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?!!

 

 

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.

 

Travel is more than seeing the sights

colour places to go

Often it seems easy to follow the crowds… I mean there’s a line-up outside “Anne Frank’s” house – so it must be good right?   Travelling is often a whole lot more than seeing the sights and following the crowds (which btw the Anne Frank house is wonderful and so is the Vatican and there are huge crowds for both!).

What we have learned from this extended travel is that we prefer to be “bubble off plumb” and have bought into the “slow movement” ideology for travel & food.

STAFF PHOTO BY CHRIS GRANGER Tuesday November 8, 2005 A slight tilt to the levee wall on the New Orleans side of the 17th Street Canal at the Jefferson Parish line.

Our idea of ‘bubble off plumb’ means not to be right in the centre of everything.  We are happily staying in our friend’s flat in the heart of Amsterdam – 3 blocks from Dam Square, 3 blocks from the Red Light District, right on a canal, restaurants, coffee shops and anything and everything you could ever need to consume.   It’s great for 3 day weekend but does not fit with what we have learned – being slightly off centre – outside of the plumb line – means we get to interact with locals, walk leisurely around a neighbourhood and not be in the thrust of human energy and crowds.

Slow Movement is a cultural shift to slowing down life’s pace.  We have experienced a two hour dinner, sipping wine, talking to the chef, waiter, locals as we wait for our meal to be prepared and cooked.  Shifting down several gears to walk slowly, not the harried pace of moving through crowds in the street, or trying to get to the front of a line.  Of course, choosing green space or water space for us, achieves the ‘slow down’.  First physically and then we find we shift mentally into the slower pace.

Locals, locals, locals – I cannot say enough about talking with them by putting yourself out there. Sharing our plans with them has given us better places to see, eat and stay.  You do not see the locals hanging out at the “crowded-tourist-must see sights”.

Here are some of those bits of places for us….

<a day early for the Olympic rowing practise>

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<Sunny day, Amsteelveen, locks and some great boats>

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<some slow food in Bollington, England>

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<up close and personal with my hair sniffing friend>IMG_1210

 

Speaking of up close and personal – this was just simply funny:

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<short bread and side of the road, middle of no-where, stop>

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IMG_2575<heron taking flight>

 

<talked with a volunteer whilst visiting Treasurers House in York, we get a behind the scenes tour of the attic space – had to wear these helmuts!>

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IMG_1330 <green day on the farm>

Rushing means we would be missing the moments that are ‘right there’.   I might not take on the philosophy “Sit down, dinner will be ready in a month” but you maybe seeing a few more “2 hours for your dinner at Chez Grant” moments. Sounds great doesn’t it?!!?

<P.S. – there’s always wine while you wait!>

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