A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: kelshell

Kellie Reflects

Well, Shelley had the great idea to post some final thoughts on our trip. I think when sharing about our adventure, there are many feelings and thoughts that we both share, and if I would ever get my ass in gear (my hat’s off to Shelley for her patience in waiting for me) we have plans to jointly write some farewell words. Today, while I sit perched up in bed, home sick from work with a cold (so quintessential Canadian) while so many things have returned to some semblance of my life before the trip, there are differences.

What is a bit surprising to me, is that the changes I feel that have occurred as a direct result of our trip, are far more subtle then I imagined. When we were designing and envisioning our trip, I had expectations around wanting to ‘shake up’ my life! I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to change in my life, but I was certain that our adventure trip, which was deliberately planned to incorporate cultural living experiences, would provide me insights and alternative ways of seeing things. I had expectations that my life, when I returned home, would look and feel different.

So, here today after being home for over 3 months I am reflecting on the trip and on my original expectations. I certainly did shake up my life! I experienced the lives of others and lived, even for a brief time, in over 13 countries. Shelley and I chose most often to travel how the locals of that country travelled. This made things more challenging at times, but also more rewarding. Don’t get me wrong, we were always still seen as tourists, and were always able to afford whatever we needed, but we attempted to live as culturally authentic as possible. My expectations were certainly met around gaining insights and experiencing how others live, eat, experience joy/sorrow, sing, dance, and communicate. While it’s cliché, there is something so powerful about witnessing others being so happy with what we would consider as having barely nothing.

As I re-settle back into my life here in Canada, of course it’s typical to have feelings of gratitude for being born in a country like Canada, and being blessed with family and friends, and I believe that I have gained a stronger and a more vital sense of this gratitude as a direct result of my trip. I know that we will continue to connect with people we have met on our adventure, and my geographical friend zone has expanded significantly, which is another cool outcome from our trip.

While I know this will fade, I still have daily thoughts about some aspect of the trip. I may be walking and see a sign that triggers a memory or hear a song and know it’s origin. Just the other night I was watching Netflix (Frankie and Gracie episode), and in the show, there was a brief recording playing… I immediately knew that it was a Mongolian throat singer. Then I said to myself “hey, I took Mongolian throat singing lessons, by a famous Mongolian singer, while I was in Mongolia, and then we went to eat some horse meat.” Now you can’t have a better memory then that!!

Posted by kelshell 20:32 Comments (0)

Return to the real world

You can always go home again...

rain 9 °C

Kellie and I decided to each write a piece about being home and then we will give our impression of our trip together. Here goes mine...

It's nice to be home. I arrived back close to Christmas time knowing that I would have work in January for a few months. So I could relax over the holidays and spend time with family and friends. It was a lovely, quiet Christmas in Kelowna. My only concern was the weather as I would be driving over the Coquihalla Highway sometime between the 27th and 31st of December to reach Vancouver Island. I was able to leave on a clear day, December 30th. The road was the worst I've ever seen it, especially the connector between Merritt and Kelowna. Arriving on the Island, I was able to meet Kellie for a quick coffee and then was off to Pam and Dan's for dinner in Ladysmith. Dinner at Pam's never disappoints and we had a great meal and a greater visit. Megan was waiting up for me so we got to talk for a while before bed. Megan's is my home away from home while my place in Kelowna is rented out. I spent New Year's Eve with Jenny and Bonnie with fondue, good wine and great company. Jenny and I talked so late I had to sleep over! Back to work at Clements Centre... it felt so good to be back with everyone there. I have been enjoying my job and my friendships there and will be there full-time until the end of March. After that, it's a mystery, but I have some "irons in the fire." I have adjusted quite well to being home, although for the first few weeks I would stop and think, "hmm, 3 weeks ago I was in..." To all my friends and family who supported and encouraged my journey I say "Thank You!" A woman in Iceland asked me if the trip was life changing. I have to say it wasn't in a grand "aha" kind of way. It reaffirmed my values and beliefs about myself and others. It allowed me to see and experience kindness, joy, sadness, excitement, frustration and a whole host of emotions. It was a trip of so many "firsts." It proved that people are people wherever you go. They have the same hopes and dreams, the same fears and worries. I never felt afraid anywhere. And I would do it again and probably will! Meanwhile, Cathie had a dream that we are going to Italy together so we are planning for September...

One thing I found refreshing in all of the countries we traveled in was how the families we met supported each other and cared for their aging members. Many people commented on our North American culture and how they couldn't understand the concept of continuing care homes for the elderly. It was interesting to see how in the "under" developed countries they took pride in supporting family, considering it an honor and a duty to take care of those who had taken care of them. For all of you who have made tough decisions about your own family members, this is not written as any sort of judgment. I just found that this was something that stood out as a way of life. And it was a common value that we have somehow shifted from in our corner of the world.

Posted by kelshell 23:08 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Videos from the GoPro

various videos

These videos are:

Fish eagle on Lake Naivasha

Lost in Kenya

Maasai village

Snorkelling at Mnemba

Driving to and from Dharamshala and McLeod Ganj

Snorkelling Hikkaduwa reef Sri Lanka

Enjoy these videos. I may upload and post some more...

