I'm writing this from my parent's house in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia. Twenty countries, four continents and countless memories later, our world adventure has come to an end.
One year ago, we left Canada from Nova Scotia and now we’re back, having travelled around the world.
L is back in Ottawa getting ready to return to work and LJ and I are here, taking it easy. We'll head home at the end of the month when we get our house back. I think we're both happy to have a bit of a slower pace, more of a routine and time to ease back into "normal" life. I'm getting some work done; LJ is finishing up some schoolwork, hanging out and going to soccer camp; and we're both fitting in some fun with Grandma and Grandpa.
We love Parque Juarez el Llano.
Every evening it bustles with activity. But's it’s not loud or overwhelming; there's an almost relaxing buzz in the air.
As the heat of the day subsides, families come out for a walk and to let the kids tire themselves out on the playground, the bouncy castle or at one of the other activites that are set up each night. Around them, young people practice dancing, couples cuddle and kiss, little girls take rollerblading classes, a drumming group perfects their timing and vendors sell all kinds of tasty treats.
After Vietnam we took our eight-year-old homeschooler on a “highly educational” trip to…
WTF! Talk about reverse culture shock! What were we thinking?!
After having been away from North America for nine months stepping back onto our own continent via the Vegas Strip was…bizarre!
Jarring! Ridiculous! Crazy!
There's a spot in Vietnam, just outside Hoi An, where a narrow street that's not open to cars turns into a dirt path. The little path opens up to a quiet stretch of a long beach. Its shores are lined with traditional basket boats still used for fishing and the water carries endless waves.
In the spring of 2017, after a week in Ho Chi Minh City and a 20-hour overnight train, LJ ran excitedly down that little road.
When she hit the ocean, it was like every ounce of tension in her little six-year old body was washed away and replaced with a sense of freedom, excitement and ease. She sat in the sand with her legs in the water and took it all in, seemingly completely in her element.
4/24/2019 0 Comments
There is much to love about the city of Luang Prabang in Laos.
It sits at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so it’s definitely picturesque. It also retains considerable French influence, has great food and every morning Buddhist monks walk the streets for the daily alms giving ceremony (tak bat).
After Thailand, we spent five days in this small city in north central Laos. I really liked the area and could have maybe stayed longer; however, it ended up being a good thing that we only planned for five nights.
Thailand was different for us.
We've been trying not to move around too much within a country, opting instead to pick one or two spots and stay put so that we can have downtime, save money and really get to know the place.
But for Southeast Asia we were keen to travel over land as much as possible so we started in Johor Bahru in southern Malaysia and headed north all the way through Thailand and then east into Laos. We did settle for five weeks in Malaysia, but were more ambitious for its northern neighbour. We moved eight times in 30 days while in Thailand and were busy most days.
It was quite the adventure!
We have just a few more days left in Malaysia.
It's clear that three things have come to define our time here.
But before I get to that, let me catch you up a bit...
For the last four weeks we've been living in a small apartment in the home of a Chinese family on Penang Island. Our neighbourhood is great – close to the beach, grocery store and lots of street food; and allowing for easy bus access to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Georgetown and the beach town of Batu Ferringhi.
The families start arriving around 4:30 p.m.
School is out for the day, the sun’s strong rays have let go a bit and soon the show will start.
We’re here, having just picked up LJ from her friend’s house. She’s high on the sunshine, fresh air and friendship that have blanketed her since early this morning.
It was a great day.
She finally managed to climb a coconut tree and learned she’d play the lead in the upcoming school play.
It means “slowly” in Swahili.
During our three weeks in Tanzania we were often encouraged to go polepole and things often happened polepole.
It can sometimes be frustrating.
But also quite freeing.
Right now, we’re on a train heading across Bulgaria from Varna to Sofia. L and LJ are napping and I’m here.
Writing, reflecting and enjoying the sunshine and views of the mountains.
We’ve been travelling for almost three months. We’ve been to nine countries and had countless adventures. We’ve tried and learned many new things, faced many new challenges and made many new memories.
So far, we don’t hate each other, we’re still healthy and we haven’t lost any luggage...So I’d say we’re doing okay.
Romania brought us some of this trip’s great highs, both literally and figuratively, as well as a bit of a low.
We spent five days in Bucharest and two days on a road trip through Transylvania.
Romania is a fascinating place – a country with an incredible recent history. In the last century, war, earthquakes, communism, revolution and the European Union have made it a place of strength and struggle, beauty and bleakness, growth and grit, contradiction and contrast.
First off, know this…Romania is a very interesting and safe place to visit.
Portugal was a pleasant surprise.
We hadn't planned to go there. We were supposed to spend a week doing a Workaway in a small French village in the Pyrenees Mountains, but it got canceled so we needed somewhere else to go. Flights were cheap to Portugal, we'd never been there, and we were all craving a little beach time...
So after Paris, off we went to Porto!
Unplanned adventures are often the best adventures!
We’re literally flying out of our comfort zone today.
We’re leaving the familiarity of western Europe, about to board a flight to Romania. L and I are excited but a bit nervous. We know that from here forward things will be become a little more challenging with every step. We have just three weeks left in Europe before we change continents.
I think we’re ready though. We’ve learned a lot over the last 10 weeks…mostly how to figure things out.
It's time for something new.
I mostly talk to two people these days.
One of them is just eight years old and the other is someone I’ve already been talking to for 15 years.
Although I still love talking to them both; I was looking forward to our next stop because it meant having new people to talk to!
After five weeks in Brussels, it was time to move on. We were all quite excited to go back through the Chunnel to see one of my oldest friends and her family in Portsmouth – a port city in Hampshire, England.
There's spot along Colonel By Drive in Ottawa. I can see the Rideau Canal, the Chateau Laurier and the Convention Centre, with the Parliament Buildings looming in the background.
Comfort, relief, relaxation.
When I’ve been away from Ottawa for a bit and drive back into the city and hit that spot, that’s what I feel and it intensifies when we turn off Rideau Street into our neighbourhood.
It’s the feeling of being home.
Not just home to our house, but to our community and our regular life.