I’m sure.

The Mediterranean aside, this was a fantastic journey and although it was many weeks later that any of could fully enjoy cheese or sausage (after eating them every day on the trail), the scenery was enough to put one in one’s place.

We worked really hard through heat, rain, wind and even snow…. and we met some great people too.  It was an amazing experience but I won’t hesitate to volunteer as a deck hand on our next vacation together.

worth a thousand words...

Switzerland is very much like a story book. The hills are definitely alive with the sound of music, and no matter how you’re travelling you can’t help but notice the cleanliness, the politeness, and the over-all put-togetherness of both the people, and the beautiful towns and cities.

Yes, towns here are way more polite than back home.

All this cleanliness and picture-perfectness comes at a price, of course – it’s damned expensive!

Case in point: I asked my friend from London to pick up hiking socks for me. She bought two pairs for less than it would have cost me for one, here in Switzerland. Imagine: cost-savings from the UK!?

I’m no expert, but I thought I might offer a few practical tips for the traveller on a budget. These have worked for me!

  • Buy groceries. Everything seems a little pricier here, but man, oh man, nothing beats a good loaf of bread and a block/wheel of FANTASTIC Swiss cheese… Add a tomato, sausage, beer – well, you’ve got all the bases covered!

  • Plan your trip around the first Saturday in the month – most galleries and museums are free! A bigger city might be an idea – you’ll have more choice and can realistically “museum hop”

  • Find new Swiss friends to share fondue with. The price per portion are better with bigger groups…although it may be hard to find locals who will eat this famous national dish when snow isn’t lining the ground. Other travellers may collude with you to eat liquid cheese & wine out-of-season….even if it isn’t actually cheaper sharing, it’s waaaay more fun.

  • Spend most of your time hiking, wandering towns, or swimming. These are free and healthy!!! You can work off the cheese and bread and chocolate that you’re bound to be consuming.

  • Camp. Zero-star accommodation can be five-stars of FUN!

  • Couchsurf and be amazed. (www.couchsurfing.com)

  • Invest in a ½ Price Swiss Rail Card. The cost is $99CHF and it’s valid for all rail/bus passes in the country for one month. Even if your itinerary only allows a week or two in Switzerland, this may be worth while if you’re moving around a lot. You can order online a few weeks ahead, or pick one up from a major train station when you arrive in the country. Start here: (http://mct.sbb.ch/mct/en/sts.htm)

  • Check out second hand stores for cheap souvenirs. There seems to be an abundance of cookery items and mugs and national flags…full fondue sets, figurines, cow bells…

  • Take a break from the internet, and if you can’t manage that, alternatively make a “to do” for when you decide to pay the exorbitant prices (just so that you don’t spend all your time on Facebook stalking your friends and looking at pictures of people’s children and your exes…)

  • Go during the off-season (not in August!)…sigh

    This isn’t my usual style for this blog, I realize, but a little travel advice never hurt anyone. Hope it’s helpful!!

    The Matterhorn

    The Swiss experience cannot be complete without an up-close and personal glimpse of the mystical, magical Matterhorn. Luckily you don’t have to be a mountaineer to appreciate the astounding beauty of the (second) highest mountain in the Swiss Alps. It’s obvious that this 4478m monolith has indeed caught the attention of the world … there is a chocolate bar based on it’s shape. Do you know which one?

    Catrin & Jill..and the big mountain in the background!

    We arrived in Zermatt, the small village at the base of the Matterhorn, early in the day. The train was full but not uncomfortable. There were less young people than I thought there would be, but then I considered how expensive Zermatt must be (picture Whistler in a really expensive country and you’ve got the idea), and then I understood that although it’s a very popular place, it’s not necessarily on the “backpacking circuit”.

    Safety First! The First Sunscreen Application.

    Alpine Wild Flowers

    With the money we were saving by camping and bringing our own groceries, well we could maybe pick up some souvenirs… I had my eye on one of the watches in the stores selling for $42,000 and change.

    So we found our camp spot and it was as basic as they come. Actually it was sort of just a field…maybe even more like a yard, with a fence around it. The sign “Camp Ground” actually had 5 stars engraved on the bottom, yet NONE of them were filled in. Our accommodation was “no star”!! It was perfect enough. We set off to explore. There are dozens of hikes from Zermatt. We pointed ourselves upward and walked for a couple of hours. How we enjoyed the graceful views of the Matterhorn in the dying daylight; the sun hitting the surrounding peaks and glaciers was exactly perfect.

