Tagged with " travels without miranda series"
Dec 8, 2009 -

Travels Without Miranda, Coda

My travels without Miranda took me from Mexico through the United States and across the Atlantic ocean in search of myself and a purpose in life. They prepared me for this wonderful adventure I’m on right now; one that is constantly shaping and redefining itself. There have been many times lately that I have felt that my old life had better days, but then some small thing happens that makes me realise that I might have lost an abundance of good days, but I have gained a great life.

I have a nomad’s soul. There is no point in fighting that. I can settle somewhere for many months, even years, and be impossibly content for that time, but there always comes a time where I need to go. It is my biological imperative. Yes, it does involve certain sacrifices; what choices in life do not? Would my life be easier if I was willing to settle down? Yes. But an easy life is nothing but a long death.

For the next little while, as I learn to figure out the mechanics of this life and how to fund it, there will probably be a lot less travel with Miranda than there was without her, at least into new places. So, I will practise one final lesson that I learned in my old life, when I did my annual ‘pretend that I am a tourist in my own town’ day. Because

The real voyage of discovery comes not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. Marcel Proust*

My travels are just my way of figuring out how this world works. Thank you for following me and helping me make a little better sense of it all.

*Le véritable voyage de découverte ne consiste pas à chercher de nouveaux paysages, mais à avoir de nouveaux yeux.

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Canada, Personal, Travel, USA, Why I Do This    2 Comments
Dec 8, 2009 -

Travels Without Miranda, #10: Melrose, Scotland

My month’s journey backpacking around Scotland taught me that there is no reason why I can’t have something I really, really want. I woke up one November morning in 1997 and announced that I was going to Scotland the following summer. I spent six months saving up, and even losing a month’s income to the Ice Storm of ’98 didn’t deter me from my goal.

The most amazing month of my life was drawing to a close when I landed at the youth hostel in Melrose. It was a grand old Victorian house, but it was for the abbey I had come. My month had been one of following the steps of Scotland’s hero William Wallace and one of her kings, Robert the Bruce, and it was at Melrose Abbey that Bruce’s heart was buried.

Melrose youth hostel

Melrose youth hostel

There wasn’t much left to my trip, just a few days. I was due back at work in a week. I was heartsick to be giving up my travels, but excited that my life was about to begin. I was starting university in the fall and would move out on my own, events that made it a little easier to say goodbye to Scotland.

My last night in Melrose I sat on a bench watching the sunset behind the abbey ruins. It is one of those moments of my life that I remember with shattering clarity. It was a perfect moment in time when I knew that I was at the right place and that everything in my life was exactly as it should be. I was flooded with a feeling of peace and well-being and rose from that bench clearheaded and ready to face whatever the future had in stock for me.

Melrose Abbey. The Bench would be just offshot to the right.

Melrose Abbey. The Bench would be just offshot to the right.

It didn’t take long after that for my life to completely derail and I ended up spending the better part of a decade grasping for that perfect moment again.

While I’ve never had such a strong feeling of contentment since hitting the road with Miranda, I’ve had several glimpses of that peace I felt in Melrose. With that reference point in mind, I have been able to identify moments that are completely the opposite, when the universe is shouting at me to get out, to move on, that where I am is the wrongest place I can be. I haven’t shared the full story of what went on in Oliver, but I think that what I didn’t say in my announcement that I was leaving was pretty clear.

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British Columbia, Canada, Travel    2 Comments
Dec 7, 2009 -

Travels Without Miranda, #9: Ogunquit, Maine

I like traveling solo. There are no compromises to make and you get all the alone time you want.

But I discovered during a long weekend in Ogunquit, Maine, that there are advantages to traveling with a like-minded friend. You can make memories together, share in the driving, and help each other if one gets hurt. Our weekend might have required some compromising over pizza toppings and restaurants, but I still got to run on the beach and read on the b&b porch by myself, and we can both laugh at our shared memories of getting soaked a few hours upon arrival. And let’s not forget the calamari, one those moments for which ‘you just had to be there.’

Ogunquit, ‘beautiful place by the sea’, is a picture-perfect resort town. The beach is endless, the seafood fresh, and the shops quaint. It was my first time in twelve years breathing in sea air and I reveled in it.

downtown Ogunquit

downtown Ogunquit

The weekend didn’t go entirely as planned as the friend who had invited me ended up spraining her ankle and lost an afternoon to recuperation. Once I’d done all the first aid I could, I took off in her car to do some antiquing.

The next day we went for a drive to the Cape Elizabeth lighthouse, just west of Portland. I could not believe the view around the cape, all black rock and turquoise ocean and wispy cloud sky, contrasting with the concrete remains of the Fort Williams battlement and the emerald green grounds.

Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse

Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse

That evening, we walked Ogunquit’s Marginal Way, a paved mile-long seaside walkway, from the neighbourhood of Perkin’s Cove to downtown.

Walkers on Marginal Way

Walkers on Marginal Way

On our way home the next day, we stopped for dinner at a chain restaurant my friend had been to and loved called ‘Weathervanes.’ Then followed the funniest moment of the whole trip. The calamari I’d ordered were… strange. Oh, they were yummy–very sweet and not rubbery at all. But they weren’t the rings that I was accustomed to eating in Ottawa. Instead, it looked like I had a plate of… legs. I picked one up near the bottom of the plate and found myself holding a small whole battered squid. It was the most revolting thing I’d ever seen in my life. According to my friend, my expression reflected this thought. But it was her next expression that will remain engraved in my head forever, when I shrugged off the disgust, yanked a couple of legs from the squid, and happily ate them. An hour later, she still couldn’t get over the fact that I’d eaten it! I’m still laughing as I write this… and drooling. Yup, I definitely like squid. And I don’t eat beef?!

I think my friend enjoyed sharing this town and area she loves so much while I enjoyed being able to tag along.

It can be nice to travel with friends, something I rediscovered when another friend suggested we go to Seattle for a day.

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Maine, Nice Folks, Social, Travel, USA, Washingon    2 Comments
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