The Greatest Henge in the World

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.

-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

Where in the World Is Janny Sandiego?

One of the hardest parts of living out of a suitcase – besides actually lugging around said suitcase – is keeping my friends and family up-to-date on my whereabouts. The most common question I get after “How are you?” is: “Where in the world are you?”

Over the holidays, we were lucky enough to enjoy this incredible view in Minehead!

To help keep you guys in the loop, I’ve put together this schedule of our whereabouts over the next few months. I’ll try to keep it updated, so feel free to bookmark this post and check back.

  • Jan. 5 to 12Brighton* 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
  • Jan. 12 to 17 Southampton 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
  • Jan. 17 to 31Stamford* 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
  • Jan. 31 to Feb. 15Leeds* 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
  • Feb. 16 to 23 Leafield* 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
  • Feb. 23 to 25Southampton 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
  • Feb. 26 to Mar. 8Brighton* 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
  • Mar. 8 to 10Southampton 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
  • Mar. 10 to April 7 Edinburgh 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
  • April 7 to 10 – Scottish Highlands 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
  • April 10 to 15 Forfar* 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
  • April 15 to 18 – Lake District 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
  • April 18 to 29 Preston* 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
  • April 29 to May 3 – Wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿
  • May 3 to 19 – Leeds* 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
  • May 19 to 23Stratford-upon-Avon 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
  • May 24 to June 2Brussels* 🇧🇪
  • June 2 to 3 Paris 🇫🇷
  • June 3Halifax 🇨🇦

Updated Feb. 8, 2019. Asterisks = house-sits.

We have organized house-sits and places to sleep right up until it’s time to fly back to Canada via Paris. But there’s always room for improvisation, so I’d love to hear your recommendations for places we should visit!

-Janice

Oh Hai, Dream Come True!

I had two very real, very different dreams come to fruition this week.

YOU SHALL NOT PASS WITHOUT TEARS
First, I got to experience the incredible actor Ian McKellen performing onstage, mere meters away from me, in what has got to be a crowning achievement atop an already splendiferous acting career. King Lear had me in tears, partly because it’s such a tragic tale of father and daughter (making me miss my own dad so much), and partly because, as I said, it was an actual dream come true to see, hear, and share space with one of the most revered actors of our time. I kept thinking to myself, “Dad, I saw Gandalf!”

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OH HAI, DREAM COME TRUE
Next, I got to meet Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero, stars of The Room, one of my most beloved films. Perhaps not *quite* as revered as Shakespeare, but definitely more significant in my daily life. The film itself was barely audible over the rowdy goons in the crowd – at one point, they even had to call the police to kick out a group of particularly obnoxious men in Hawaiian shirts, who, I kid you not, brought BOXES FULL of plastic spoons to throw at the screen. Watching the film in this environment was memorable enough, but it was completely surreal to meet, greet, and get a photo (I got the picture) with the stars of this film, which has become a cornerstone in my own life.

IN CASE YOU FEEL LIKE PUNCHING ME
Now, if you’re feeling the strong desire to clock me in the face after reading about my incredible week, I don’t blame you. But let me make a few humble suggestions:

  1. Please don’t. I’m not actually as tough as I look.
  2. Think about your own dreams, what they look like, and small ways in which you might make them a priority in your life. (It’s not as impossible as you might think.)
  3. Remember that I also spend good chunks of time fretting about my future, feeling unwell or homesick, missing my dad, and worrying about all sorts of other #HumanProblems that I don’t need to write about here.

In short: everybody hurts sometimes. And other times you just vote for Pedro.

-Janice

First Stop: Croydon!

Here we are, folks. I’m finally in the U.K. at Matt’s place in Croydon (South London). After a day of jetlagged canoodling, I’ve resurfaced feeling like some proximation of my usual self. I’m ripe and ready to explore this first chapter of our travelling journey.

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Two twerps in Croydon are better than one! 🤓 🤓

When I met Matt a year ago (our first date being in a “car park” as the locals would say; our second being a four-day excursion to New York City), I knew I was in for some awesome adventures. But could I have predicted all of the highs and lows of the past year? And that I’d end up here, on the brink of a big ol’ European excursion? No way.

(I mean, I only got my bite plane like a week ago, and I’m fairly certain it’s just enabled my telepathic abilities; I have yet to master clairvoyance, telekinesis, and teleportation.)

I’ve flown to the UK three times in the past year, but this trip over was different. Rather than just a single, fun but hectic week of visiting friends and family, we’re properly together now, after a whole damn year of long-distance love. Way to go, us!

Oh, and of course, there’s also the small fact that for the first time in my life, I’m technically without a home. Or rather, my home will be changing every few weeks for the next several months. But my travels of the past few years have reassured me that no matter what comes my way, I can handle it. Plus, this time I’ll have a loving partner by my side – one who has supported me through some of the most difficult days of my life.

Like all times of transition, it’s scary but exhilarating. I’m grateful to be where I am, both geographically and in life; I’ve just gotta do all the things that keep me grounded, like writing, yoga, and drinking lots of tea (eight times a day, now I’m in England).

What do you do to keep your feet on the ground during ch-ch-changes?

-Janice