Over the past few months, I've had the tremendous good fortune to travel to both the West and East coasts of my beautiful homeland, Canada. In May, I ventured to Vancouver to visit my good friend Ada, a city and a set of arms that welcomed me with a basket full of joy and beauty. Last month, I flew east to Nova Scotia to spend time with my favourite/only sister Leah and her partner Conor, a trip that included several days on gorgeous Brier Island in the Bay of Fundy. And in between those trips, I threw in a weekend in Vermont for good measure.
Travel is a huge part of who I am and what I want for my future, and my desire to travel informs a lot of the decisions I make in my life. It is part of the reason I live a fairly frugal existence. When considering whether or not I should purchase something, I quite often find myself asking, "Do I want this more than I want to travel to <insert anywhere in the world>?" and the answer is usually a clear No. I recently met with a new financial advisor, and when he asked me about my plans for retirement, I explained that my plan is to kick my kids out of the house, sell everything I own, and buy a one-way plane ticket out of here.
This goal, to travel the world, is also at the heart of my desire to live a healthy life. I want to get these arthritic bones up a few hills and down a few winding paths before my time comes. It plays a necessary part in my romantic life, too. Anyone interested in sticking with me for the long haul has to be prepared to either grab a backpack and come with me, or wait happily for me at home. (I'd send postcards. I'd sexy Skype, if old arthritic broads are your thing.)
But for now, I am back home and, having exhausted my travel fund for the time being, home is where I'll be for the next wee while, save for a few weekend getaways. And that's okay. My homebody nature is as strong as my wanderlust, and I don't think that I see the two as diametrically opposed as I once did. I have felt a great sense of home in places far from my own - in quaint coffee shops and quiet forest groves and company that feels just right. And I think that adventure can be found in my own backyard.
I think that's my next step, actually - figuring out the adventure of my life here, now. Figuring out what's next for my career. Pursuing my passions. Enjoying my life with my girls, who are growing up way too fast. Exploring the hometown I love and the quaint coffee shops and quiet forest groves and company closer to where I lay my head. Nurturing friendships, old and new. Maybe even finding romance, ideally with someone who owns either a backpack or Skype account.
I recently came across a quote by George A. Moore: "A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it." These few months and these few adventures have brought my needs into clear focus, as I've reconnected with myself and formed an even stronger bond with my children. Not all questions have been answered, by far, but I've come to a much better idea of what my priorities are, and I'm now ready for phase two of this new life that I've embarked upon. I'm sure phase two will include more uncertainty. I'm definitely in the question mark stage of the Underpants Gnomes Profit Plan (get ye to that YouTube link if you have no idea what I'm talking about). The underpants, though, have been collected.
As have a million and two photos along the way. These are but a small part of my collection from my trip to Nova Scotia (I promised you some of the whales). Enjoy! I sure did.