Now that I think about it, travel has always been a significant player in defining who our family is. Our family ancestors have had roots in Australia, Europe, the United States, and in Canada. As for me, I always had a hankering for travel. As a matter of fact, my high school yearbook entry clearly announced that my one and only goal at that time was to travel the world. It was quite some time though before I got to fulfill that dream.
Life kicked in, and I got down to the nitty-gritty routines of life-graduated, got a job, got married, bought a house and had my son. Every holiday we had, I inevitably scanned the travel sections of the newspaper dreaming of places I would like to visit, but other than a few trips across Canada and the United States, those far-off exotic lands were never on my list of destinations.
Sabbatical – Off to Germany
Somewhere about mid-career, my husband and I applied for a job teaching overseas for the Canadian military. We got the job and joined Gutenberg School staff and Westend in Lahr, West Germany. I was introduced to incredible German food, wine and cultural events like Fasching, volks marches neu wine, and spargletoast. The die was cast! Not only that, but the travel bug also bit my son who counts our time in Germany as one of the best in his life.
Impulsivity Kicks In
Once our German hiatus was completed, we returned to Canada. We all suffered withdrawal pains from this fabulous experience. However, life continued as it always had. We resumed our teaching career. My son finished high school and went away to university. Both my husband and I took an early retirement. While on a solo trip to Ottawa, I read an ad in the paper that invited applications for teaching in a foreign country. Without really thinking, I went to my computer and applied. Then I realized that I had done so without even talking to my husband. Upon my arrival at home, I told my husband, and of course, he simply said he wouldn’t go. Amazingly enough, I was interviewed on the phone within the day as was my husband. Before we knew it, we were on our way to Charleston, South Carolina where we had a fabulous time meeting wonderful folks and experiencing life in a southern American city.
Birth of the blog “Travels with Fran”
But life in a southern American city isn’t always fun and games. Hurricane season can be nerve-wracking. One time I wrote a short story about Charlestonians getting ready for a hurricane. When in Charleston, local television stations monitored the hurricanes of the season as they marched across the Atlantic. By the time the hurricanes got close to the mainland, people are hyped up and frantic to protect their property and their lives. During one potentially close call, I wrote a short story in an email to my son documenting our visit to Home Depot where locals bought up all the plywood and bottled water in the store. In spite of the volume of people in the store, it was absolutely silent. We had been planning on riding out the storm in Charleston, but after witnessing the fear in the local people, we decided to book a hotel inland. My son found the story interesting and suggested I start a blog. It was a good suggestion, and I found myself enjoying the process of recording our life away from home as we traveled around the world.
For over sixteen years, we continued to work in places like Egypt, England, and Uzbekistan. We also enjoyed the opportunity of meeting people and discussing political issues with people from different cultural backgrounds. Holiday travel to countries like Iran, Thailand, Morocco, Cambodia, Latvia, northern Sweden, Iceland, China, and India to name a few served to broaden our perspective of the world and to reinforce how lucky we were to come from a country like Canada. How different our lives would have been if we had simply stayed home after retiring! And all of these experiences have been documented in my travel blog, and in photograph books.
There’s another chapter in this ‘travel theme’ for our family. My two grandsons have traveled to visit us in many places. So now it isn’t unusual for them to say, “The next time I visit England, I will……..” Another generation of travelers in our family!
Our Second Retirement
Just this past June, we retired from teaching yet again. So far our retirement has followed the normal routine of applying for pensions and repairing the house. Yet, I can still feel this pull for something extraordinary calling. We will see what the future has in store. In the meantime, I continue to enjoy interacting with other blog writers and will continue to write when the inspiration strikes. Often the writing is done impulsively. I’d love for you to check it out and travel along!