Category Archives: A Collection of Experiences

Point A to Point B – Backpacker Style

After our Workaway experience in the Tarn region the next stage of our plan (such as it were) was to head a bit further south to an area near a town called Quillan. Like much of southern France it was green and lush and filled with rolling hills (you might call them mountains), that one would think would be a cyclists nightmare but in truth only seems to encourage them. Continue reading Point A to Point B – Backpacker Style

Our 1st Host – A Continuation

I decided my last post was getting a little bit too long, even though I still had a few more things I wanted to share! Thus I give you: ‘Our First Host: Part 2’ – a few little odds and ends about France that stood out during our initial time there.

In case you were curious, during our stay we were in the region of Tarn.  Continue reading Our 1st Host – A Continuation

Putting a Pin in the Map

An introduction to France and the Historic Walled City of Carcassonne

Before the last few months began, France was the home of Paris and a land where people happened to speak French. Why would you go to France? To go to Paris, to see the Eiffel tower and to eat baguettes, cheese and wine.

In some small way I was right, at least when it came to my assumptions about baguettes, cheese and wine – they are the three pillars of French cuisine. Followed very closely by breads of all variety, duck, rabbit, pates and cured meats. Continue reading Putting a Pin in the Map

London Below

New things can often bring a feeling of trepidation – I was never concerned about the flight or our baggage getting lost, or any of those normal travel concerns. I’ve done this before and I’m pretty proud to say that I’m an old hand at most of it. I still get a little sweaty when I go through customs (though that might have been because London was just obscenely humid), but I’ve been pulled aside and searched and had my luggage gone though and I’ve been through customs when I didn’t speak the language; so that part of it isn’t as stressful as it used to be. This time it was something else. I was on my way to London, home of Windsor Castle, Big Ben, Westminster Cathedral and… the tube.  Continue reading London Below

Living by Working… Away

I don’t think anyone was particularly surprised when I announced that I had another big trip in the works. (Two weeks and counting!) This will be my third long trip in the last ten years, and hopefully not my last!

Before I really get into this post I want to make something abundantly clear – I am by no means a wealthy individual. I have been able to go on these trips because I am willing to go through life with a few less material comforts. I find the adventures tend to make up for it. :) Continue reading Living by Working… Away

The End of Limbo

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I’m excited today.

I’m excited because life is full of possibilities. After more than a year of working and saving every penny possible, it is finally time for another adventure. Time to open a new doorway and once again venture into the unknown.

I’m not good at waiting, even when I know that whatever limbo I’m in is a temporary state of affairs. It’s hard to stay chipper; focusing on the mundane day-to-day tasks can become a bit of a drag. That being said, I wouldn’t trade this time in limbo for the world. Because during this time, where in my mind I was accomplishing hardly anything – I fell in love with a wonderful man. Continue reading The End of Limbo

The Bridge Incident

It’s a day like any other…

You’re walking across one of the more high traffic bridges in your city, (there are only three so it does tend to be quite busy) when you suddenly feel a gentle brush against your arm. That oh-so-gentle sweep that travels across, faintly jostling each arm hair just enough that you can feel the movement. Then, another brush, this time across your left eyebrow. You’re starting to feel a little uncomfortable now, so you reach up and brush away the phantom touch and continue walking as though nothing at all is happening.

The caresses continue, across your other arm this time, so you raise it in the air in an attempt to catch a glimpse of your invisible paramore. As you suspected, there is nothing at all there so you lower your arm and keep walking, rubbing your hands up and down your arms as though trying to cleanse them.

You swipe at something on your cheek, and then your nose — and that’s when you see it. Dangling innocently from your raised elbow, about a foot away. It’s the culprit, a tiny little spider that, along with its hoard of compatriots, had been setting traps and lying in wait for the unsuspecting individual who was fool enough to attempt to walk home.

A casual shake of the arm does nothing to dislodge him so you begin to experiment, trying to determine precisely which body part his ingenious silken thread is attached to.

It’s not the elbow as you first surmised, as waving it around in an imitation of a chicken with a broken wing did nothing other than cause him to twitch slightly while still hanging calmly in mid-air.

You realize that his thread seems to be getting shorter, somehow, despite your efforts to make him return to whence he came. He’s still getting closer and closer.

Beginning to panic now, you start waving your other hand around the vicinity of where you think his thread might be, but maybe it’s the slight breeze, or maybe you’re losing your mind, because you can’t seem to make contact with the silken line of doom.

He’s now within striking distance and you’re running out of time, you have to do something! Squatting on the pavement you lower your arm to the ground and try to encourage him to move on his way. The stubborn little jerk doesn’t care one whit for your feelings and remains attached, mocking you.

Unable to bear the obvious contempt he is projecting at you, you do the impossible. You remain in your squat, lower your elbow to the ground and in one incredible feat of human acrobatics you perform a squatting hop, bringing your foot down beside your elbow and permanently remove the little pest.

As you straighten in triumph, a satisfied grin upon your face, you remember where you are, and how many people have just watched you fight for your life.

Against an opponent that was too small for any of them to see.

After giving the entire population of your city undeniable proof that the drug use is clearly on the rise, what can you do but continue home, head held high. No one else might understand what they have just seen, but you know the honour you have just garnered. In the fight Humans VS Spiders, after all the struggle and torment, you have finally gained yourself another point.

The tides have been turned, they cannot stop us now.

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You: 2
Spiders: 3,567

It’s on.

(In related news: The last time a win of this magnitude was achieved was November 5, 2012)

The Layover

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As evidenced by the Kanji on the aircraft, this photo is not from my travels. :P

The last time that I was in the Houston Airport was an eternity ago, and yet this time, walking through the corridors, it felt as though it were yesterday. I have spent the last seven months in a paradise, in a place so different from anywhere that I have ever known that it was destined to change me. No way could I live through that and come out the other end exactly the same person that went in.

And yet. I could have sworn that no time had passed at all. A part of me felt as though it had all been a dream. I left my mountains, my dear, incredible mountains, only the afternoon before and I could already feel them slipping into a memory. Continue reading The Layover