Category Archives: adventures

Age is just a number

Today I went to a birthday party for an old neighbour – she turns 90 years old in a few days and her kids and grandchildren had a surprise party for her. It was a very lovely afternoon and I saw such a lovely combination of people there to celebrate this lovely lady’s big milestone of turning 90 years old.

It seems like such a big number – 90 years old. But when I saw this lady walking in, using a walker and then abandoning it to use her cane to go and visit her friends who had come to celebrate, I was amazed at how much vim and vigor she had in her steps and seemed excited to see all her friends and family come to share this special time.

In the back of my mind, I kept picturing myself at her age. Will I have that same lively step? Will I have that many friends to come out and celebrate with me? Will I even make it to 90? And yes, of course, that is a real possibility and I am aware of that. And that’s okay.

I will be turning 55 in 2020. I never think about my age, but as I approach the “senior” ages – which includes the bonus of senior discounts! – I am becoming more aware of my age. I have decided that there is so much to do still in my life that I am going to ignore the numbers, make sure I’m in good shape and make the most out of this life. And I have every intention of being somewhere exciting for my 55th!

Age really is just a number, and if you don’t dwell on it too much, you can do anything you want no matter your age. Traveling and working while I travel is on my mind. Sitting on a beach somewhere warm in the winter months, with a laptop with me, is definitely on my mind. I can work and travel. Lots of people do that and I am ready to do this!

Does age bother you? Or is it just a number? Have you accomplished what you wanted to for the age you are at?

Sunsets

I love travelling, and wherever I am, I always try to get at least one picture of the sunset. This is my favourite time of the day – and there is nothing more beautiful to me than a spectacular sunset that takes my breath away. Enjoy!

La Serena, Chile
Prague
Welland Ontario Canada
Lake District, Italy
Vienna, Austria
Atacama Desert, Chile
Changchun, China
San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
Arica, Chile
Seville, Spain

Travel memories

Back in January, I went on a holiday with Trafalgar Tours to Spain, Morocco and Portugal. I was looking at my pictures I took the other day and realized I had never blogged about my trip!

Madrid airport

My trip began in Madrid. What a beautiful city! I was told that Spain in January can be cool and rainy – well I lucked out. All but one day was sunny and beautiful! Madrid is a city full of history and amazing architecture. And the food! It was all so delicious – and I even tried olives and liked some!

Beautiful morning in Madrid

Segovia was one of the stops on the tour. Absolutely stunning. The scenery took my breath away.

The aqueducts of Segovia

We headed south towards the Mediterranean and ended in Costa del Sol – Torremolinos. The sea, the beaches – this was paradise. If only we could have stayed another night.

This view

From Costa del Sol, we got on to the ferry and headed into Morocco. Morocco touched an array of senses – the smells, the noisiness of the medinas, the sights to see. It was something special to see!

The Medina

Morocco was amazing to see, but I was missing Spain and was excited to be heading back, on to Seville. The flamenco dancers! The food! The wine! I loved Seville – of all the places we visited, Seville was my favourite. It reminded me, in ways, of Prague. I would love to go back to Seville!

From Seville, we headed to Lisbon. Portugal is another beautiful country – I have yet to see a country in Europe that is NOT beautiful!

Our trip ended up back in Madrid. I saw so many things, and tried many new foods, and met some amazing people. It was definitely a trip I will remember forever. Trafalgar Tours once again did a stupendous job. I cannot recommend this company enough.

Traveller or Tourist – which are you?

I have recently finished the book Vagabonding (excellent read – I recommend it to everyone!), and one of the chapters talked about classifying yourself as a traveller or a tourist.  It definitely got me thinking which one I am.

 

When I first moved to Europe, I was a tourist.  At least for the first six months.  I wanted to see all the popular tourist sites in Prague, I wanted to see Old Town Square, and the Castle, Charles Bridge and New Town.  I did the tourist thing.  I immersed myself in with the crowds, went to the Christmas markets, and wandered through the streets with all the tourists, eating sausage and drinking hot wine.  I loved it!  But I was definitely a “tourist”.

 

Since that time, I have become more of a traveller and not a tourist.  I have yet to become a vagabond (but it definitely sounds like something I want to be!).  I have enjoyed going to places that are not on the tourist scene – for example, when I went to Shenyang in China – it was my favourite city to see when I was in China, but definitely not at the top of the tourist scene for China.  It was a fascinating city with a lot of history, I got lost wandering through the streets, found a great little restaurant selling some of the best authentic Chinese food I had.  To me, that is being a traveller.  Finding places that are ventured to by the locals.  It was awesome.

 

Fast forward to Chile – yes I did some tourist stuff (Santiago – Cerro San Cristobal is the most famous place to see there) but I really made myself go to places that the locals went to.  That includes all the cities and towns I visited, save for San Pedro de Atacama and Vina del Mar.

