Grant Adventure Random moments

While travelling there will always be randomness. Just simple moments that you capture because you were there and voila that randomness becomes a conscious moment.

So here are a few that each have a story as part of this Grant Adventure

img_2667This is the ultimate in a butt Floss bathing Suit – I suppose when nude beaches are not permitted and you want the ‘maximum’ amount of sunshine in Cascais, Portugal, one resorts to this bathing suit style!


How to ‘Co-Host’ a dinner party with a Random Stranger, who then becomes a friend –  Thomas Obrador

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Thomas, was our Host that we signed up with on Eat With. Here’s his link: https://www.eatwith.com/profile/6467/

For anyone who’s done it – you already know what I am talking about.  For those you have not – it’s a wonderful way to meet people and eat in a local’s home.  (confession – although I was a paid guest at Thomas’ dinner party, my skills at conversation allowed him to cook in the kitchen and wonder what he was missing at the table – aka my co-hosting skills) . Here are moments of our dinner with a group of people we had just met at 8 pm one night in Paris!

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The huge moment when you realise that your little girl is growing up to be a beautiful young woman

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When someone else’s moment becomes your moment – we shared a 90th Birthday in Somerton, England.

We were thrust into heading back to England an extra long weekend and thus we planned a dinner out.  We were staying in a wonderful Inn and met a very eccentric man, Andy. Turns out he was in Somerton to celebrate his Mother’s 90th birthday.  Low and behold the restaurant people at The White Hart put us at the only small table for two, in the same dining area as his Mother, Barbara Olley.  We sang “Happy Birthday” and watched her blow out her candles.  Barbara and her son Andy became our moment, during their moment.

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Happy Birthday Barbara Olley!

Happy Birthday Barbara Olley!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

” Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.” – Regina Brett


 

 

 

Lisbon – October 5th – who knew what this was about?  We left to wander about Lisbon to do what we do best “when doing nothing becomes doing something”.  Around a corner we go and voila – a marching band:

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Turns out it was Dia da Republica – the day when Portugal celebrates the founding of their Republic in 1910.


Cabo da Roca wasn’t on ‘the list’ of places to go but go we did anyway, in style, Dave on the back of an old motorbike and me in the sidecar.

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Cabo da Roca (Western most point Europe)

Cabo da Roca (Western most point Europe)

 


 El Rinćon de Jaén, in Madrid has yummy yummy food with a wonderful staff serving people.  After graciously taking a picture of Dave and myself with Federico, Daniel & Anna Cavestany – it was their turn to ham it up for me.  I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful this place is to eat and the bonus – people working together who like each other!

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http://www.elrincondejaen.es


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This was THE only Thing (One) I liked about a road random stop at Burger King in Poland!

Cliches that I’m working with

Yes I’m doing it – using a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought. Why you ask?  Because I am trying to explain why this 10 month adventure is happening – a choice.

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It’s the Journey, not the destination

Yah, Yah, Yah.  But really IT IS!  If it was a destination that we wanted, we would choose to go only to Torun, Poland and take up ‘grand parenting’.  Or continue to keep the apron strings around Thing Two and find a house to rent in Stoke-on-Trent and think of new ways to cook chicken.   Instead, we are opting for journeys.  Travelling in and around Thing One and Thing Two. On trains, planes and automobiles.  Sitting in airports listening to the Podcast “My Dad wrote a Porno” (sidebar: for those of you who haven’t listened to this – ask Mr. Google – it will have you laughing out loud!) .

Possessions Own you

All you have to do is go through each and every cupboard, drawer, closet and hidey-hole in your home and discover the validity of this statement.  Living can be a somewhat messy and disorganized affair.  I recognize that I have the perfect pair of red shoes, green shoes and boots for every occasion.  BUT I cannot take these with me.  Practicality and functionality mean they work only with certain dresses in my closet.  Although they still ‘own me’ in a sense, they are being locked in a closet for almost a year, whilst only the essentials for our journey are being packed.  It’s quite the eye-opening experience to evaluate all the things you have stuffed and put somewhere being examined for their value.  We are choosing ‘less is more’.

Have the Life you Want to Live Today

This is a huge one.  I cannot imagine not doing this trip.  I know that I have written in a previous blog about the hugs and the people we will miss (and hopefully miss us).  The life we want to live today happens to be leaving with two suitcases each and one guitar (Thing One’s being deposited in Poland).  Experiencing the craziness of living in other people’s homes and using their possessions such as a stove to cook with.  Experiencing our Grandson – this is a BIG experience neither Dave or myself want to miss.  FaceTime, as a good as it is, isn’t cutting it anymore – I want to smell his milky smell;  be someone who tickles him to make him laugh.  The one thing I have discovered is that humans around the world are mostly the same, in the sense that, we have an inner desire for work, family, love and laughing.  For us, we are doing this to have the life we want to live today.

