It’s a funny little evolution we’ve noted this year, of the number one question people ask of us.
It has gone from: “When are you going to stop?” to “Do you think you will ever stop?”
It’s a slight change really – perhaps insignificant to many – but it is a very important change to us. Gone is the assumption that our travels are aimless, that we are irresponsibly flitting about the world and set to crash back into “real life” at some point. People who know us well, whether in real life or as faithful readers, know that this is our reality. This is our life, this is our business, and we love every second of it (even when we hate it).
Will we ever stop? Maybe. But in the foreseeable future…not a chance. And in case you need an explanation as to how we can possibly enjoy this life of perpetual nomadism, of living out of a bag with only a few pairs of underwear on rotation and with little plan as to where our heads will rest week-after-week, we’re here today to give you a look back at our favourite moments in the last twelve months.
Our retreat to Guatemala
We had a very difficult start to the year with the loss of my Grandmother, which was blessedly quick, but extremely painful for all of us left behind. From her funeral we flew south and were soothed in the comforting, colorful arms of easy-going Guatemala. It was exactly what we needed, offering reprieve from both the cold of the North American winter and from our own grief.
Floating in Finland
There are a few times in every year when we embark on an adventurous activity that has me questioning my sanity. I am not typically a thrill-seeker, yet I find myself saying yes to such activities, giving little thought to it until I am faced with it. This was one of those times.
And it’s only in the months following that I fully appreciate the uniqueness and gratification from such an experience. (Most likely because the memories of being scared have passed and now I’d jump back in and do it again.)
Playing tour guide
We had an exceptional year, without question, and the best part about it was my Mom. With my Aunt, she made her first overseas trip to visit us in Turkey and Greece, and to be able to introduce her my favourite country and our way of life was more remarkable then I can say. I hope to do it again.
A history lesson
Pete and I both fully underestimated the impact that our time exploring Quebec would have on us. We’ve spent so much time in other parts of the world that we’ve neglected some of our own, but we partially righted that wrong with some time exploring Montréal and Quebec City, the birthplace of modern-day Canada.
We can’t pinpoint an exact day or activity during our five weeks of exploring Poland when we became so enamoured, we just loved all of it.
Holy shit. We were in Greenland!
There was one moment, after our first day in kayaks and our first night sleeping in the Greenland wilderness, when Pete turned to me and incredulously stated: “We’re in muthaf*#$%ing Greenland.” I don’t think the realization of that ever fully settled in while we were there, it was one of those trips in which the full impact is still being discovered.
Trip of a lifetime, indeed.
After Greenland we needed to sit still. Sleep. Be warm. And a wonderful house-sit in Scotland provided us with exactly what we needed. Leave it to Pete, however, to not stay quiet for long, and instead choose to climb the highest peak in the UK, for one of his favourite excursions of the year.
Nous aimons Paris
Have I mentioned that I have the best husband ever? Probably a few times, and he deserves every accolade, especially after he surprised me with a trip to Paris for our 12th anniversary!
Some serious therapy
Still to come on this blog are some highlights of our time in Chiang Mai, Thailand, which in all honesty felt like a tranquil paradise compared to where we had just left. And no experience in 2013 was quite like our day at the Elephant Nature Park.
It is purely therapeutic to spend a day with these gentle giants – feeding them, washing them, stroking them – just enjoying their massive presence, hearing their sad stories, but knowing that they are now in a beautiful place where they can be free. It had such an impact on us that we sponsored an elephant for 2014 on behalf of our families (a Christmas present!) and hope to stay connected to the Park for years to come. That place is simply magical.
And then, home.
We aren’t much for celebrating Christmas, but when we knew we had to come home for a project in January (details to come soon!), we decided to return earlier to celebrate with our families for the first time in five years.
And while we are still reveling in the joy of being with them and reconnecting after more than a year away, the most memorable moment for both of us was meeting our new nephew Kaden for the first time. He definitely won’t remember it, but we sure will.
In typical Hecktic-style, our plans for 2014 are limited thus far. We’re excited to soon be heading out on the road to explore our home province like we never have before (seriously…if we escape this road trip with no broken bones, it will be a small miracle), and after that our plans are unconfirmed. We wouldn’t be “us” if we had it all figured out. 🙂