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

God On The Rocks

“Please let there be no one at my rock,” I’d whisper silently, picking up the pace. The deeply wooded trails behind me, I’d step out onto the promontory of rock and take the giant breath I’d been holding inside for too long. It was here at the edge of the world, all sky and ocean, that my body could lift the mask from its daily façade.

Lighthouse Park (2)In the months following my daughter’s diagnosis, a visit to this sacred spot became a weekend ritual; the one place I could find solace in a world falling apart around me. Lighthouse Park, a summation of all that’s beautiful about Vancouver, was my go-to place.

I’d head directly to the pocket of rock carved, it seemed, just for me to hunker down and take refuge from the world. Most times I went there to cry, for a life that was ‘never meant to turn out this way’. Other times I would talk to ‘God’, the Universe, whoever might be listening. “I wish for a long and healthy life for my daughter Rachel,” I’d say out loud, hoping that audible prayers might take precedence over the silent kind.

In later months when the sun had warmed deep in the Earth I’d lay back, arms outstretched on the ancient rock letting it absorb all of me, the weight of worry shifting from me to Her, without question or conversation, judgment or sympathy. Some alchemical healing began to work its magic.

When my daughter’s tumour was thought to be malignant, my rock beckoned more and more. Conversations with ‘God’ came thick and fast. Then came that unforgettable day. Curled up on my side, the hypnotic motion of waves and tide had held me captive for hours. I needed to begin the journey home. As I peeled my body from the rock and opened my eyes I saw it; the most perfect rainbow plastered across the skies of West Vancouver’s shoreline. A new bout of tears clouded my vision. But this time, I was smiling too. Certain that my spoken prayers had been heard, I lay down again and listened. Here’s what ‘God’ had to say:

“There’s always beauty in pain. Go find it.

And don’t worry, I’ve got this one.”

Never before or since did I believe in the power of prayer or feel accompanied by something larger, so much as on that day.

Each time I see a rainbow I smile at the memory of that day’s vision. I know now that great beauty originates in the graceful acceptance of sadness. As Marcel Proust said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”

Unlike grief, nature is predictable. Its ebb and flow, its seasons and cycles offer us hope when little else can. To find our special places in the natural world is a calling we each must discover. My rock at Lighthouse Park, a meeting of land and sea, was the place I found to grapple with profound and painful change. Where’s yours? Where do you go to find peace, to mend your heart, maybe even talk to ‘God’?