Life in between (April 2013 to October 2019)

After being on the road for 19 months, travelling continuously through 23 countries, it was a bit of an adjustment to settle back into our life in Canada.  Admittedly, I was resistant to return to our old lives and disappointed that our travels had not yielded a new life direction for us. Chris, on the other hand, was anxious to get settled again and to put down some roots. 

Forever the pragmatist, I recognized the need to restock the dwindling coffers and that meant going back to work and finding a place to live. We were lucky to have a six-month housesitting job in a small town south of Ottawa that offered us free accommodation in exchange for taking care of a lovely 8-acre property – an arrangement for which we were very grateful.    This afforded us some time to look for work and to find a house.

Chris landed a small contract almost immediately, whereas I dragged my feet a bit and didn’t go back to work for another 6 months.  We found a house and settled in just as our housesitting gig was ending.  Perfect timing.  

While we came home for my son’s wedding, it soon became apparent that we needed to be home for other reasons as well.  That summer, my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, followed by a debilitating stroke in the fall.   I suddenly found myself back in the caregiving role; taking on the responsibility for helping both my elderly parents navigate what would turn into their final few years of life.  My mom passed away in January 2015, after which time my dad moved in with us and lived with us until his death in December 2017.  Those few years were challenging and exhausting, but I look back with absolutely no regrets for the decisions I made with regards to making my parents my priority and helping them when they were so fragile and in such great need of support.  Of course, Chris was by my side throughout the entire time, offering his complete support and encouragement.

During this time, there were other deaths in Chris’ family – some expected and others tragically not. Both our dads died within six months of each other, both unexpectedly.  Those first five years took their toll on us emotionally and physically.  

I am forever grateful that we did our world trip when we did, as I intuitively knew at the time that the window of opportunity would not remain open forever.  Further, I felt recharged from our travels and came home with a heart filled with compassion and gratitude. This made it much easier to be there for my parents and to give from an abundant heart.

Life also brought us great joy during this time – attending the weddings of both of our children (even though one sadly did not last), welcoming two beautiful grandchildren into the world and rekindling old friendships and discovering new ones too.  We enjoyed a few small vacations over the years – Mexico, the Azores Islands, and Morocco.  But, we stayed pretty close to home for most of this time because of our familial and work responsibilities.  

We always said that maybe one day we would do another big trip. One day.

Speaking of work, we have both landed on our feet in our original careers, working steadily as independent IT consultants on contract work.    In August, both of our contracts came to an abrupt and unexpected end.  At the same time, my sister was looking for a temporary place to stay over the winter months.  While the loss of our jobs took us off guard momentarily (well more like for a nano second), we quickly recognized the opportunity in front of us. With no work obligation, some savings in the bank, and a housesitter in the wings, we felt the stars had aligned and the writing was on the wall for us to embark on a new adventure.  

Ever since we made the decision to quit our jobs, sell our house and travel the world, we have learned a thing or two.

Life is short and oh so precious, so don’t waste time making excuses. Make it happen.

Listen to and follow your heart. Be still and really listen.

Find the courage to follow your dreams. Feel the fear but do it anyways.

Live life with no regrets. Ever.

Connect with those around you. Really connect.

Be grateful for everything life brings your way – the challenges, the heartaches, the joy, the fun and the adventures.

Just be bloody grateful for it all.

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