We’ve been on the road now for a year and a half. It is hard to believe we’re once again about to sit our own meditation course for several silent weeks. So much has happened since we drove away from Toronto in July 2017, and it went by in a fast blur. Life passes so quickly.
We drove away from our big city life one Saturday and we took our big city habits with us. We had ambitious plans for the weeks ahead. Our destination was Vancouver on Canada’s West Coast, but we were going to drive there via Newfoundland. Our first stop on the way to the Atlantic Coast was the beautiful rural farm that belongs to our friends Katayoun and Eric. After twenty-four hours in their tranquil company, we awoke with the profound realization that we were exhausted. Pitching our plans overboard, we decided to spend a week in the companionship of friends and goats. We learned a valuable lesson about living from watching two hives of bees. When we reluctantly acknowledged it was time to go home, we were refreshed and inspired about our journey ahead. We spent three weeks driving and camping across our massive, beautiful country.
After a visit with family in Vancouver, we headed to England and continued living life outdoors. We spent six weeks walking England’s picturesque countryside. It was wet and cold, but I learned finally how to be at home in nature.
After six months on the road, we returned to the UK for a long wintry 45-day meditation retreat with our dear friends Ania and Irek, then spent Christmas with family in Canada. After conducting two retreats in Ontario we went to Thailand and based ourselves in Bangkok for a month where I set up my systems for my job, learning to feel at home far away from our actual home.
We love Asia and had long planned to visit Japan. After a decade of putting the trip on hold, it was finally time to visit this amazing country. On our way, we spent time with new and old friends in Hong Kong, one of our favourite cities in the world. This was a bit of a splurge. Hong Kong and Japan are not cheap places to visit. But Hong Kong almost feels like a second home, familiar and fascinating. Japan has lurked in the back of our minds, nagging and pulling at us for many years. It was time to just bite the bullet [train] and we were glad we did it.
On our return ‘home’ to Thailand, we had the privilege of spending New Year celebrations with an old friend and his family in rural Thailand.
At the end of April, as Thailand was basking in the hellfire of its hottest season, we boarded an El Al flight for the parallel universe of Israel and Palestine. This was literally a world away from Asia. We were there to conduct a meditation retreat for Palestinians in the West Bank with time afterward to explore the stunning beauty and ancient complexities of the region.
We next went on a rather personal journey to Armenia, to explore my own heritage and connect with a part of myself that I had previously not known or understood well. We ended our time with a train trip to Tbilisi and a short visit in Georgia before returning home again to see family.
It was a short and refreshing stop in Vancouver that gave us a new burst of energy for the next few months of intensive volunteering. We conducted meditation retreats in Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine. We had a little time to visit friends in Szczecin and for Scott to do some photography in Estonia.
A seemingly very short one year ago, we were in Hereford, UK to sit our long meditation retreat. This year, due to schedules we’re back in Thailand for a long course instead. We will end our year in late December in Vancouver.
Writing it all out like this, albeit quick and dirty, I realize how much has happened in such a short time. 2018 was harder and more demanding, more interesting and rewarding than we had either planned or even hoped for. We both feel we were actually able to accomplish the goal we had set out for ourselves: to work and volunteer, and spend more time with family and friends while traveling.
A pie chart that looked like this back in June 2017…
Looks more like this now….
What will 2019 look like for us?
Honestly, right now we have no idea. The only thing we know is that one year from now 2019 will not likely bear much resemblance to what we thought it would look like. Our hopes for the new year include a return to Eastern Europe, especially Ukraine, for more volunteer service. We also hope our year can include other service opportunities in other places. We have always felt so grateful for our fortunate life.
For now, we are signing off for a month and half. We will write again just before Christmas with an update on 2019. We wish you all the very best.