Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

“And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.”
-Dr. Suess
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On this day last year, I was in California. I had just driven down from San Fransisco to Los Angeles and spent my first couple of days exploring the quintessential LA sites, such as the Hollywood Walk of Fame and took a bus tour of Beverly Hills, Mulholland drive and various “celebrity” homes. This particular morning, I woke early and made my way to Beverly Hills again, but this time with visions of living out my Pretty Woman fantasy (minus the escort/wealthy businessman part, of course). After taking some photos of the quiet streets and classic signage, I found an adorable little restaurant for breakfast. I had a mimosa type brunch cocktail aptly called “Pretty Woman” and sat there, munching on my enormous omelette, feeling bewildered that this was currently my life. I was sitting on Rodeo Drive, sipping a cocktail and anticipating a (very small) shopping spree on the three-block landmark I’d only ever seen on TV. Who was I? In five short days I’d be living out my bucket list Coachella experience in Indio, California, but not before galavanting around the infamous Venice Beach, Malibu, Santa Monica Pier and Palm Springs.
Is this real life?
Today, I’m sitting at home, typing on my laptop and looking through old photos. I love taking tonsĀ of photos and sometimes have to remind myself to live in the moment. But today I’m grateful for my shutterbug qualities and reminisce on the memories; closing my eyes to get a glimpse of the sun on my face and the salt air around me. Today is exactly one month of my new reality-quarantine. Thanks to the COVID-19 virus there is literally a global pandemic occurring. Starting in China and expanding all over the world, entire countries enter lockdown. Thankfully in Canada, we haven’t gotten to that stage, yet. Everyone stockpiled toilet paper, hand sanitizer and cleaning products and I’m nervous to leave my apartment even to walk my dog. The studios I teach Pilates at have been closed to curb the spread of the virus, as have most stores and restaurants deemed non-essential. Other cities, such as New York, are in crisis mode, flying doctors and nurses in as a desperate attempt to save lives and continue the fight. Front line workers are in a seemingly losing battle against illness, fatigue and dwindling medical supplies.
Is this real life?
Life is a wild, unpredictable ride; it’s what happens when you’re busy making plans. There are heartache and despair, death and sorrow, joy and happiness. It’s all intertwined and inevitable. Next year will bring more challenges and more successes. Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
“So be sure when you step. Step with great care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act.”
-Dr. Suess

Start to Finish

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Today is a special day because it is exactly one year since I left Toronto for Paris, France! I wanted to tackle Paris this week but as it is with life, things come up. So I’ve decided to instead give you a list of everywhere I actually went on my trip. Until now I’ve only written about certain places I’ve gone, so I thought by giving the whole list then you could request a place to hear about. Sound good?
So here it is! In order from start to finish:
1. Paris, France
2. Giverny, France
3. Mont St. Michel, France
4. Geneva, Switzerland
5. Montreux, Switzerland
6. Verona, Italy
7. Rome, Italy
8. Florence, Italy
9. Positano, Italy
10. Cinque-Terre, Italy
11. Nice, France
12. Cannes, Italy
13. Eze, France
14. Monaco, France
15. Lyon, France
16. St. Tropez, France
17. Antibes, France
18. Munich, Germany
19. Prague, Czech Republic
20. Berlin, Germany
21. Copenhagen, Denmark
22. Amsterdam, Netherlands
23. Bruges, Belgium (stopover in Brussels)
24. London, England
25. Edinburgh, Scotland
26. Dublin, Ireland
27. Marbella, Spain
28. Seville, Spain
29. Barcelona, Spain
30. Bilbao, Spain
31. St. Julian’s, Malta (including Valletta and Gozo)
32. Athens, Greece
33. Santorini, Greece
34. Crete
35. Ayia Napa, Cyprus
C’est tous!
So let me know if there is anywhere specific you want to hear about next week! This truly was a once in a lifetime adventure filled with incredible experiences and amazing new friends. I lost my father almost 3 years ago and it hit me incredibly hard. I was just sort of floundering; at a loss for what was next. It sounds silly but this trip put me back together. I feel more like myself again; I feel joy again. Of course I still miss him terribly, that never goes away. June 4th was his birthday and with Father’s Day, it is tough. Today, at the one year mark, I am feeling sad and nostalgic. Right now I’m sitting at work and wishing I was on a plane instead, but I’ll be off again soon enough. Until then, I have my blog to keep my memories vivid and my photos to reminisce over. No matter where life takes me, this trip will always be one of the best times in my life. It could not have been any better if I had dreamt it, even the weather was perfect. I know how lucky I am and I hope I’m half as lucky in the future.

June 13, 2013- October 1, 2013

(Photos above: Eiffel Tower and me in Cyprus. The start and finish of my trip.)