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Moving you say? Travelling we say!

Moving is not travelling…. but travelling is a form of moving.

WE ARE TRAVELLING!!!

Yes that’s right… to travel, as in we want to go from one place to another. We want to add “travels” to our life;  a series of journeys, destinations, places and people to see.  In order to travel, we will leave home for awhile.  There will be planes, trains and automobiles involved. Travelling is a form of moving.

BUT WE ARE NOT MOVING!

We are not changing one permanent place of residence for another one. We are not changing location of our possessions.  We are not giving up our home or the cars in the garage.  Moving means you still have commitments like work or school in your new location, so again we are not moving!

You will not see any of this:

 a motor vehicle in motion changing location of our possessions

moving carmoving boxes

 boxes of our stuff moved to a new place of residence

We will definitely ‘travel’, as in a long distance journey, to Poland this year. We will be putting our clothes into a suitcase and taking those possessions on a temporary trip to see the newest Grant.  It will involve “movement” – not only our physical bodies from one place to another but the stirring of strong feelings and emotions.

We are Canadians and whilst Bernerd (my pillow) may leave home with us, along with our Canadian passports, our resident taxes will be filed in Canada.  No other residence for us.

AND yes… we will have the pleasure of being able to settle into an apartment to use as a base for our personal travelling sabbatical.  We will still get to enjoy doing laundry and dishes AND cooking for family and new friends during our journeys.  We will sample a platter of places and we will move between the nuclei of our children (& grandchild) as they are settled into where they live.  We will TRAVEL…

After all, we have our perfect travel buddy!

if you dont have one

Rights, Right?

I BELIEVE IN EXERCISING MY RIGHT TO VOTE!!!

 

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We are 1 week away from the Federal Election in Canada.  Once upon a time as a woman, I would not be allowed to vote.   Canada also did not allow Aboriginals, Doukhobours, Hindus, Chinese, Japanese or Prisoners to vote.

Fast forward to 2015 and I am privileged to have been born a Canadian and live in a Democracy where, under Section 3 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, I am guaranteed the democratic right to vote!

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Sure, I can be like many other Canadians who believe there are times that our political system is NOT for the people but that we are secondary to the economy. I do bitch and complain based upon how our Premier is running things.  I may feel that we do not have a really good candidate that I really WANT to vote for.  Yet, I still stand up and exercise the right that many people before me fought to attain – the right to vote.

In addition, my freedoms ensure I will never have to question my personal right to:

  • Open a bank account
  • Own Property
  • Have a job of my choice
  • Have custody of my child(ren)
  • Inherit property
  • Sue in court
  • Divorce
  • Buy wine or beer in a pub
  • Gamble

OR to even BE a Politician!!!

I thank all those who fought for the right I have today and I encourage everyone to VOTE – express an opinion – regardless of why / how / what that looks like.  It’s your democratic privilege!

Thank you to Radio Freethinker / Artizans.com for this:

Moudakis Cartoon

The “Assumption of Retirement”

No matter how much I look at this picture I only see the young woman… yet I know there is an ‘older’ women in the picture. It’s all about perception I suppose.  

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We have often heard ‘retired’ as to our personal lifestyle and how we live every day… So here’s a story for you….

Assumption, A Dog & A Rabbit

A few years back, my husband and I were out to dinner with another couple, friends of ours. My husband’s friend was the head of animal control for a very large county and always had some interesting stories to tell. This night the couple happened to be a bit late. When they arrived they were both laughing and said “Boy, do we have a story for you”.

Our friend had employees who were friends with a couple who owned a dog. The couple’s dog liked to jump the fence of the neighbor next door and try to play with the neighbor’s big white pet rabbit who was often in the neighbor’s backyard. The dog never hurt the rabbit. He just wanted to play. The couple’s dog would race around and just wag his tail at the rabbit. Even still, this was obviously a problem for both couples, but somehow they were able to coexist. The two couples and neighbours never got to know each except for the occasional fence jumping and separating of the two pets. This went on for a few years.

The couple with the dog had come home late one night and let the dog out to play in the back yard. They were tired and paid little attention to their dog’s activities. They heard the dog frantically barking and growling and went to see what was going on. In their dog’s mouth was the white rabbit. The rabbit wasn’t moving; he was really dirty and a bit rough for wear and tear. They were horrified and panicked. OH MY GOODNESS, our dog has killed our neighbour’s pet rabbit.

