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

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.)

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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