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.
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.
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. 🎂
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?”
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.
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!
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!”
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:
Please don’t. I’m not actually as tough as I look.
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.)
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.