Saturday, 20 September 2014


There is a children's book, Travel Light, by Naomi Mitchison, that says, "Will she stay dragonish and hoard wealth and possessions, or will she travel light?"

I am about to set sail again, this time to go halfway round this big world to give a friend a hug: Ten days in Eastern Europe.

I travel light. Early on, when day tripping and camping with Lily when she was a toddler, I over packed. In the Rockie Mountains I realised that I seriously only needed one small bag and diapers for the both of us for the week. I had packed a stroller we never once used, extra clothes we never wore, we washed the ones we did half way through the trip, and never touched the toys or books we brought. What a waste of space and extra gas to haul stuff all over. Now we pack a small cooler, diapers, and a backpack for each kid and mom. That's all we need and it is enough.

I thought maybe I was being silly, under-prepared even. Still, this was put to the test when I travelled by bus to Georgia in the winter. It worked out just fine.

I don't need much, I wear my bulkiest clothes to travel and pack light. Usually just one backpack though I am being encouraged to take a carry on too, empty, so I can bring things back with me. Maybe. I have not decided yet. It sounds like a good idea, but I am most comfortable with just my backpack.

I wear jeans and a sweater to travel, and my red coat (which is currently missing and I am freaked out about). Boots. Hat. Earrings and necklace.

I pack, 2 skirts, 4 shirts, one nicer dress, underwear, a bar of shampoo soap, and a pair of ballet flats. Then a book to read, phone charger, notebook. Maybe a lip gloss (though that got me in trouble at TSA last time....), maybe an eyeliner and mascara.

All of that fits, usually with my computer, in just my backpack. I travelled to Georgia just like this.

This time, here's where I am struggling......this time I am considering taking my camera (not just my phone camera) and (cue drums of doom) leaving my laptop home.



Even now, as I am sitting here, I have 4 hours to write and what did I do? I complained about the wi-fi connection, messed around on facebook, opened files, made a new station on Pandora, and now I only have 2 hours left.

This is a trip of a lifetime. I mean for it to be the first of many, but it may be the only trip I take. I am going to an ancient city with architecture and history that I have only read about in other languages, studied in graduate school. Perhaps I should be more in the moment than worrying about my laptop. Just a pen and paper and my camera.

Pen ink to paper. How this slows me down! It frustrates me to no end to think slowly, to make mistakes, to scribble. Yet, most of my good work begins as notes in ink scribbled in margins of things. Why not give homage to the ancient places I will breathe and drink by slowing down and stepping back in time, just for a moment.

Ten days. Not a lot of time. Not a lot of hours. Perhaps the break in technology could give me the recharge I yearn for. Even just thinking about leaving my computer behind gives me anxiety. I called my insurance agent to make sure it is covered if it is stolen while travelling (it is), but seriously? I am more concerned about this object than the violence happening nearby where I am going?

Yes. I need to take a break. More of a break than just logging of for a day or a weekend and perhaps putting a couple thousand miles or more between me and the machine will help break the dependency.

This is complicated by the fact that I work from the virtual world, but I am hopeful that my phone will stand in as enough and I can grade from an Internet cafe once or twice.

Thoughts? What would you do? Any tips for international travel?

If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness, and fears. -Cesare Pavese

Saturday, 23 August 2014

When Adventure Calls, Answer. Always.

One lovely Saturday morning, we were going about our chores, when my phone rang. It was Jessica and she invited us on a cave exploring camping under the stars adventure.  I wanted to say no. Housework was already behind and piling up. One look at the kids though, who had also been overwhelmed with the events of July and August, add in some prodding from Chad, and the answer was, "Load the car up and let's go!"

It took 30 minutes to gather camping gear, 30 minutes at the grocery and gas station, and we were on the road! 4 hours later we arrived camp side and met up with Jessica's crew.

There was cave exploring, mud sliding, hiking, rock climbing, creek splashing, signing, laughing, and so very much fun. I got out my cameras and hung back to walk slowly and carefully.

We are grateful to have friends in our life that love adventure and care for us the way that Jessica does. I hope she knows how much she means to us and how much she helped our family when we first met her.