My dad is 92.  He and my mom had a good life I guess.  Reflections of their lives and their happiness have been blurred over the years, as so many childhood memories are.   My mom passed away in 2001, and I am always a little haunted by the bone-deep inkling that while she had made her life in Canada with my Dad, her heart always remained in her home country, England.  Did she leave us with any regrets?  A never-realized yearning to be back in England, with her siblings?  I will never know. 

Mom and Dad – still practically kids themselves

My dad has since remarried and is very happy with his new wife.  She got the new and improved version of my dad.  Time has softened his sharp edges.  I’m pleased that he is not lonely, as I live a handful of provinces away.  Yet, at times, when I talk about my dreams of travel, of new experiences, of perhaps living in another country, he will counter (a little wistfully) that now he is just too old to travel, and that he should have done more when he was younger. 

There it is, that hint of regret.  It’s like a scratch in the middle of your back that you can never quite reach.  And my itch is growing ever more present, slowly seeping from my more easily ignored subconscious into my peskily noticeable conscious mind. 

I have always envied those people who were willing and able to throw caution to the wind and embrace the unknown.  They would take chances with their lives, their futures, and give up stability to chase their dreams.  But I could never do that.  I’d been relying on myself financially since I was a teenager.  There was no one to bail me out financially.  I was buying my own clothes at 14, bought my first car at 17, and moved out on my own at 20.  So I had to be smart.  I had to be sensible.  I had to plan and save and think over each and every purchase.  So exciting isn’t it?  I know!  But I very rarely had to truly worry about money, the way my mom did.  I can still remember her sitting at the kitchen table and crying because there wasn’t enough money.  I did not want to ever feel that way.  It was an unshakeable part of me as I moved into my adult years. 

I chose good job opportunities that offered the decent money, the benefits, and the personal challenge.  But of course it was a challenge within the framework of my comfort zone.   

Now I creep ever closer to the half century of my life.  How the hell did that happen??  Yet here I am, and while I’ve pushed at the boundaries of my comfort zone, bent the walls here and there to test myself, I have never broken them wide open with possibility.  It was too … scary.  What if I failed?  What if I lost what I’d built over the years?   I talked about it for years.  But I was never able to pull the trigger.

Then it all changed.  My friend, who had already changed up his life and moved to another province, did it again.  He gave up his job, and traveled to Europe for two months.  When he told me what he’d planned, I was thrilled for him, but pissed at myself.  Here was Ron, shaking things up, and I was still sitting in my safe little comfort zone in Victoria.  And I thought to myself, “Lynn, you’re such an asshole”.  So I called my travel agent, Colleen, and booked a flight.  I would fly to Lisbon, Portugal on September 1, 2017.  I would stay for at least six months.  If all went well, a year.  If it went really well, perhaps I’d stay forever.  Suddenly, things seemed… possible.  My boss, always kind and generous, agreed to give me a year sabbatical from work.  I don’t know another doctor that would do that for their employee. 

So now, I am trying to organize, and wrap up my life, at least temporarily, here in Victoria.  I am selling off possessions, and trying to decide what I’ll take with me.  I’m selling my car and giving up my apartment.  I am making arrangements for my beloved kitties, Millie and Lucas.  And on September 1st, I’ll board a flight to Lisbon and face an exciting and unknown adventure.  Then on to Spain, and ultimately Italy.

Nima and I in Budapest

Happily, my friend Nima is travelling with me for the first two weeks.  We will explore Portugal together!  We are travel soul mates, and this is our first trip abroad together since we met in Berlin on an Intrepid tour a couple of years ago.  Oh yes, and I’m currently in training, having a Portugese wine from the Douro Valley, a Spanish Roija , and Italian Chianti perched on my wine rack.  But we all know it will be much much cheaper to buy there!!  Stay tuned!

 

 

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