 

I definitely see myself as a traveller and not a tourist.  I will be travelling to my country’s capital in May, and of course I will be seeing all the major sites in Ottawa, but I am ready to find some obscure places, some out-of-the-way places, and discover exciting things in Canada!

 

So what are you – a traveller or a tourist?

Walking the beat of my own drum

I walk to the beat of my own drum.  I have been doing this for a few years, but I will admit, there have been many times that I have followed the crowd.

 

Following the crowd during school seems to be something most of us do.  But who are we following anyway?  The popular kids?  The sports kids?  Have you ever thought about that?

 

Was there someone in your life that you wanted to be like?  That you wanted to be?  I know for me that there were a few people I wanted to be like. Especially in high school.  I wanted to be confident and outgoing, like so many of my friends were.  But I was shy and just hung back, trying to gain the courage to speak up.  Things changed in college and later on in my life, after my divorce.  But if there was anything that I could have changed, it would be to be more confident in myself.  To be stronger and self-assured.

 

Do I regret the way things worked out in my life?  No.  I believe that everything that has happened in my life has happened when it needed to and when the time was right.

 

Do I follow the beat of my own drum now?  Absolutely!!  Would I follow the crowd now?  Unless that crowd was heading to South Africa or Australia or somewhere really cool – then maybe in that case.  But no – I would not follow the crowd now.

 

Follow the crowd or walk to the beat of your own drum.  You choose.  What will you do?

Battling “travel-sickness”

Being homesick is natural – you go off travelling, or get married and move away, or just move away from your hometown.  You eventually miss certain things of your home, the comfort of having family nearby, the comforts of familiar places to go to, whether its a shopping mall or favourite restaurant.  You get homesick.  It is normal.  But travelsickness?  Is that even a thing??

 

I believe it is.  I have heard this from fellow travellers who have experienced this.  They are away from home for a year or more, come back home and adjust to being back home, and then experience “travelsickness”.  That feeling of being on the road seeing new things, or living in another country and missing walking to the Castle in the evening (yes – I am talking about me!).

 

I am excited and happy to be back in Canada.  I truly am.  But I would be lying to say that I don’t miss being in Europe, or travelling through Chile, or teaching the kids in China.  I must state here that while I miss the kids in China a lot, I do not miss being in the country of China!

 

I miss Prague.  Especially now that the Christmas season is almost here – walking through the Christmas markets, the hot wine, the sounds and smells of Wenceslas Square, the serenity of Prague Castle at night, the busyness of Karluv Most, and the amazing friends I met there.  I miss Prague.  A lot.  I look back at my pictures and reminisce of my time there, and feel nostalgic.  Prague was my home for almost two years.  Living so close to Prague Castle was like a dream come true.  One day, I will go back and visit.  To inhale the aroma of the city.  To envelop myself within the city.  To see old friends and enjoy a beer in Letna Park, people watching, chatting and enjoying my time there once again.

 

I miss Chile.   The walks on the beach.  The warmth of the sun.  The amazingness of the Atacama desert.  The feeling of peace that I felt while I was there.  The feeling of joy that I experienced.  I discovered a lot of myself in Chile, and I treasure the time I got to spend there.  I have become an even more positive person from that trip through Chile.

 

So yes, I am happy to be back in Canada, but I miss my adventures of the past three years.  My adventures aren’t over – I am starting a new chapter in my life, which I know will be a positive one for me. But for now, I am going to accept the fact that I have travelsickness.  And it’s okay.

Halloween

Happy Halloween from Canada!

 

Over the past three years, I have experienced Halloween in different countries.  It’s amazing how different it is, yet so many things are similar.  In Canada, the children get dressed up, anxiously waiting to see how much chocolate they get (and the moms wait to see how many peanut butter cups they get to take from their kid’s stash!  haha – at least that’s what this mom used to do!).  Some costumes are elaborate, some are home made, and some are store bought – but no matter what they wear – all kids in costumes are adorable!!!

 

In Prague, Halloween wasn’t that big of a celebration – perhaps because it is a big tourist city, there are some celebrations for the expats, but I don’t recall seeing the all out celebrations like in North America.

 

China surprised me, but perhaps it was also because I was teaching in a private school that wanted the international exposure given to the kids, but they had a huge celebration at Halloween, including a Halloween costume parade, the kids getting treats from the other classes, and a truly spectacular Halloween show put on in the auditorium!  It was a sight to see.  While the kids did not go door to door trick or treating, they did get a lot of candy at school and really enjoyed the party that they had.

 

Halloween will always be my favourite celebration during the year – I love seeing the little kids all dressed up.  Tonight I saw a skeleton, an Ella from Frozen and a ninja (there were more but not as many as there used to be).

 

I love Halloween!!

 

china halloween 1achina halloween 2a