What Will We do Next?

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One year ago I was sitting in my kitchen with a notebook and dreaming up places to go for a two month summer vacation with the 3-Grants.  The tickets had been booked and it was just imagination from there on in.  We have completed that travel and now

I’M BACK – coffee in hand and a one way ticket for each of the 3 Grants booked for 2016.

One way?   That is because that’s what the points achieved thus far.  PLUS our “sugar & spice” is working on her UCAS applications for UK University and we shall see where and when she gets accepted to Physiotherapy school.

At the moment, I’m following several travel bloggers for inspiration and advice.  The first one is SeniorNomads. A couple from Seattle who sold everything to  fund their travel retirement years. They are mostly staying in Airbnb places.  This couple have now officially been travelling on the road for over 500 days!

I also love the Canadian couple in HeckticTravels who did much the same and fund their travel with an amazing travel blog AND they house sit.

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Well… with such inspiration and insight, I know we are not ‘selling’ and giving up Vancouver. We (the better half of me) have discussed our life and friends and family and the amazing deliciousness of this city in late Spring, Summer and early fall.  Done and dusted – the house stays and we work a plan on how the place gets ‘lived-in’ during our absence.

We know we want to travel for at minimum 6 months this next time (possibly 9 months).  We are due to commence the one-way ticket on the 19th of August next year.

We know we can live cheaper than we do now in this very expensive city.  (Side-bar I watched a woman yesterday at Costco with only food products in her cart, spend $335.  When I asked her how long the food will last – she said 8 days!)

We know we want to spend time with Thing One and his family in Poland and also Thing Two in UK (optimists that we are) – thus our ‘base’ will be Poland and moving in and around the nuclei of our two children’s lives.

We know that our purpose for travelling will be:

  • walking and hiking
  • slow travel
  • being active and fit
  • meeting new friends
  • learning to cook with locals – new food
  • motorbike riding
  • learning
  • photography

We (aka me) have an ‘idea of’ where we want to go and what we’d like to see and what months are good for various cultural, festival and weather in European countries.

We have a purpose and no clear plan.  THAT means our possibilities are endless…

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WHY am I smiling at that thought?!!

 

 

Which Way

 

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The one thing that we have experienced since being home is the question of who we are and what we’ve done, how our life looks and choices we have made to ‘get there’ by our choices.

One of our biggest changes we made was our decisions on ‘stuff’.  It is entirely a choice by so many people, to keep stuff.  Let’s face it, reality TV shows depict the crippling effects of hoarding of stuff. For us, I personally feel we’d be in the “no way” can we travel had we needed to keep ‘stuff’.

We have had the pleasure of experiencing our 2 months of travel because we chose ‘the other way’.

I have never been a ‘shit shuffler’ (Thank you to my sister for allowing me to watch her neighbour do this with his cars.)  Nor can I do “frisbee clutter”. Which means, do not offer to toss me your stuff, like a frisbee, that you no longer want as it will not ‘add’ value to my life.

I’m totally 100% understanding that some people like to add stuff to their life, which would be in stark contrast to my need to simply put in the alley and give away free.  I also appreciate that some people ‘need’ frisbee clutter and to be given stuff, as they have lost theirs, which is why garage sales, boot sales and church sales work so well!  And I am personally grateful to local thrift shops that ‘recycle’ my frisbee clutter.

We were recently told that if we need to and want to ‘do something’, all we have to do is “sell something”.   The irony in that suggestion is we have been doing exactly that, all along, to get to the “other way”… a place Dave and I have been good at creating a path to.

So…. STUFF…  it seems to be what is the factor in discussions of late.  In particular – to keep stuff, give away stuff or to sell stuff.  We make that decision based upon:

  • THIS WAY
  • THAT WAY
  • THE OTHER WAY
  • NO WAY

AND because of “OUR WAY”.

We are accepting of how people get to their “this way/that way/ the other way / no way”.  For us,  we take the path that is non-traditional and “our way” seems to work!   We have a week of give-away or sell-away as we are now beach house-less on a path to…..

ourway

 

 

“When it doesn’t feel right, go left”

 

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There is something about putting one foot in front of the other and simply walking, moving forward or sometimes as I did today, shuffling sideways in shorts through wheat fields.

You think about the breakfast you had and that it finally wasn’t yet another round of English breakfast with sausages, bacon, grilled tomatoes and toast.   You think about the wheat production and the mini wheats that you use to eat as a kid, as you are walking through one wheat field after another.  You contemplate the ways to walk around cow shit.  You think of the paths you are walking and how many others have walked them before you.

Conversation with us on this ‘walking holiday’ usually commences with what we each read during our coffee and breakfast time, our faces pressed into newspapers, Globe and Mail on line, twitter and Facebook.  Often the stories involve Europe, the IMF, USA politics (Donald Trump is amusing us), local weather news and our Canadian dollar in the toilet.  We read all of the events we have been out of touch with:  Droughts, forest fires, the fall of the Chinese stock market, oldest giant panda turning 37 years old and a multitude of other events that have ‘happened’ that we missed the day before.

Somehow we manage to get all of the ‘reality’ aspects from our morning reading out of the way of discussion within the first 20 minutes walking.  Then begins the pure joy of simply walking.

Today we were filled with one path after another.  We walked over 7 miles (11.5 km).  Our bodies loved it, our minds appreciated it and we know that tomorrow is our last day of the walking holiday.  We are choosing the path of left when we are unable to go right.  And as Albert Einstein said, “When it does feel right, go left.  The one who follows the crowd will go no further than the crowd. The one who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been before.”

The many paths we walked:

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“He who puts out his hand to stop the wheel of history will have his fingers crushed.” – Lech Walesa

As a 3rd generation Canadian – how do I relate to history that is hundreds of years older than my nationality?

Being here in Poland and merely walking through the forest, we come across bunkers that are remnants of WW2.  We walk through a small village and there is a church that is older than Canada as a nation.  We see relics of barns that were built in the 1700’s by serfs.   Our sailing trip made us marvel at the engineering feats of Prussians that created the canals to connect the lakes in Mazury.

What I marvel about is the resilience of the Polish.  They stand fast with culture and language.

From 1795 until 1918 no truly independent Polish state existed, although strong Polish resistance movements operated.

The Second Polish Republic, established in 1918, existed as an independent state until 1939, when Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union destroyed it in their invasion of Poland at the beginning of World War II.

Here are images from our travels in Mazury…

Wolf's Lair Bunker

Wolf’s Lair Bunker

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A feat of engineering to last: Roads & Bunkers – they don’t make them like they use to anymore?!

German road Memerick

German road Mamerki

Memerick bunker WW2

Mamerki bunker WW2

inside WW2 bunker

inside WW2 bunker

Ostrodzie

Ostrodzie

And as for the debate if Vodka was Polish or Russian invention – I am going to have to go with the Polish. The word “vodka” was recorded for the first time in 1405 in Akta Grodzkie, the court documents from the Palatinate of Sandomierz in Poland. Of course this accounts for an afternoon in the sunshine for this man.

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