Some Days Are Just Pyjamas and Laptops

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.

-Janice

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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

Apparently, I’m a Writer

I leave for my European adventure in less than a week. I’m so excited!

A few people have asked me what I’m actually going to *do* on my travels. Besides just being somewhere else, seeing pretty things, and eating / drinking my face off?

I’ll be writing. A lot.

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The only “spiritual path” Munchie is interested in is the one that leads to her food dish.

You’ve probably heard of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It’s a 12-week program to help you “discover and recover your creative self.” I guess I should probably start telling people that I’m just going to Europe to, like, find and unleash my creative potential?

To my credit, I have completed NaNoWriMo five times. And while certainly an accomplishment, it’s hard to say whether a 50,000-word novel spit out over a 30-day period can be any good. (Spoiler: it can’t. At least, not without heavy revisions.) But given a bit more time and consideration, under Cameron’s expert tutelage, I *might* actually be able to produce something slightly less irksome.

(Hot garbage is a phrase I reserve exclusively for people who slow down in the passing lane, and the five novels I’ve written during NaNoWriMo.)

I’m still drawn to participate in some sort of writing challenge, however… like maybe the CBC Short Story Prize! When I was a kid, I wrote endless short stories. And sure, while some (or realistically most) of them were crap, I like to think I’ve improved a bit since then. I mean, I’d hate to read the Yelp review of the first meals I ever made, too. “The sticks were a tad chewy, but I found the bog water mixed with grass truly inedible.” 

Finally, of course, there’s blogging. A relatively simple and fun way to produce writing intended for the public eye. It’s also a pretty good way of holding myself accountable. And *obviously* I’ve got to satisfy the hunger of my gargantuan readership!

But seriously… thanks to the five of you. 🖐️

-Janice

Why Catsitting is Awesome

I went on my first solo international trip in June of 2016. I’d spent a lot of time considering ways I could afford this, since at the time I was living on my own and working for a not-for-profit… that is to say, I didn’t have a lot of disposable income.

So, I did what all clever millennial-types do: I turned to Google for help! The search history would probably read something like, “how to travel when you’re broke” or “tricking the universe into throwing you a bone” or “spring break for 30-year-olds.”

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As a Nova Scotian (and Outlander fan), of course I needed to visit Scotland.

As is its wont, Google rendered a million different ideas. Some of the more interesting options for travelling on the cheap were getting a Working Holiday Visa, being an au pair, or WWOOFing. But for me? The most exciting prospect was housesitting.

Here’s how I realized that housesitting was for me:

  1. I was single. This limited what I could afford, but also where I’d feel comfortable travelling and staying on my own. (I’m an independent yet pragmatic woman.)
  2. I didn’t have any money. Free or cheap accommodation was fairly essential.
  3. I hated being a tourist. I mean, I love visiting new places, but I detest doing the tourist song and dance. Living *like a local* as much as I could was the goal for me.
  4. I didn’t enjoy the *travel* part of travelling. Once I’m actually in a place, I have a great time. But the journey itself is often frustrating and always exhausting.
  5. I was kind of obsessed with cats. Refer back to point #1. Now, it’s not that I’m a batty old cat lady, but I certainly appreciate feline companions. 😻

Of all the options I considered, house and catsitting was the most obvious and amazing solution. It offered free accommodation, where you can stay put and really get to know a place, and have some adorable kitty company while you’re there. Purrfect!

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This lap (and look of love mixed with disdain) could be yours!

Interested in housesitting? I can vouch for the awesomeness of Trusted Housesitters. And if you sign up, please use this link (or code RAF28625) to save 20% off a yearly membership. Plus, you’ll kindly gift me a couple free months for referring you. 🤓

With only two weeks until I hop the pond, I’m getting pretty excited for what’s coming up next… including catsitting in Europe and the U.K. So look forward to hearing more on the subject! And please, don’t just sit there, green with envy – try it for yourself.

-Janice