Spring in the North

Over the past few weeks, we’ve visited a bunch of places in the North of England and Wales. This was my first opportunity to really see the lovely city of Lancaster where 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.

Anyone else wondering where the time went?

-Janice

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Gratuitous Wish Solicitation

What’s been going on since we last communed, dear reader?

Well, most importantly, cat sitting! We’ve started a period of near-continuous and full-time house sitting, which has been incredible so far. The hosts are all so gracious and kind, the homes are warm and welcoming, and the cats are SO! DAMN! CUTE! 😻

Forgive me if I sound like a skipping record, but if you’ve considered house sitting, just do it! It’s possibly the best way for animal lovers to travel – especially here in the U.K. where boatloads of new sits are posted daily. I’m so grateful for these amazing opportunities.

Of course, this time hasn’t all been roses. A big reason why I’ve been a bit scarce lately is the intense grief that’s accompanied the first anniversary of my dad’s death. I’ve done a lot of writing and ruminating in private to work through some of this stuff, but I just want to thank everyone who’s held me up during this time. You’re all stars. 💕

On a lighter (and existentially related) note, my birthday is coming up! Forgive my gratuitous wish solicitation, but if you wanna put an easy smile on my face year after year, all you have to do is add January 28 to your calendar. You’re welcome. 🎂

Oh, and I’ve also updated our travel agenda if you wanna check it out.

I miss you guys! What have you been up to?

-Janice

It’s Been a Big Feels Week

I’ve been struggling to write this week, for many reasons. This is my third sincere attempt at it, and I think I’ve finally realized why it’s been so hard to sum up my experiences of the past ten days. There were some fantastic highlights from my visit to Amsterdam, like seeing an old man cycle past wearing naught but a silver speedo; and then there were some difficult times, like following some very troubling world events.

Here’s my attempt to summarize what I’ve been up to, and why it’s been tough to write:

I HAD AN AMAZING TIME IN AMSTERDAM

Let’s just start with the simplest and definitely the most pleasant thing that I’ve experienced this week. My ten-day catsit in Amsterdam was absolutely lovely. The place was incredible, the city was so beautiful, and the cat was such a sweet little weirdo. Plus, my super pal Sophia joined me for the second half of the trip, and we had some epic wanderings and Netflix marathons. I consider myself lucky to have had this opportunity, and I’m trying to focus on my gratitude for the genuine joys of this time.

I AM ALSO PROCESSING SOME TOUGH STUFF

I knew when setting off on this journey that it isn’t really possible to run away from one’s problems… I guess I was just hoping I’d somehow managed to trick the old cosmic jokester into cutting me a break. Between the intense yoga classes I’ve been attending and the self-exploration involved in the Artist’s Way, some deep dark feels have really risen to the surface. It took me a long time to even admit to myself the extent of the traumas I’ve experienced in my life, but this past year definitely takes the cake. And as it turns out, those deep hurts don’t go to bed until they’re good and ready.

PLUS I’VE BEEN OBSESSIVELY FOLLOWING SOME SERIOUS BULLSHIT 

Like the rest of the world, I’ve been obsessed with the Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination amidst Dr. Ford’s sexual assault allegations. Sometimes a world event just strikes a nerve, and this case is so clearly emblematic of a much larger social problem. Even though everything about rape culture is heartbreaking and infuriating, this collective rage we’re feeling can be a hugely powerful tool for change in the face of injustice. Pretty sure we’re all gonna be able to start fires with our minds soon.

So, there you have it. I’m sure there are more stories to be told about my time in Amsterdam, but in the context of these other unravellings, that’s the best I can do.

It’s been a big feels week, for so many people. I hope you’re all doing okay.

-Janice