Mind The Gap

Tired, invaded by impromptu lady cramps (and the constant changes in body temperature), annoyed by the flight delay, and quite frankly displeased with having to fly given these conditions, it is with much determination (and a lot of energy) that I boarded the plane at the last minute (confusing the gate number with my seat number was quite lovely. I blame Midol). Needless to say, I passed out on the plane and next thing I knew, I was in London (and in a much better place; #timesolveseverything).

Upon landing in a wet and grey London, we were pointedly told to “Mind the gap” as we stepped into the tube and began our adventure. After surviving Piccadilly Line (WHY YOU SO SLOW?!), the ladies and I got acquainted with P’s cousin over a late lunch at Pimlico Fresh. A vegetable lasagne and a long refreshing walk later, we found ourselves surrounded by a horde of busy and noisy tourists (look who’s talking) nearly stepping over each other (I was probably one of them) to get the perfect shot of Westminster Abbey and the Big Ben.

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Westminster Abbey and Big Ben

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Big Ben

The architectural details and grandiosity of it all pretty much blew my mind and just as I thought it couldn’t get any better, the London sun peeked from out of the clouds, its rays hitting the gold details of our beloved Big Ben. Like I said, mind. blowing.

Walking further down we realized we were too late for the pride parade, but we knew it wasn’t too late for a cold Pimm’s on a terrasse (in our defense, it was Pimm’s O’ Clock).

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Pimm's all day err day

…and doing some photography on our way back to M’s place (hello London Eye!).

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What then ensued was a taste of the months to come: Packing and repacking and repacking and repacking… Yup. I hadn’t backpacked in a while and had forgotten the steep yet quick learning curve when it comes to the Art Of Packing (and it seems I always make myself forget how horrible packing is… WHY YOU DO THAT, JANICE?!). To give you an idea of the fun we had that night, please enjoy a photo of a desperate P amid an island of clothes, gear, and toiletries. You’re welcome.

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P going slightly crazy

Until next time, you will find me either packing (ohhh bloody hell!) or sightseeing London or working on my British accent. Cheerio!

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Introducing: Mr. Bingley!

I met Mr. Bingley out of sheer coincidence one day after visiting the Montreal Biodome with my friend R. As I lingered among the numerous stuffed animals, novelty keychains, and a myriad of other animal-themed gifts and accessories that the Biodome Boutique has to offer, a small brown turtle caught my eye. He was barely noticeable amidst all the other figurines, but I knew he would make a great travel companion. After all, he was a turtle (you’d know why this matters if you read this section).

Mr Bingley

Mr. Bingley is my travel object, an object that I will carry with me from now on, and who I will photograph wherever the wind blows me. Just as my quirks couldn’t annoy you even more (I’m sorry! … Not really), I named Mr. Bingley after Charles Bingley, Fitzwilliam Darcy’s best friend.

Whoooaaa. Wait. What??

Being the major Jane Austen fan that I am, it was my duty to designate my travel object by the name of one of my favourite characters from the novel Pride and Prejudice. Despite his flaws, you can always count on Charles Bingley in remaining light-hearted, charming, full of life, and spontaneous. If those are not great qualities for my travel object, I’m not sure which ones are!

I guess it’s also important for me to mention why I chose a turtle as my travel object. My love for reptiles and turtles aside, I chose a turtle because we have a lot to learn from these intriguing creatures. Sure, turtles are physically restricted, but I like to think that these animals epitomize patience, taking one’s time, and being in the moment. For these reasons, Mr. Bingley will be my constant reminder to slow down and take it all in as I venture off into the wild.

Curious to see where Mr. Bingley has been? Check him out here!

What Remains

If you had told the 4 year old me that I would someday be travelling to East Africa, I would’ve likely looked at you with big brown eyes filled with wonder, fascination, and a hint of inquisitiveness as if to say: “What is this magical land of which you speak?”

Although I would’ve gladly stepped into my loose-fitted tan corduroy overalls and hurriedly packed a suitcase full of dolls, books, and Dunk-a-Roos (#alltheyum #noguilt), it’s very likely that the 4-year old me, albeit untainted by adulthood’s realism, would never have fully understood her destination or her purpose for travelling. Same goes for the 14 year old me, who wouldn’t even have had the time to listen to you, too preoccupied with bad hair days, finding the perfect songs to play in her discman, and generally being dramatic; “Like, OMG, for reeeaaal!” For real what? The teenage me really had no idea…

...but she did know that discmans were pretty darn awesome

…but she did know that discmans were pretty darn awesome

But for real, let’s get real now (oh wait…). We all carry our childhood on our shoulders, in our minds, and in our memories. Although 4-year old Janice now seems like a foreign and strange being (Who in their right mind crosses a street without looking to their left and right to retrieve a basketball?!), I now know that she’s there all around me with each passing day, to remind me the importance of living in the present and taking the time to play.

July '94 in Toronto, ON

July ’94 in Toronto, ON

Although our conceptions of play are now different, I know that mini Janice is pleased as punch in regards to my plans for the next couple of years: travelling, teaching abroad, living in the moment, and taking the time to just BE. Sure, I could be getting on with my career, finding a nice guy, and marrying in a couple of years but if I did that, I’d be letting down my inner child. Looks like mom and dad are in for a sad surprise! #oops

At this point a quote by Henry David Thoreau comes to mind: “Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.” It is with these words that I step forward and embrace the months and years to come, equipped with my knowledge and skills but also with my childhood spirit, the latter propelling me forward and ensuring that I forever appreciate the beauty of novelty.

T-19 days

#hardtimes

#hardtimes