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

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Moving Sucks and Harry Potter Rules

Oh man, it’s been a time. Since arriving back from Ammydam, we’ve had to step on the gas pedal to get ready for the *true beginning* of our own vagrant story.

MOVING SUCKS

Obviously. We’ve had to sort, chuck, store, donate, and pack a ton of stuff. Which I’ve already done at home. On one hand, my experience was probably helpful to Matt in his struggle to downsize. On the other, how the hell did I get roped into doing this AGAIN?

That’s love for you. On the bright side, I got to see some of Matt’s cool old video games, as well as to delight in the discovery that he has FOUR copies of my favourite game, Final Fantasy VIII (all in semi-working condition), plus one FFVII for good measure.

Unbelievably, we’re now sitting in Matt’s near-empty apartment, ready to fly off to Prague tomorrow. Our Euro Journey™ is about to officially begin, even though I’ve been overseas for six weeks. After tomorrow, neither of us will have a home base as such. So, the past six weeks have been a nice way to dip my toes in as a novice nomad.

HARRY POTTER RULES

Amidst all the chaos, I had booked us tickets to The Making of Harry Potter at the Warner Brothers Studio in London last week. It was INCREDIBLE. Being the huge Potterhead that I am, it was absolutely mind-blowing to visit the Great Hall, see the Gryffindor common room and Harry’s dorm, walk through Diagon Alley, and board the Hogwarts Express, among so much else. Here is just a brief and woefully inadequate selection of photos and descriptions of our amazing 3-hour tour.

Here’s Matt at the entrance to the studio tour, before we knew just how amazing this place would be. The potions classroom was SO detailed, and included self-stirring cauldrons!

The Great Hall was stunning, though smaller than I imagined. I had to mock the big ol’ bird at the entrance to Dumbledore’s office. Walking through Diagon Alley was a huge highlight!

OF COURSE I bowed to Buckbeak! Only a fool would do otherwise. The enormous model of Hogwarts, featured in so many scenes from the films, left me utterly speechless.

The wands were all labeled with the names of those who worked on the films, including J.K. Rowling and Emma Watson. I found A OWL! And ran through Platform 9¾, obviously.

Here’s my favourite photo from the tour, when Death Eaters emerged for a bit of LARPing! Matt and I are hardcore Hufflepuffs, which I learned is J.K. Rowling’s favourite house.

There is literally too much to say about the experience. Visiting the original sets, seeing amazing props and costumes, and getting to learn behind-the-scenes stuff was so incredible. If you want to see more, I’ve uploaded some videos to my Instagram stories.

NEXT STOP: PRAGUE

Phase two of The Great Europing™ (I’m still workshopping the title) starts tomorrow. Turns out life just keeps coming at you whether you have time to write about it or not! But I’ll do my best to keep yas in the loop as we go to Prague and beyond. ❤️

-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

A Place to Start

I am *not* the kind of person to make rash decisions. Especially when it comes to where I live and what I’m doing with my whole damn life. But life, that saucy minx, has a way of throwing you curveballs – and you’ve just gotta do your best to take a swing.

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The biggest “curveball” of the past year is that my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer in the fall. I took months off work to spend time with him and to help him die at home. After that experience, going back to business as usual just wasn’t an option for me.

The second big (and WAY happier) surprise that came my way in the past year? Matthew Windsor (who took the above photo). This incredible international romance saved my life, interrupting the absolute horror of my dad’s death with genuine moments of peace.

And so, at the age of 34, for the first time in my life, I am setting off on a nomadic adventure as Matt and I spend the next year travelling together. This is the kind of thing that may happen once in a lifetime. So, why not document the hell out of it?

Here are just a few of the nebulous goals I’ve given myself for the year:

  1. Focus my priorities. This trip isn’t about doing what I think I’m “supposed” to do – it’s about giving myself the time and space to clarify what matters most to me. This will likely involve lots of self-care in the form of yoga and ice cream.
  2. Push myself. Like, not off a bridge or anything. But the death of a loved one brings into super sharp focus just how short life truly is. If I want to accomplish something in my lifetime, I’ve gotta commit to doing what I can as soon as I can.
  3. Have fun! Okay, this list would be pretty sad if I didn’t include some cursory mention of fun, that elusive beast. Right now I’ve got tickets for King Lear (fun?), Harry Potter World, and Video Games Live. And I’m open to suggestions!

That feels like a satisfying place to start. But look forward to learning more about downsizing three decades of stuff, house-sitting as an economical and fun way to travel, the figurative and literal pain of a colonoscopy, and all things in between!

-Janice