On Loss and Life

Sunrise in Ko Samui, Thailalnd

Sunrise in Ko Samui, Thailalnd

It has taken me quite some time to compose this particular post.  I come back to it time and again, thinking I will know exactly what to say. To have my thoughts and feelings worded succinctly. Now I am not certain I can do that – I fear it will come out as some random blather. Yet, I want to get it out there, to vocalize the thoughts running through my head. So here goes…

Life goes on as it does and will always continue to. But sometimes your world gets whipped really hard – it knocks the wind out of you and in some cases you even fall over from the blow. Death is never easy. It is even harder when it comes along so unexpectedly. Like so many,  I have lost people I knew and cared about. People who were my friends, people I knew most of my life, my friend’s family (which in some cases their family is an extension of your own), co-workers and people I knew a lifetime ago that meant something to me at one point. Some of it was after leading a long and loving life. Other times illness or accidents stole them away. In one case they made choice to leave themselves. In the past ten months, three people I knew died, most recently a month ago.

So what is this post about then? I am not entirely certain – some disjointed thoughts that somehow end up making sense. I know that death sucks. That it is not easy. Yet I know I am reminded to be grateful. So grateful for the wonders in my life. To remember and to cherish. That kindness matters. Tell yourself and those in your life what they mean to you, that they are important.  And most importantly to LIVE. Live out loud, go after what you want and BE YOUR DREAM!

Photo credit: Wikimedia CommonsLisa Tancsics

Gray Days

So dreary

I do not know if it the shortened days with less sunlight, SAD, hormones or that I am just ready to leave but things just seem so gray and dull. There is no sunshine. I need daylight. All I want to do is leave. Go. Go somewhere where it is not the same old same old. I get up for work and it is the same routine. Now do no get me wrong. I like my work – I just do not like going to work. I am happier on my days off. I am even tired of seeing people. Now that is a big one because I enjoy being around people. It seems to be the same thing over and over and over. Same activities, same conversations, same city. I want change. I want to go. Then there seems to be the influx of farewell parties. Stupid Couchsurfing – people show up, become your friend and then they leave. I want a farewell party. I want to be the one to leave. God I can’t wait to leave. 

These words to Vince Vaccaro’s song (as I posted the video here) “Costa Rica” spin endlessly in my head:

“I wanna leave this place yeah never to be found,
I wanna leave my old life far behind
Can I lose my name be someone new
And I’ll throw my trouble deep in the wild blue”

On Aging

Today is one month until my birthday. Yeah I know, I am a bit overzealous but I love my birthday. And when I say I love my birthday, I mean I LOVE my birthday. Planning events, hearing well wishes, fun festivities and the occasional gift is enough to make a girl giddy. And the attention. I relish the attention. The one day of the year I can claim as my own (despite the fact that I share that day with several people I know, including my oldest friend and her twin brother). According to my mom, even as a kid I looked forward to my day.  Yes, I LOVE MY BIRTHDAY. 

Many of you are the opposite – you dread your birthday and the idea of becoming yet another year older. That very idea boggles my mind. I do not understand it. A few times in my history I have dreaded a milestone birthday. Soon, however I realized it was for naught. For starters it does not change a thing. You can not get younger so why stress over it. Go have fun and celebrate yourself! I do so unabashedly – actually I tame it in sometimes because if I really showed how excited I was those around me would think I was nuts. Secondly, somewhere we started believing that all the great stuff happens when we are young. HA! Sure you have some great stuff happen when young but not everything. Many of the goals and desires we crave take time to come to fruition. Others, the joy is in the journey. Career advancement, paying off your mortgage, building your marriage, seeing children, grandchildren grow are things many desire and they are the journey. Why lament your youth when many wonders are in your future?  You could not pay me enough money to go back to my early – mid 20s, let alone my teen years. It was not until my late 20s that I started to come into my own. Before that things were a mess for me. No going back. Finally, the older you grow the more you learn, the more you experience. An interesting thing happens as you age – you begin to see. You learn what really matters. No, things do not become easy and without concern but you know yourself more and can see what is truly important. I can not really explain it but your mindset changes. It understand perhaps. I personally am intrigued as to what my future holds. I do know that big RTW trip is around the corner. After that? Who knows but just imagine the experiences I will have when I am old and gray, to have seen much and done so much more. A future worth looking forward to. 

On a side note, I do wish for my former young size 6 physique I once had…but that is it.

