Fun Facts and Figures For 798 Days – CHECK IT OUT

I wish I knew how to create graphs and charts to make things eye-catching, but I don’t.

Formulas on a whiteboard

With the arrival of a New Year and writing about my travels, I figured compiling some facts and figures about my recent mobile lifestyle might be fun.

HERE’S WHAT I FOUND

Days with no fixed address – 798

Keyboard with search button

Homes Slept In  – 29 (see below)

(17 as house sitter, 12 visiting family or friends, 3 a combo of)

HOUSE SITS

7 house sits were found through my profile at House Carers and Mind My House

4 house sits were for teaching friends

2 were for friends of friends

1 house sit was for a couple I met in Ireland

1 came from a chance meeting while cross-country skiing

1 was a family member

1 was a business acquaintance

VISITS WITH FRIENDS

My friends in Melbourne and New York City I met in Ireland on a walking tour with David Whyte in 2010.

I met my friend from Perth while she was on teaching exchange at Hollyburn Elementary in 1997.

My friend in Switzerland was a homestay student with my sister. She helped paint my house in exchange for dinners.

My friends in Whistler I’ve known since I first came to Canada in 1982.

THANK YOU

 

LONG STAYS AND SHORT

I visited my daughter in Castlegar 14 times (65 nights in total)…and she still loves me. My sister in North Vancouver put me up 14 times (34 nights in total). Bless her.

Longest stay in one place 64 nights (Llucalcari, Mallorca). I rented the home from a lady in my Zumba class

Number of one-night sleepovers 48 (9 in India), two-nighters, 23 (4 in India)

That’s a lot of packing and unpacking.

OTHER SLEEPING SPOTSOur welcome at Fort Madhogarh Fort Madhogarh

Hotels (24, includes 15 in India)

Planes (8)

Retreat Centres (2)

Luxury Tent (1)

B & B (2)

Homestay (1)

Train (1) – top bunk of three, Pushkar to Delhi, never say never, but never againIndian train

AIR TRAVEL

Airlines flown with – 15

Singapore AirlinesThai Airways check-inQuantas flight Launceston to Melbourne

Best service – Singapore Airlines

Best food – Etihad Airways

Longest flight – Melbourne to Manchester, 27 hours (via Abu Dhabi)

Funniest safety briefing – Frontier Airlines (Spokane to Denver). Guy should be a stand-up comic.

Most entertaining – easyJet (Zurich to Luton). Check out this blog if you haven’t already. http://blivingrock.com/2011/09/ezt-2046-zurich-to-london-row-11/

Of Note

In the three months at my new apartment (Oct 2 – Dec 31, 2013) I have spent three weeks away, at six different locations. Guess it takes a while to change gears.

***********

Bob’s brain tumour affected his mathematical abilities, tough for a man in carpentry. Today  he would have turned 56. So, this little data fix is a timely one.

Be grateful for all your brain does for you

***********

DATA

Homes(29)                                          # of Visits                    Total nights

Castlegar, BC (daughter)                      14                                65

North Vancouver (sister)                        14                                34

Manchester, UK  (sister)                         8                                 19

Langley, Whidbey Is.*~                          7                                 19

Leicester, UK (mother)                           7                                  16

Seattle*~                                                6                                  31

Leicester (father)                                    5                                  10

Nelson, BC*                                           3                                  49

West Vancouver (JR)*                           3                                  39

Melbourne (friend)                                 3                                    7

Berkeley, CA*~                                      2                                  54

Perth, AUS (friend)                                 2                                  44

London (nephew)                                   2                                    2

Mallorca, Spain (rental)                          1                                  64

New York City (friend)                           1                                  40

Tasmania*                                              1                                  54

Duncan, BC*                                          1                                  27

Bunbury, AUS   *                                    1                                  27

Leicester (aunt)*                                     1                                  22

North Vancouver (SS)*                           1                                  19

Nelson (RE)*                                           1                                  18

Edmonds, WA*                                       1                                  17

West End, Vancouver*                           1                                  13

North Vancouver (AH)*                          1                                  13

West Vancouver (SSh)*                          1                                   9

Langley, Whidbey Is. (SD)*                    1                                    7

Biel, Switzerland (friend)                        1                                    6

North Vancouver (SRK)*                         1                                   5

Whistler, BC      (friends)                        1                                    4

*    = housesitting

*~ = combination of house sitting and visiting

Rachel’s Ashes

Today my 23 year-old daughter would have turned 27. She loved to travel. In her final days her dad asked,

“How about mum and I take your ashes with us wherever we travel, so you can keep traveling too?”

She nodded.  Yes.

Rachel’s Ashes is a slideshow of the places she now lives. A legacy of love, a source of deep healing, my faith in new beginnings.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXGlfiLpdyY

La Buena Vida

When in doubt about where you are meant to be, look down at your feet- Buddhist saying –


Llucalcari, a one-street village nestled along Mallorca’s spectacular west coast is my new ‘meant to be’ place. A village that warrants a name on a Google map but not on a road sign. Blink and you miss it. Not surprisingly many new visitors arriving into Palma’s airport after dark, in just-rented vehicles, tackling hair pin bends and glancing down at ‘How To Get To The House’ directions, simply drive on by! 


The bus stop, as it happens, is the lone marker to this dreamlike hamlet. The descent to which resembles a private driveway on a roller coaster. My inner voice, now firmly in the ‘ON’ position, talks me down, down, down, convincing me to take the No Entry lane toward the beckoning ocean. Apparently the only way in, and out. 
  
