As you might have guessed, we’re back in Canada! Halifax, to be more precise. Though my initial intention was to move to PEI for the summer to help manage my dad’s estate, we ultimately decided that Halifax is home, and we can accomplish our goals with a few trips and some serious elbow grease. The hardest work is sometimes just in getting started, and thankfully we have done that. It’s been a tough road, but I thank the gods daily for my sister.
Matt has also been an absolute champ with the amount of travel and upheaval during this past month. You’d expect things might have slowed down once we came back to Canada, but somehow it feels like everything has sped up. Lots of family and friendship obligations have gone untended for the nine months I was overseas, so we’ve made an effort to do as much as we can with trips to Cape Breton and PEI. Not to mention apartment hunting. Yeesh!
What nine months abroad really taught me, and what I’m still learning as I reflect back on that time, is how much home and community means to me. I’ve definitely caught the travel bug over the past few years, but I think this trip *might* have cured me, at least for a while. Matt and I are pumped to finally move into our own place here in Halifax, after two years of visiting and travelling and not being able to put down roots. At the moment, it definitely feels like we’re a freshly-cut vine clipping in a big jug of water; that is to say, we are ready to root.
Now that the journey has come to an end, I may set this blog aside for a while. Our experiences as travelling cat sitters were kind of amazing, so I should probably at some point do a roundup of Europe’s Cutest Kitties for the benefit of all. But for now, please accept this as my “so long” post, and if / when that changes, you’ll be the first to know.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve visited a bunch of places in the Northof England and Wales. This was my first opportunity to really see the lovely city of Lancasterwhere Matt grew up. We hung out with his fam, saw where he went to school, visited several of his childhood houses (from the outside, obvs), and checked out his old haunts. Conclusion? Lancaster is one charming place.
We also had a fantastic time in nearby Preston sitting for two of the chillest cats on the planet. Then we journeyed to Wales, me for the first time. We got a chance to meet and hang out with more delightful members of Matt’s family and to see some amazing views. North Wales is such an incredible part of the world! I’m basically now the self-appointed captain of #TeamWales.
Getting to spend time with Matt’s family has reminded me that even though I’ve lost my dad and my grampy in the past two years, I’ve also gained a brilliant partner and his lovely fam. Though we can never replace those who are gone, there’s a huge amount of love and healing we can get from the family we choose – whether it be a partner, friend, or even a pet. I’m so grateful that Matt and I met, became a part of each other’s families, and formed a little family of our own.
Alright, enough with the lovefest. Did you know in less than four weeks we’ll be back in Canada?! After our current housesit in Leeds, we’ll visit Matt’s mom, sister, and friends before we head to Brussels for our last housesit of the trip. Then, we fly back from Paris on June 3rd.
I am so grateful that this journey has brought me back to Scotland. After six months of traveling around and not staying in one place for more than a couple weeks, a whole month in Edinburgh was an absolute dream. Even though Matt was busy with work and didn’t feel the greatest during that time, we still loved our visit to one of the best cities in the world.
Since leaving Edinburgh last week, we’ve enjoyed a whirlwind triparound the highlands, from Fort William to Isle of Skye to Inverness. We saw so much beauty in such a short period of time (including seeing three castles in one day) that I’m still trying to wrap my brain around it all. If you’d been in the car with us, you’d have heard me say, “Oh my god, that’s so pretty!” about a thousand times. The photos give but a glimmer of Scotland’s magnificence. It’s beyond belief.
For the past few days, we’ve slowed things down again at a lovely housesit near Forfar. This is my first time sitting for kitty with a disability, and he’s just the sweetest thing since Jammie Dodgers. He’s also reminded me to be grateful for things I take for granted like my relative health, mobility, and freedom from pain. This housesit has also given me the opportunity to care for an amazing garden, and I’m already feeling inspired to grow a few things of my own.
As it turns out, it won’t be too long until I can actually have a garden of my own! Matt and I have taken some concrete steps forward in hisCanadian immigration journey, so we’re feeling encouraged as the questions about our future begin to be answered. When we return to Canada, we’ll spend the month of June primarily in Halifax before we move to Prince Edward Island. Though living in rural PEI will be a huge change from what I’m used to, it will be a place to call home, near my family, where Matt and I can be together. Not too shabby, eh?
By tomorrow we’ll be on the road again, back to England and Matt’s hometown of Lancaster. For now I am feeling refreshed and grateful for my return visit to Scotland, as we’ve had a chance to relax, hang out with friends, and see so much more of the amazing scenery that this incredible part of the world has to offer. This isn’t goodbye, Scotland; it’s just so long.
We’ve been in Edinburgh for two weeks, and we’ll be here for a couple weeks yet. This is for sure one of my favourite cities in the world for so many reasons. It’s where I came on my first solo overseas journey, which was a huge accomplishment for me. Also, have you seen the place?
I’m so grateful to my past self for booking this month-long visit, as I haven’t stayed put for so long since I left Canada seven months ago. Being with Matt after a year of long distance has been so great, but we’ve both found it tough to have a complete lack of routine and no home.
Matt and I just want to be in the same place, you know? This trip started as a test run to see where we might want to live – visiting countries like Czech Republic and Germany where I could get a Working Holiday Visa. But Brexit has made living and working in the EU a bit tricksy.
So, our current plan is for Matt to immigrate to Canada. It will require a lot of time, money, and effort to get it sorted. But it’s the first step toward a more grounded life together. It doesn’t mean that we’ll never live in the UK or Europe, but Canada will be our home base for now.
Of course, we’ve still got two months left on our nomadic journey, where we’ll see more of Scotland, England, Wales, and Belgium. We’ve got a lot of really cool things planned over that time, but we’ve also got a lot of Game of Thrones to watch, too. It’s all about balance.
I am thankful for this time of life, while also recognizing how challenging it’s been. I wanted to share some impressive pictures or stories, but not every day can be a visit to Stonehenge. Some days are just pyjamas and laptops. And that’s probably as it should be.
Nope, it’s not Woodhenge or Strawhenge… it’s Stonehenge! (In case you’re unfamiliar with Eddie Izzard’s Dress to Kill, please adjust your priorities and treat yourself to the best Stonehenge humour you’ll hear all week.)
What can I say? The day was amazing. The weather was unreal (a balmy 16 degrees Celsius in February, which is hot even for England) and the actual stones, historic site, and general area were startlingly impressive.
Funnily enough, Matt lived within an hour’s drive of Stonehenge for years and never visited until now. I guess things don’t seem as exciting when they’re in your own backyard, eh? Thankfully, he had this firecracker Canadian egging him on. He’s a self-professed #Hengehead now.
Days like this remind me why the existential upheaval of living out of a suitcase is worth it. I’ve got about three months left on this journey, and I’m trying to grab at these opportunities while I still can. We’ve just returned to Brighton after time in Leeds and Leafield, and next we’ll spend a whole blessed month in Edinburgh, one of my favourite cities in ze world.
Life isn’t perfect, but sometimes a few days, a few hours, or even a few moments can be. I hope you can capture some of those, wherever you are.