About friends and family

(This article is part of a series called:  Checking in at 12 months.)

Our list of international friends continues to grow as we keep meeting interesting people everywhere we go.   During the past six months we have managed to cultivate some of these friendships more fully and that has been rewarding. For example, we met Andrew from Belfast while on our Antarctica cruise last January and then we reconnected with him again when we visited Northern Ireland.  Similarly, I met Pauline while walking the Camino de Santiago.  Our paths crossed again several times during the summer as we met up again in Ireland at her mother’s farm and also in London where she is currently living.  Our friends Jenny and Tony from Australia who we met while working on the farm in Tuscany continue to stay in contact via email and I hope this will be an enduring friendship.

While in Europe, I have reached out to some of my relatives who I barely know.  I am always amazed at how deep family ties reach, even when you haven’t been brought up as a close family as has been the case for me.  Without exception, my UK relatives have openly welcomed us into their homes and showered us with warm hospitality.  It’s nice to know that it is never too late to make contact to get to know family members.

We had a special time in Germany visiting my cousin Detlev and his family.  Even though we all got sick during our visit, Detlev’s determination to make sure we had a good time was heart warming.   I only met Detlev once as a child when I visited Eastern Europe with my mother when I was 11 years old.  In recent years, I met him again in 2004 and then he came to Canada for a visit with his kids in 2010.  So we haven’t spent all that much time with each other.  Yet, I feel a closeness and an affection for Detlev much the same way I feel towards my brothers.  Since he’s an only child, I think it’s pretty special that we have had the chance to develop a filial relationship.

Not to be overlooked are our friends and family back home who have offered their support and encouragement through emails and blog comments and skype calls.  I am always so pleased to find someone has left a comment on the blog – at least I know one person has read that entry!  The support and encouragement I received while I walked the Camino de Santiago meant a lot to me and often carried me through some pretty trying circumstances.

I can’t think of any bad experiences we have had in dealing with people during our travels.  Of course, we experienced the “French” on a few occasions while in Paris, but as they behaved in such a stereotypical manner with their arrogant and haughty attitudes, we found it to be more amusing than insulting.  When I think of all the people we come into contact with each day, it really is remarkable that we haven’t had more negative experiences.  Maybe it’s true, that positive attracts positive because we seem to only meet positive people that we like and get along with.

Meeting people continues to be a highlight for me as we travel the world.  It is the human connection that adds meaning and depth to our travel experiences.  We hope our old and new friends and family will continue to follow us in our travels.


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