The couple removed the rabbit from their dog’s mouth, put it in a box and stared it. Their dog just whimpered and was acting very strangely. The couple asked; “What should we do?” They talked for a long time wringing their hands, feeling terrible about the rabbit. The big question was what WERE they going to tell their neighbors.

In the meantime, they had noticed that their neighbours weren’t home, and it appeared that they hadn’t been when their dog had jumped the fence. The couple came up with an idea. They talked about it for a minute, deciding what they would do.

The couple washed the rabbit, blew-dried his fur, combed and fluffed him up to make him look like he was still alive. It was a masterpiece. Leaving their dog in the house, they snuck over to the absent neighbors backyard and carefully place the cleaned up, fluffed up rabbit in a place he would usually play. Then they snuck back to their house and waited…, and they wait… for what must have seemed like a terribly long time. Then they heard the other neighbors arrive…, and they listened. Nothing happened. So they went about the evening but kept an ear open for any noise just in case they heard something.

Then it happened. The woman neighbor started screaming. She was obviously very distraught… DUH. The couple stared at each other and decided they needed to go ASK “Whatever was wrong.” Leaving their nervous and agitated dog in the house, they went out to their adjoining fence, peered over they saw their neighbors staring at the fluffed up dead rabbit. Their neighbors were frozen in place not moving towards their pet. They were just staring at it. Then the couple asked in the most casual voice they could muster; “What’s wrong?.” The woman neighbor stared at them for a bit and said. “He came.” The couple with the dog looked at each other, and then the dead rabbit and asked; “What do you mean?.” The neighbors explained; “What we meant was our rabbit passed away yesterday and we buried him near his favorite spot. When we came home, there he was…. ,” pointing to the fluffy dead rabbit. All the couple with the dog could say was “Oh.” The neighbor’s husband then moved towards their deceased fluffy dead rabbit. He realized the rabbit was still dead. He looked upset AND very confused.

That was when the couple with the dog noticed the hole in their neighbor’s garden. The couple stared at each other then gave their neighbors their condolences in the most sincerest fashion possible. They turned and went back to their house, closed the door, stared at each other again and then busted out laughing.

We later learned the couple had surmised that their dog had jumped the fence found the grave of his rabbit friend and dug him up. The dog was upset that the rabbit wasn’t moving and brought him to them for help, which explained his strange behavior. The couple never did tell their neighbors what they had done, how could they. They just keep it their private secret. The rabbit was reburied in a different place. A new fence was put in place of the old one; a higher fence this time so that the dog couldn’t find himself over in their neighbors yard.

 

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

 

 

Will This Matter in a Year from Now? 5 Years from Now?

eye map    Day 4 at Chez Grant….

Our bed is decadent and I’m still in love with the city of Vancouver.  My stove has had a bit of a work out and we’ve already seen and fed family, caught up with a couple of friends and had neighbours stop by to welcome us back.

We are being asked “Are you Happy to be at Home?”  And the honest answer is “yes and no”.  We have family here and we also have family in Poland.  We had an amazing trip and there were things that went totally pear-shaped and things that were spectacular.  Whilst I’m not ‘quite’ planning another trip, I’m sure the day in the future for that event will not be too far off.

For those who haven’t followed the one post I made, we 3 Grants travelled to the following places:

  • Vancouver – Torun – Inowroclaw – Gizycko – Sztynort – Mikolajki – Warsaw – Oxford – Stratford upon Avon – Chipping Camden – Moreton on Marsh – Bourton on the Water – Winchcombe – York – Leeds – Macclesfield – Amsterdam – Split – Omis – Cavtat – London – Vancouver.

Travelling to foreign countries is not meant to make you feel at home. The country is designed to make it’s own people feel comfortable.  You can merely hope to not stand out in big white American running shoes (aka trainers) which scream “I’m American” and we all know my feelings on being mistaken for anything other than Canadian!

We are not meant to go to Starbucks for coffee in Split.  Instead we should sit at a local café and to order a cappucinno.  When it arrives, look at it longingly, smell it’s glorious smell, take the first sip and think “WTF is this?” <best answer – you are not in Italy honey you are in Croatia – comes to mind!!)

Buon giorno. Cappuccino?

Buon giorno. Cappuccino?

 

Yesterday morning, I was told how ‘great and relaxed’ I looked!?!  confused-old-woman  Which is a by-product of swimming in Croatia, walking in England, Sailing in Poland and truly waking up with a new agenda every day.   Sometimes the days were simply sitting and reading and wondering how Donald Trump is making out as a candidate in the US Elections.  (Yes, I am following our Canadian ones also but they are truly not as entertaining as we are missing a guy like Donald to ‘shake things up’ a bit North of the border.)