With exacting precision I maneuver the car into the one remaining teensy space, congratulate myself and step outside. Houses trussed up, all in a row. Not a soul in sight. Probably just as well considering my Spanish illiteracy. What’s “Good evening”? I forget already! With flashlight and careful instructions arrogantly ignored on the back seat, I grasp the house key. The search for my Caserio begins. “This is fun,” I chuckle, like a kid on a scavenger hunt, supremely confident in my detective abilities.

Ten minutes later and I am still out on the street, homeless. The key doesn’t fit the lock. Am I even in the right village I wonder? The derelict church next door invokes chills even the warmest of breezes can’t avert.  A deep down fear brews in my gut. Could there have been some kind of mistake? Unwittingly I try the key in the adjoining property (my neighbours’ apparently) leaving us all half scared to death. “Habla ingles?” I ask in desperation to the blank faces in the doorway. Yet amidst the confusion my arrival had in fact been anticipated and I am redirected to the door I first fumbled failingly to master. A welcome entry befitting sighs, giggles and cold beer waiting patiently for my arrival. 


Part 2
Last year, arriving in Ireland on a week’s retreat with poet David Whyte, we were reminded to take a good look around as we’d never see this place again exactly as we did on this first night. And so it is here. Four weeks and each day reveals something previously unseen, unfelt. And as with any place we inhabit for long enough, a familiarity grows. We get to call it Home. A House of Belonging?
Life here is slow. Days are long. Fertile ground for one to ponder new directions. Boiling the kettle to clean the dishes. Washing clothes by hand. Everything more elemental and necessary to gear down a body and mind. A healing of sorts. Windows recessed deep in stone walls allow for an uncommon darkness and profoundly deep sleep, and ancient doors keep interiors like wine cellars, cool and dark. Once opened, blinded by the light. Reminders of childhood Saturdays spilling out of the local cinema into the bright afternoon light. 
The sun’s rays enter the outside bathroom in the late morning making for a perfect time to bathe. The shower head limps with excess weight in its cradle requiring body convolutions to rinse bubbles from my hair. Errant winds deposit swirling leaves at my feet. I am a million miles away from the life I so recently knew.
A 30 minute walk to Deia, the nearby village with its ‘lifestyles of the rich and famous’ appeal, provide the basic necessities for daily life and the opportunity to greet new friends with the obligatory kissing on both cheeks. Purchases need to be made before the mandatory siesta closures, the heaving weight of bottled water and wine forgotten by years of car ownership. Chocolate cravings have to be planned ahead, if that’s even possible!
Beach access, a 5 minute descent through terraced olive groves and a resident donkey, invite sun lovers the opportunity to spread their nakedness over giant boulders, providing they possess the agility to scale the perilously steep ledges….typically those meant to be seen naked. This is how many ‘take the sun’ on this side of the Atlantic, but as the Buddhist saying goes, ‘When in doubt about where you’re meant to be…’ I look down at my feet and make a swift departure home.

Drivers Wanted?

What’s your driving style? If you’re the Grand Prix type then add Mallorca to your list of travel destinations. For the faint of heart, this is not. 
Travel guidebook warnings are prolific and weighty, …57 hairpin bends – the most terrifying in Mallorca, …need nerves of steel, …boasts 270 degree loops and other harrowing features, provide ample warning for the acrophobics to make other plans. But loving time behind the wheel invites those up for the challenge. Count me in. And if not now, when? 
With warnings under advisement (and recent downhill gear instruction from my daughter) I opt for a first day’s drive to Castell d’Alaro, an ‘extremely narrow road that threads its way along precipitous mountain ridges.’ Choice leads to awareness.

Sa Colabra

Like the ribbon path of a rhythmic gymnast, roads are threaded along precipitous slopes. Marvels of engineering. Spectacular views abound in the peripheral line of vision only. To indulge fully, if only for a fraction of a second, can be costly. Absent cliffside barriers attest to momentary lapses of concentration and lost lives, human and goat.


Dangerously narrow roads allow passing cars only inches in which to navigate. Bikes, scooters, cyclists, hikers, even horses add to the dodge ’em maze, and missed directions means many miles of onward travel before a turn around is possible. 

Getting around this part of the world requires patience and sobriety. Perfect for me. But then there’s always the young and the restless, in a rush to get somewhere…or not. Some take it in their stride. Only behind these unfettered souls can fleeting glimpses of the dramatic seascapes, yawning chasms and homes of the rich and famous (Halle Berry? Sir Bob Geldof?) be gleaned. The occasional rants at atrocious drivers morph into empathy for the poor sod behind the wheel. One day it’ll be me, the old sucker who amasses a trail of cars in her wake. 
The zippy Fiat Panda is back with the rental company. Returning home on the bus, afforded a long look out… and down at one too many burned out car wrecks. Glad to be a passenger for a while.  
Check this out (filming last week!)
The new movie from the Wachoswki brothers (The Matrix triolgy), starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry, has been filming this weekend at the famous beauty spot of Sa Calobra. Filming for ‘Cloud Atlas’ has been taking place all along the rugged  west coast for the past 10 days, with scenes being shot around Soller, Formentor and Puig Major.
Mallorca is doubling for New Zealand and Hawaii, both of which feature in the multi-stranded story by novelist David Mitchell. The spectacular scenery of the west coast, where the Tramuntana mountains fall into the sea, was said to be ideal for the sea scenes in the movie. The beautiful bay in the Port of Soller played host to the replica galleon ship, the Earl of Pembroke which will feature as a pirate ship in the film.