    A view from the Zero Star Accommodation

    The second day we set off early. With our nice strong, dark café warming our tummies, we sprung off the dark, cool valley floor and climbed until we found sunlight in which to eat our morning feast. Glaciers and mountains, wooly sheep, small derelict cabins, and the sound of roosters announcing another day (and helicopters starting their scenic tours) were a great accompaniment to our bread and cheese. We completed the 18km circuit of the Höhenweg Höhbalmen in about six hours.

    A rest at the top with views of the glacier

    The trail was quite busy, but we had some spectacular views and were able to take a rest in the valley (the Höhbalmen). I was convinced that Heidi was going to come bounding over the next hill. This was exactly how I have picture walking in the alps.

    There sure is a lot of time to think when one is climbing a mountain – or even traversing across it. This is quite a feeling.

    My mind wanders and analyzes on a constant basis; this is true of most of us. We relive events, and delve into new ideas all the time….all the time. There’s that certain beautiful point during any extended activity, were the mind suddenly relaxes.

    Jill, Joe, Catriin & The Matterhorn

    Ahhhh…. It’s nice to get to a point where you’re just concentrating on the next step.. or the wild flower at your feet, or the fact that there are dozens of butterflies landing beside you; on you. The first marmot is spotted, and then you search the rocky hills above for more. You watch the mountains creating clouds in the clear blue sky and your thoughts get bigger – they get perspective – they put you in your place. There’s nothing like the grandeur of mother nature to make you realize how small you are. It’s wonderful, and Switzerland is full of it.

    Theme Song:

    Well, I’m happy to say that I didn’t get lost in the far northern reaches of British Columbia. And although I’m certain that my mind has wandered away from me more than once in the last couple of months, I’m positive that I am in good physical health and in a generally good state altogether…

    Englishman River Falls

    Englishman River Falls, BC

    In reality I spent most of June and July engrossed in the laid-back culture and the natural beauty that makes Vancouver Island the best place in the entire world. Home was nice. It’s just so damned beautiful. We really do have something special on The Island. Let’s not tell too many people ’cause I think it’s catching on.

    Home was busy and wonderful and sunny and comfortable. I didn’t spend much time in one place – not more than a few nights – and so I guess I didn’t get much of a chance to settle down again. This is not, apparently, the way to set oneself up for success in matters related to resuming normal home-like activities. I didn’t even ever actually unpack!! In fact, I managed to find a smaller backpack to stuff my belongings into. Due to this amazing feat (among a few other things) I made the decision to keep going. Just a little longer. Just a few months. I’ve made my way over to the intriguing and diverse continent of Europe.

    Prinz Georgs Garten, Darmstadt

    Prinz Georgs Garten, Darmstadt

    After landing in  Frankfurt a few days ago, I caught up with a friend from high school. Isn’t facebook amazing? For all it’s faults, it’s certainly a good medium for staying in contact with those far-flung friends from around the world. Not only was Wesley residing in Germany, but he lives a mere half hour away from the airport! How wonderfully coincidental. Isn’t it also so wonderful to be met at the airport? This is quite a novelty and so very much appreciated. It’s nice to be led around by someone in the know?  It can be quite an ordeal to navigate airports and cities after hours of breathing re-circulated air, eating plastic food, and that incessant worry about deep vein thrombosis (I jest). Truly, though, it’s nice to follow for a bit, and it was nice to see a familiar face, albeit one that is all grown up in comparison to that fresh-faced 18-year-old I once knew.

    Frankfurt

    Frankfurt

    Wesley is a computer scientist and his girlfriend is a mathematician, so the conversations were interesting, to say the least. Some of their friends, all of whom are physicists or scientists of some such, came over for a party one night. It got crazy, I’m not going to lie.

    It was really fun. And everyone spoke English…most of the time. And we cooked and ate and drank and I realized that home is where you make it.

