This Christmas we thought we would write a letter to our friends and family reflecting this past year and the many wonderful and sometimes challenging things that have happened in our lives and post it on our travel blog.
WInter 2011 and more winter early 2012
By early December 2011 our lives were going along pretty much on auto-pilot and while we were thoroughly loving our home, family and friends and the great time we were having with them, we were desperately missing our extended travel. Grant had done a fair bit of traveling with work and I was lucky enough to join him occasionally, but that was all business (pretty much anyways) and not really what we love. We discussed at length our options. We could request a year leave of absence from our employers and really see the world. We could both quit our jobs and travel indefinitely and see where we landed. But each time we arrived at the same conclusion. We need money to travel. But not as much as we needed to continue to live our lifestyle in Vancouver. Then one day, December 14th to be exact, I came home and announced that after 12 years, I had been told today that I was no longer needed in my job. Right out of the blue. We never saw that coming. In the priceless words of Grant’s late Grandfather, “You could have knocked me over with an axe!”. (He meant feather but it made him laugh when he thought of it).
We spent Christmas 2011 dealing with the emotional roller-coaster that was this memorable event. Now what?
Christmas was wonderful just the same. Surrounded by family and fun. Logan and Jake are getting bigger. Brett and Braxton arrived on the scene in time for Christmas. And there was a wedding – Blodwyn and Jim got married and it was fun to celebrate another happy event.
Then one day, just after New Years, Grant came home with an idea. What if he were to transfer from his current job as Head of Technical Training at CHC Head Office and return to the Engineer Touring Pool as a touring Engineer doing 6 weeks on / 6 weeks off? We could rent out our Vancouver home and I could join Grant on tour and we could travel on the 6 weeks off time. This was an interesting idea and we would spend some time considering it. This was exciting!
Once we decided to put our plan in motion, March arrived and it was time to pack up and head off to France for 5 weeks for a new aircraft type course. The south of France actually. Aix en Provence. Although we have been to France a few times and always loved it, we had never considered Provence as a destination. Well what an amazing place. The food, the wine, the scenery. All amazing. We had a fantastic 5 weeks there and even made some new friends.
With the course complete, it was time for us to get back to Vancouver and for Grant to find a replacement for his position as this was a requirement for us to move forward.
Our plans were finally coming together. We sold the car (easier on me than Grant I think). Grant had a whirlwind 10 day trip to Brazil, Scotland and Norway to get his new replacement up to speed. Partner came down to visit while Grant was away and after Skyping with Grant to say that we were having a quiet night, we ran into our friends Gurk and Kerri and we had one of the funnest nights. Too much wine and a little karaoke got us home about 5 am. Blodwyn came for a sleep-over too that week and again too much fun.
We headed to Miri, Malaysia in July for our first 6 week tour. Life at the Marriott was pretty good and we loved the hot weather. Then home again we thought for a final time til summer 2013…….
Our plan was to rent out our home on the 6 weeks off when we returned home and to get our remaining ducks in a row. Easier said than done of course.
We had a great summer. Spent time in Birch Bay with the family. 10 days boating with Rudy and Johann, playing a lot of farmers rummy. Winner winner chicken dinner with Grant being the grand champion. The winner of each game had to do a shot of whipped cream vodka. Mostly we were docked at Ekins Point and it was glorious. We then spent a few days at Manning with Lance and Liz. Hanging out, eating and drinking, fly-fishing for Rainbow trout, shooting guns and playing badminton. We also had a great long weekend with friends Don and Pam in Hillsboro Oregon celebrating Pam’s retirement with many of their friends. Grant finally perfected his Gin and Tonics.
Lots of dinners and drinks with friends as we prepared to leave for our next tour. September came and we were unsure where Grants next tour would be and exactly when. To make a long story short – Grant ended up being sent to Den Helder, Netherlands for 2 weeks that ultimately turned into a 6 week tour. We had been dragging our feet renting out the condo and doing the final things needed but now we were under the gun. After Grant left, I found someone to lease the condo and put our final few boxes in our storage locker. I joined Grant in Holland and spent just over 3 weeks there. We had two trips to Belgium moving some aircraft and that was great. We celebrated our 10th Anniversary in Bruges.
Grant finished his 2nd tour at the end of November and we headed to London for a few days and visited with Jodi and Jeremy. Then off to Morocco for 10 days followed by 3 weeks in Palermo Sicily. Today, December 23 we are in London and the Christmas lights are beautiful.
We arrive back in Vancouver on December 24th for Christmas with family and friends.
2012 was a great year. It took Grant to 14 different countries and me to 11. Some countries numerous times. We did a lot of thinking and talking about what life is really all about. It’s amazing how differently you look at the world and its trappings when you live out of a backpack and plan to do so for the foreseeable future.
We have no idea where 2013 will take us but we look forward to whatever it brings.
Health, Happiness and a very Merry Christmas to all!