According to Plan

How do you deal when things don’t go according to plan? 🤔

Over a decade ago, when I was struggling with my career and future in general, I decided to take the Myers-Briggs personality test. There are many simplified versions of the test online, and it can be a fun and insightful way to learn more about yourself and suitable life paths.

In case you’re unfamiliar, there are four basic measures that exist on a spectrum:

  • Introversion / Extraversion – do you feel exhausted or energized by social time?
  • Intuition / Sensing – do you listen more to your gut or your trusted five senses?
  • Feeling / Thinking – are you an empath like Deanna Troi or an android like Mr. Data?
  • Perception / Judgment – do you wing it or do you prefer to review blueprints of the wing?

The first time I took the test, I was an ENTJ. More recently, I’ve become an INFJ. I’ve always been very close to the middle on the first three measures, but on the final one? I’m a Hard J. Rather than jumping in head first, I like to know what’s in the pond before I dip toe one. I like a plan

As you can imagine, this has been challenging for me in so many areas of life. Because as it turns out, things rarely go according to plan! And more difficult still, the choices that can lead to the most fulfillment don’t often come with a roadmap. Sometimes you just have to wing it.

And SOMEtimes, you randomly hit your head on a shelf and wind up with a concussion! Sigh. Poor Matty. He’s doing fine and recovering well, but this injury has meant we’ve had to seriously scale back our activities and media consumption to focus primarily on resting. 

It reminds me of when I had mono (or glandular fever for my British chums) and I had to spend months in recovery. Tough things happen without our permission, and often outside of our control. But they do provide an opportunity to slow down and practice acceptance. 👌😑👌

It’s been a long three months of travel, and to have an excuse to slow things down hasn’t been such a bad thing. Matt and I have made some great memories, but living out of a suitcase isn’t as glamorous as it may seem. And removing the pressure to be a tourist is kind of a good thing.

We’ll return to the U.K. in just a few days. What we’ve seen of Sweden, though a bit limited, we have really loved. This place seems made for people and community. Plus, as seen above, their ER was near empty when we visited! A sign of a people well cared for? I like to think so.

What’s next? We’ll be visiting Matt’s family over Christmas, followed by housesits all over England, from Minehead to Leeds. And I can’t wait to go back to Edinburgh in March. After that, we’ll just have to wait and see… which, I assure you, makes me deeply uncomfortable. 😭

Have you taken the Myers-Briggs test? What’s your personality type?

-Janice

* Thanks to Best Boy Neo for modelling in this photo. Cat-sitting is the best! 😻

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VGL is Sick and so Are We

Those of you who know me well will not be surprised in the least that as November begins, Matt and I have both gotten sick. Thankfully, with a strict regimen of fluids, rest, and Netflix, we’ve managed to keep the cold to a dull roar and we’re carrying on.

We travelled from Prague to Berlin on Friday morning. After an hour delay at the train station, we finally got on our way. And what a voyage! Matt, being the incredible research nerd that he is, figured out which side of the train to sit on for the best views.

Our main reason for visiting Berlin (besides just being cool hipsters) was to attend Video Games Live at the Tempodrom – the venue that conjures the image of this Turtles in Time level every time I say its name. “Technodrome: Let’s Kick Shell!” 🐢🐢🐢🐢

I was so glad to bring Matt to VGL for his first time, and though it was my seventh time seeing the concert, this was my first time not working. The music was great as always, but I had to rely on myopia to shield me from the Silent Hill and Resident Evil clips. 🤓

Between having a short time here and being a bit under the weather, we most certainly haven’t seen all of the sights – but I’m learning that it’s imposssible to do everything, and there’s no sense beating ourselves up about it. We simply do what we can.

Today is our last day in Berlin before we head off to Nuremberg for two weeks. We’ve visited some cool spots, seen some lovely friends, and enjoyed some great walks around the city… but we’ve also watched more episodes of Taskmaster than I care to admit.

How do you deal with illness while you’re travelling?

-Janice

Those Who Wander Are Sometimes Lost as Hell

J.R.R. Tolkien was one of those pure geniuses whose words never fail to inspire me. And even though it’s true that “not all those who wander are lost,” it’s also true that plenty of them are lost as hell. Including me, as it turns out. (And also John Travolta.)

AthleticLankyHedgehog-small
To be fair, I always feel at home in Whiterun. Travolta, not so much.

It makes sense, when you think about it – having lost my father, quit my job, binned or packed away most of my stuff, and left my friends and family to travel as far away from home as I’ve ever been – it’s hard to imagine a scenario where I wouldn’t feel a bit lost.

I feel like Samwise Gamgee at the edge of Farmer Maggot’s crop fields. Not only is this the farthest I’ve ever been from home, but as we’re now past the seven-week mark since I left Halifax, it’s also the longest time I’ve ever been away from the Maritimes.

Amidst feeling lost and confused, I’m trying really hard not to take for granted the beauty and opportunity of where we are at the moment. Prague is amazing, and we’re having a really lovely time here. You should definitely (wait for it)… Czech it out! 😂

This is only a very small sample of photos, but these have been highlights for me so far.
Vítkov Park near our Airbnb is stunning; Freya Kočkafé, the cat café in Žižkov, is a dream come true; and Prague Zoo absolutely earns its place in the top five zoos in the world.

I’m also trying the 6 Days to Decisiveness challenge, seeking out yoga and therapy (which I’ve been sorely missing since leaving home), and somehow still attempting The Artist’s Way, even though collecting rocks and leaves last week felt like a bit of a stretch.

What brings you back to yourself when you’re feeling lost?

-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