    Frankfurt DOM, 1866

    Frankfurt DOM, 1866

    We spent most of our few days together catching up on over a decade of living, all the while exploring the cities of Darmstadt and Frankfurt. A definite highlight for me was sitting on the edge of the Main River and eating leftover chili. The old churches are all right too. Germany is pretty cool.

    The Würste isn't so bad...

    The Würste isn't so bad...

    I’ve eaten bratwurst on the streets. Well not OFF the street exactly, but more from street stalls. The mustard accompaniment covers the bits of dirt and debris …just kidding. I think the theoretical physicists’ sense of humour may have rubbed off on me.

    The Alaska Highway

    As I write this, I sit on the side of the Alaska Highway. I’ve just driven through the small town of Dawson Creek and glimpsed the “Mile Zero” post that marks the beginning of the epic highway built during WWII.

    I’ve filled the car with inexpensive Albertan gas from the last Shell I passed. Engaged in pleasant smalltalk with the gas station attendant – as he removed bugs from my windscreen – I inquired as to where I could get a nice cup of coffee. He paused a moment, looked contemplative, and then earnestly suggested the place down the road. I’m now enjoying the suggested brew and can’t help smiling to myself. Esso gas station coffee isn’t necessarily “nice” but it does the trick. I guess. It was kind of the fellow to point out that the coffee at the competing station is way better than their own.

    Yeah, you know, when in Rome….??
    Well, I am listening to classic rock…
    although I do draw the line at country music.

    Up here in the northern reaches of Alberta and British Columbia, life is simple and pleasant – straightforward, if you will. The coffee is served two ways: black, or double double. Easy.

    Moose Crossing

    Bullwinkle...with a twinkle in his eye, he's about to make moves to cross the highway

    Crossing Moose

    I’ve pulled over, on this straight stretch of pavement because I wanted to get a picture of the “Moose Crossing” sign on the side of the highway. Doesn’t this image just scream Canada? A stark contrast to the “Wombat Crossing” sign I took pictures of, oh so many moons ago. On my way back to the car I glanced over to the side of the road and guess what? There, amongst the trees, stood a real moose!! Wow, are these signs accurate!

    He wasn’t exactly crossing the road, but he had that look about him that suggested he was ready to travel.  He was eying up the south side of the highway, and it wasn’t lost on me: he had plans to make moves.

    Anyway, I’ve also pulled over, on this straight stretch of pavement, because I’m having a moment. That kind of moment I find myself having every so often, where I have trouble wrapping my head around exactly where I am. I can’t begin to count the number of times I wake up and don’t know, often for many long minutes, where I am. Sometimes this happens in broad daylight as well…like now.  A hazard of travel, I reckon! Its not so much that I don’t know where I am, it’s just hard to absorb that I was somewhere so very different and so very far away only a few weeks ago.

    On the other hand, it kinda feels like I never left.

    Well this is another part of the adventure, isn’t it? I can’t imagine I would be drinking coffee from Esso and taking pics of moose in any other country besides here….
    Home.

    I’m back, and it’s going to be a fantastic summer!

    Jill at Beaver Lodge

    ...

    You know those moments when you feel like everything is as it should be? That all the good, the bad, the confusing, the funny, the in-between moments – that it’s all happened – is happening – in the just the perfect ratio? Like all the happenings have led to this point. Good and bad and neutral…it’s brought you to the exact spot you’re in, and that spot is exactly where you’re supposed to be?

    I’m not talking about the physical spot either; I’m speaking more about one’s state-of-mind. I’m talking about growth and I’m talking about experience.

    You know?

    Some may call it wisdom – although I’m not feeling overly wise – definitely not.  But I’m feeling like I’ve come to a point where I am okay with myself and my feelings and I’m proud of the journey I’ve been on and it’s okay to be proud.

    And although I’m not necessarily speaking in physical terms, the physical journey is not to be ignored. It’s been astounding! I’ve seen a whole heck of a lot of Australia and New Zealand. I’ve made my way through South East Asia and some of the South Pacific. I’ve even stopped off in Canada for a visit! This is some substantial travel. Considering my original trip was planned as six weeks in Oz and two in NZ, I think flying by the seat of my pants is an understatement. What an opportunity, and a gift.