Posted by kelshell 16:40 Comments (0)

Home again

Back in Canada

overcast 0 °C

I think that Kellie and I should get together and write a final blog post together. I also now have video to add as the gopro footage is all on my laptop. I have just added a few photos to Paris and although I named them all, I don't see the names on there. Hopefully this auto corrects. Tropical snorkelling videos will be uploaded to their respective posts as I am able.

Stay tuned for our grand finale....

Posted by kelshell 15:04 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Intriguing Iceland

Into the cold

sunny -4 °C

I am sitting at the Keflavik airport reflecting on the end of this adventure. I am happy to be returning home and on to the next adventure. Micah has gone back into Reykjavik to stay overnight with a friend fro Kelowna who just moved here for a job. He flies home tomorrow evening. We have had a wonderful time in Iceland. With our rental jeep (manual, which Micah handled superbly) we scoped out the Southeast part of Iceland. Our first stop was Thingvellir park where I braved the Silfra fissure, snorkeling in a dry suit in the 2 degree water between North America and Europe. Kellie and I had reserved wetsuits for this thinking we would want the opportunity to swim down to see things. When I arrived at the parking lot in the dark (sunrise would be later morning closer to 11:00 a.m.) at minus 10, I had already decided on a dry suit. And the young lady from Adventure Vikings immediately suggested that only cold hardy seasoned divers should go with wetsuits so it was a no-brainer. Changing in the open parking lot was just the beginning. With approximately 30 minutes to wait half garbed, I was grateful for Micah's hat and gloves. The wait was just the time it took for the other 4 people in the group to suit up. We were all questioning our decision as different body parts started to go numb. About 3 minutes before we actually left to walk to the water's entrance, I almost gave up. I was literally in pain from the cold. But the thought of water 12 degrees warmer spurred me on. Into the water we went. I would like to say that the gopro footage I have is mine. However, my gopro would turn on, then flash blue and shut down. Another couple had the same problem. But the couple who rented their gopro got the footage and shared it. If I can get it on here once home, I will. Along with warm water snorkeling footage. I remember floating and swimming for the 30 minutes in the clearest water, passing over rocks with tendrils of white wispy seaweed. I am glad I did this but would recommend doing it only in the summer.

Micah had a warm blanket for me when I got changed. He came prepared to share his warm clothes which was so thoughtful. We continued on to Hvollsvollur about 90 km south. Our first stop in a small town with some interesting sights. After checking into our homestay, we ventured back out to the LAVA museum, an interactive attraction that simulates earthquakes, etc. while you learn about the formation of Iceland. It was well worth the entrance fee. The next morning after our picnic breakfast (buy groceries if you go) we left for the three waterfalls at Selandjafoss. These were very beautiful falls with a place to climb up so Micah was able to spend some time communing with nature here. We traveled on to the southeast with hours to drive to our next stop. We found ourselves driving in the dark most of the way as sunset is around 3:45 p.m. We arrived at the horsefarm and visited with the other guests who were all doing ice cave tours the following day. This area is home to the largest glacier on Iceland called Vatnajokull. After waking up to rain, we drove back toward Reykjavik, stopping at a lagoon with chunks of glacier floating in it. Directly across the highway is the Atlantic Ocean so Micah braved the wind and rain to explore a bit. I opted to stay warm in the vehicle. A little further along we came to the next guesthouse and had a nice lunch in the town before checking in. We met a lovely group of Italian young people who thought Kellie's and my travel story was very inspirational to them! On the way back from there we went to a mountainous area overlooking the sea. Micah left to hike and I was not dressed adequately for the cold so I stayed back. We continued on to Vik, a small oceanside town and after arriving back in Reykjavik, settled in for the night. On the 14th we went out early in the morning to one of the Viking museums to have breakfast and explore. It was a very interesting museum detailing the Viking settlement of Iceland and had a full viking ship hanging from the ceiling. This ship had been built in the 1990s by a local crew in order to sail the route of Leif Erickson from Iceland to L'anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland. The ship, called the Islendingur, made this journey in the year 2000 and also continued into the US, stopping at many major ports. As we didn't have enough time here due to our Blue Lagoon entrance time, we opted to return later in the day. The Blue Lagoon was beautiful and although the pools are man made, the thermal water comes from the area. We spent about 2 hours in the pools where the warm water meeting the icy cold air formed a mist over the pools making them quite beautiful and seemingly private. We returned to the museum and looked around some more before going back to the hotel to get ready for dinner with a friend who has recently moved to Iceland for work.

Micah and I decided to walk downtown to meet Dave at a funky market with bars and food kiosks. Dave used to work with Tristan and Micah at Club Penguin and Disney and was in Tristan's band. Most recently he worked for Tristan at Hyper Hippo but decided to take a job with a gaming company in Reyjavik. We had a great meal and visit with Dave and the guys arranged to meet up the next day after I was dropped off at the airport as Micah would be staying at Dave's for an extra night. The following day we leisurely packed and shopped in the quaint downtown before returning the rental vehicle at the airport. Micah took a bus back into town while I waited to board my second last flight. Micah and I had a great time in Iceland and he hopes to return with his wife Kris next October. I hope they can do it!



Posted by kelshell 14:59 Archived in Iceland Comments (2)

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