We are back in the Universe of Home.  It is lovely and we a front yard full of leaves which is means we are moving into fall.  Pumpkins, school, pencil shavings left from home work (opps not anymore she uses a laptop and hits back space!).  AND thinking of new adventures both at home and away.

The 60 days and 60 nights of our trip have given me a ‘calmer’ inner-self.  When we were away the affirmations of finding ourselves in a challenging situation and working through whatever happened – you are given a life lesson on either a) going with the flow or b) yelling at the flow.  I did a bit of both but mostly the going with won out.

The two month travelling  “Will it matter in 5 Years?” and go with the answer.  If we missed a plane or train – certainly the resulting answer was “no”.  If we missed celebrating a birthday with Lara and our Polish family – the resounding “yes” won out!

The world at home was almost just as we left it and we can jump right back into it. On reflection, I think we should keep the good bits we really love.   It’s going to be a bit of work but we garnered the ability to see what will matter in 5 years from now!

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Give a Girl the Right Shoes and She Can Conquer the World

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Lara, Larry, Laroushka….

Growing up is by no means a bad thing. It allows us to make a difference in the world, to find out who we are, and to live the life we imagined as a child.  

Perhaps you dreamed of growing up when we you were laying your head on the pillow and looked up with wonder at the glow-in-the-dark stars stuck to the ceiling.  Did you wonder about the world beyond the one we so meticulously created for you?

As parents we watched you create the scars from running, falling and getting back up again – scars of honour of your persistence.  As our little artist you wanted to pursue what you wanted with out direction or the confines of what the teacher thought you should create – your confidence in your choice.

Now you are looking for Universities… planning your next steps in the world of a young adult…

Just remember that there is “no one perfect pair of shoes”!  A girl can never have enough shoes to choose from as she marches to the beat of her own drum.  <insert love here>

Two girls, one tying up shoelace

Shop assistant putting shoes on clients foot.

40 days and 40 nights

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We are now a full 40 days into our trip. This was an exercise in extended travel for our family of 3 Grants. How have we done?

– We watch a whole lot of NO TV. That has been great.  It did help that we were in Poland for the first 21 days.  Having said that, we watched a rather interesting reality show about Polish farmers searching for a wife.

– We still have had access to Internet in the mornings and evenings but do not ‘live’ with technology always available as we do when at home.  So we have been more active outside and had we not been in England for the last 19 days, we would have a great tans!

– We have learned to bathe in coin operated showers; correctional facility-type showers; showers with no flow when a toilet gets flushed; showers that spray water all over the floor; showers that are smaller than a phone booth and….. in TUBS – oh glorious tubs of hot water that make you stop and actually SOAK!

– Walking, which by now you have read about how much we have walked.  What happens to your body and mind when you walk is you actually connect with nature and are forced to simply slow down.

– Shoes.  Apart from travelling with 2 pairs each (and flip flops), we are programmed now to check the bottoms of our shoes because we have stepped in sheep shit, cow shit and horse shit.  Gives a new meaning to ‘shit happens’.

–  All that walking has lead to PUBS!!!  How do you walk through England and not find a pub? The beauty is the beer and cider are cold and even some amazing bottles of wine.  The food tasted better as we often sat outside.  We had locals talking to us and we were often educating them on the size of Canada.  I have to go back to one of my first blogs and when we are asked ‘where in America we are from’ and our Canada answer is given.  Everyone does view Canada differently than USA – so wear that Canadian flag proudly!!

– Packing, unpacking and re-packing.  Ode to the invention of Ziplock packing bags.  In our choice to travel with one suitcase for a full 60 days, the only way this has been possible has been to suck every last bit of square inch and millimetre out of the bag of clothes by stuffing them into these miracle bags, sucking any air around them and reducing them to the size of a piece of  toast.

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– Time management is a good thing when planes, trains and automobiles are involved.  I have really wanted to sleep in a few times in some of the glorious beds that we have slept in.  Time to go means the iPhone clock is set early and off we go.

– We appreciate the ‘don’t stress the little things’.  There has been many instances where we watched others around us totally bugged out over something that was beyond their control.

– Pillows, pillows, pillows… everyone who knows me will see the green pillow – travelling with me and on a bed:

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(this bed was wonderful and did not need my travel pillow)

 

 

Not every place understands the importance of how a person appreciates a PILLOW!

 

It’s been a fun and crazy trip thus far… 20 more days and nights to go and 3 Grants become 5 Grants again!!!

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