    I’ve kept my head on straight (or as straight as it’s ever been…this is all relative.. it’s a sliding scale). So many ups and downs; SO so so many decisions to make everyday. No routine means I can’t turn my brain off too much. Maybe this isn’t true, but I’m using my brain in very different ways than I did when I lived in a house, went to work everyday, and came home to a husband and cat. All these decisions I’ve been making have led to this spot. All my interactions, on the road and at home, have helped to bring me to this head space. And you know what? I can honestly say, for the first time in many, many moons, that it’s a good head space. The galaxy in my mind is good. It’s accepting and filled with positive ions. I’ve disproved dark energy…no antimatter here! (oh, oh…now I’m on an astronomy analogy tangent….this can’t be good for anyone…it could be never-ending..doppler effect…escape velocity….let’s change the subject, the trajectory, if you will).

    Someone wise once said that we are never given more than we can handle (this is actually based on a passage from the bible [Corinthians 10:13] but I didn’t know that until I just looked it up). I heard this a long time ago, probably when I was a teenager, and it was one of those ideas that made sense to me at the time, but its poignancy was fleeting and quickly vanished into the aether. Well this small piece of wisdom was brought back into my life, by someone I love, when Kevin and I were battling that insidious f*#ker we call brain cancer. Kevin and I latched onto this idea; we embraced it whole-heartedly and it kept us going, especially through some of the tougher moments. I still think about it and I believe it and I hope that it brings some sort of peace to people going through something difficult. We, as humans, are tough and capable. I feel tough and capable.

    I also have a headache, but I guess that’s to be expected. Gamma-ray bursts and supernovae have that effect.

    I   have never pla...yed so many card games in my entire life up to this point. I think I dream about cards… Yahtzee too…my life is one big hand of cards. It’s not so bad.

    So I’ve found myself in Wanaka – a very small town on a very beautiful lake. It sits, sleepily, amid mountains and rugged hills, on the southern end of New Zealand’s South Island. It’s beautiful; Charming even. It’s sucked me in and hasn’t let go!

    After a few days in windy Wellington (first with a really nice Canucks fan who put me up for a few nights, and then at the worst hostel [backpackers’] I’ve ever stayed at. It was like a loud, messy frat house… one must learn quickly that there is a real divide in the world of hostels in this small country. Each type, each company, has a specific feel. Some are home-like, some are sterile, some are boring, some are frat houses filled with eighteen year olds that don’t do their dishes and have trouble cooking rice. I haven’t had the chance to do this interesting research in my previous travels because I haven’t been staying at hostels very often. After my few days in Wellington, I can see why I’ve avoided them…) I decided to head down to Christchurch where I had arranged to pick up a free rental car. I was given three days to make the ~500km trip from Christchurch to Queenstown. EASY! This was long enough, I reckoned, that I could forego the more direct route. Instead I would make my way along the wonderful, windy, wet west coast to explore some glaciers and some forests and get a little nostalgic at the similarity to our own west coast in British Columbia. It was a good decision.

    My mind was clear after driving and music and I pulled into Wanaka on a sunny St. Paddy’s Day. I found myself a beer and a local paper and figured that I could see myself living in this little corner for a while. I just had to find a job and a place to stay. Where to sleep, where to sleep? A hostel would have to do.. at least for a night, then I’d find my own place. Right.

    I picked a backpackers’ that looked nice, friendly… more-or-less at random, and I checked in. I haven’t checked out!

    I couldn’t say no to an invitation to hear some Irish music, eat some Irish stew and drink some Irish beer (it was mostly Kiwi beer and Dutch beer, but who keeps track of these things?). It’s cool ’cause that invite paved the way for me; I found a place to stay, a bit of work, and even ended up with a few new friends as well. Good things always happen while celebrating the Patron Saint of Ireland.

    Remember how I mentioned that some hostels are home-like? Yeah, this one tops that. It’s home! The people here are fantastic, the card games never-ending. There’s a hot tub… enough said. I haven’t necessarily met a lot of locals, but there are a lot of people who stick around for a while and a few people who keep coming back. I’ve found my little corner of the world to settle in for a little while and it’s comfy and it’s fun and it’s oh, so nice to unpack.