Reposting of "The Fabric Of My Soul"

Back in 2010 I posted an entry called “The Fabric Of My Soul” about why travel, in my opinion, is more significant than many things, particularly material items. I recently remembered this entry after a conversation about experiences; how they shape us and aid in molding us into the person we are or are to become. In my opinion, travel is one of those many experiences. I   have decided to re-post that entry (cut and paste) today as a reminder to value and look forward to what lies ahead. Good or bad, what happens becomes part of us.



The fabric of my soul

I love to travel. Anyone who knows me, knows this to be true. If I am in a position where I am unable to travel, I travel around my city. Plain and simple. I am also working on making my lifelong dream of taking an RTW (round-the-world) trip. That is one reason that I am not currently travelling as I am saving my pennies to do this trip. So it with this in mind that I pose this question: Is travelling tangible? I ask this because of a conversation I had with my friend A. Now A doesn’t care to travel. She’s quite happy to go about her day without thinking of what far reaches of the world would be cool to explore or find adventure in. Nor is she akin to flying great distances to relax on a white sand beach to listen to mariachi music while sipping on rum punch. If she wants to go to the beach a visit to the local ones here in Vancouver will suffice. Perhaps because we share these differing ideas regarding travel that she often asks me “Why do you want to go around the world?” Now I could give a list a mile long of reasons why but the simplest answer would be that I love the world and want to see all that it.

Regardless of how many times I am asked this question from A, she will inevitably ask it again. However, it was after one particular conversation that started with her infamous question that got me thinking. We had decided to go to a cultural festival inSurrey, just across the river from Vancouver, called “Surrey Fusion Festival”. A veritable feast of all things foreign, especially food, with over 25 countries and regions represented, live music and environmentally friendly businesses spread out over Surrey’s Holland Park. It was A, myself and our new friend Cynthia, whom we had met early that day. Cynthia was visiting the Vancouver area from Jakarta, Indonesia and agreed to join us as we went globe-trotting, at least figuratively. I also was able to glean some information about Indonesia from Cynthia as it’s islands are on my RTW itinerary (Java, Flores, Sulawesi to name a few). So after stuffing our faces with tasty ethnic delights, watching a First Nations Pow-Wow, and listening to Indian bangra music, Cynthia parted ways with us to go meet some friends. A and I took a break from the hot summer sun in a shaded area and lounged on the grass. In an attempt to impress A with the joys of travel I told her she now had a friend in Indonesia that she could go visit.

     “Yeah, I suppose.” She replied. “I’m sure you’ll be taking her up on her offer to visit.”
     “Absolutely! Indonesia is on my list,” I said with a smile as I picked at a blade of grass. “Even better when a local can show me around. So you have no desire whatsoever to go off and see a place you’ve never been?”
     “Maybe to visit someone, but that’s about it. I had an interesting conversation with a friend a while ago. She asked me is if I could chose between a trip to, say….Disneyland or a computer, which would I chose? I picked the computer. Because it’s tangible. I can see it, feel it. I can use it. But a trip you can’t. Once it’s over, it’s over.” She shrugged her shoulders and took a sip of her Coke. “That’s how I see it.”
     “Though trips give you experiences.” I countered, “And memories.” We both paused for a moment. “I guess I shouldn’t expect that you’d come visit me at one of my exotic locations then?” I inquired.
     “Just send me a postcard or two.” she said with a grin while standing up. “Now let’s go see what’s going on at the International Stage.”

Later that day, as I head home on the Skytrain and gazed out the window to the city below me, I started to think about our previous conversation. Sure materials things are tangible, can be measured for value but aren’t experiences valuable as well? Aren’t they actually invaluable? For all my travels I have memories tied to them. I have experiences, good and bad, that I have taken something from them. I have strengthened friendships through travels. I have had my breath taken away by travels. I have been scared. I have laughed. I have been brave. I can recall an entire range of emotions that I have had on travels. Something, that I am certain most material, tangible items can not provide me with. Sure, I love my creature comforts. I won’t deny it. But when I think of times when I have had to step out of my comfort zone, learn a life lesson or grow closer to someone, it was not a TV, handbag or bedroom suite that did it for me. It was the experience, travel related or not. Experiences become a part of you. They help shape and mold who we become. They become a part of the fabric of our soul. And for me, travelling is one way to gain those experiences. To weave it intricately into my soul. And I love it for that.