    Who hasn’t always wanted to stay at a “BAR/Hotel/Campsite” in the middle of small town in New Zealand? Well, we stumbled across exactly this. We had been sent on a bit of a wild goose chase by a local….promises of the best campsite in town had us driving around aimlessly for half an hour. Only after realizing there were multiple bridges over the river (we had assumed there would be only one) did we decide we needed to stop for sustenance. A beer would work. Well, look at that – Bar/Hotel/Campsite….perfect!

    Up On a Hill, North of GisbourneWe made our temporary home amongst the more permanent residences: the converted buses, the odd trailer, derelict vehicles, the goat tied to a rope. We skipped setting up camp and went straight for the bar. Our evening was spent playing pool with the locals, meeting a few characters, and learning the finer points of sheep shearing. Did you know that it’s someones job just to shave around the nether-regions of the sheep? This person has to do the dirty work so that the other shearers can get some “clean sweeps”…not having to worry about the messy bits. Makes sense hey? We spent some time asking all the questions that you, yourself, would want to ask. What a fitting and fantastic ending to our road trip across the North Island.

    When Missy and I had set out from Wellington a week earlier we had high hopes of hitting all the Conservation (free) campsites. Just us, our tent, abounding nature…living off the land (canned tuna notwithstanding). So good!

    Hahahahahahahaha….

    So our reluctance to buy a proper map may have led to our downfall. That’s where I pinpoint the beginning of the end…the constant roaming; the U-turns. Although I’m not sure that either of us even considered using anything but the crappy maps they give out free at information centers. And actually – getting lost proved to be half the fun!

    What’s a good road trip without a lot of unnecessary driving?

    Our first night was epic. We drove up the windy roads on the East Coast…dusk was setting in, we had planned to be somewhere camp-able hours earlier, but due to a little bit of misinformation, shotty navigation (re: the aforementioned maps) and badly predicted driving time, we were miles from anywhere. We did consider just setting up camp on the side of the road, but the rolling hills enveloped the small road in an oppressive manner and were less than ideal. We persisted. After some swearing and some uncontrollable laughter, we were finally rewarded with a stunning sight. We wound our way down the cliffs to see the rocky beach and the surf and a few fisherman who would be our neighbours for the night. Could it be more perfect? It was cool and windy, but we were able to build a fire…ahh. Never mind that our cushy air mattress had a massive hole in it, and we ended up sleeping in the back of the station-wagon. The achy backs were worth it.

    Our trip had many highlights, a few low-lights and an overall feeling of relaxed chaos. We walked away from our adventure with a better understanding of the Kiwi culture, pictures and memories of the beautiful and natural scenery, a few hearty laughs, sore backs, and a personal injury (trampolines are surely a death-trap)! Oh yeah, we also saw a hedgehog – he approached us in our camp – and I think that might be the cutest animal I’ve ever seen. They make sniffy sounds!

    You know those times in your life where you can tell you’re making memories as the event is actually taking place? I have a lot of these…maybe it comes with going through something traumatic? Realizing the preciousness of each moment? I think we all do it at times, but I also think that we have more of an opportunity to do it at certain times in our lives. When we travel, our time is perceived as finite; we are experiencing so much in such a concentrated timespan. Every so often it’s nice to step back and get some perspective.

    I’ve found from personal experience, that this is harder to do this when trudging through the routines of daily life, but I guess that’s the trick… NOT waiting for your life to start…you know that whole thing we all do? The thought process that confirms we aren’t quite living our real lives until some arbitrary date in the future? That whole: “when I finally get my promotion,” or “when I meet the right person” or “when the kids are older, and we’ve sold the house.” Even worse is when these life-starting events are so small as to border on ridiculousness… “once I get that new car” … “when I have my vacation,”….“when I lose 10lbs.”

    Let’s try to enjoy our health, wealth (don’t forget your friends and family as the bigger part of this category) and happiness as it stands now.

    We’re always waiting for the future, but it’s a pattern of thought that holds us back from enjoying our lives in the present. The future it so unpredictable, let’s just ride the wave!

    Top Posts

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 10 other followers

    Flickr Photos

    Recent Comments

    benzin vertikutierer… on Road Trip!
    jazz on About Today
    Lonnie L. on Time in Bright Acrylics
    Darby on About Today
    About Today «… on Not Drowning But Waving

    August 2017
    M T W T F S S
    « Dec    
     123456
    78910111213
    14151617181920
    21222324252627
    28293031