Moments In My Travel Reap New Realizations

Travel At Forty Five
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Travel At Forty Five
Moments In My Travel Reap New Realizations
Quadra Sunset

There are certain photos which capture the essence of a person, or in this case a relationship. Although my daughter never admits her admiration, it can be captured. For a split second, you can see it. Her eyes sparkle in such a way that her feelings seem to shine right out of her soul, baring all her tender emotions. At least this is what I like to think. It is a photo like this which I hold onto when what she says in a moment of haste conveys a very different side of her personality. It is common for a teenager to blurt out unkind statements. It is as if the words are bullets which leave the gun and cannot be brought back. The damage will be done. I know, because I was once this kind of youngster, with heat thrown towards my parents. It is part of the process of growing up. And no amount of travelling will make it worse. When asked if we were crazy to travel with our offspring at this point in their lives, we knew they would act as they will, no matter the location. It is the season of their lives.

Travel AT Forty Five
Moments In My Travel Reap New Realizations
Maple Leaf Painted Rocks

Does the fact that we are Canadians make us prone to wander? I read somewhere, that we move from place to place, far more than our neighbors to the South. Maybe our ancestry contains genes of wanderlust, driving us to seek other places, for a spell. To visit for a while or to live for longer, we are setting aside everything we know for sure. It is a little scary, but our excitement keeps stirring us towards the goal of leaving. To experience the unknown through the filter of a country of immigrants is a different point of view. Most of the world has a deeper sense of being rooted in their homeland. We are not so firmly attached. Yet, we rest in the knowledge that we can and will come home. Hopefully, when that time comes, we will have a deeper sense of gratitude for the privilege of being Canadian.

Travel At Forty Five
Moments In My Travel Reap New Realizations
Cooking Oysters

The ability to roll with it might be something a person is born with. Taking in new information and finding a space in your heart to hold it, might be a little-known talent. Many of us have a destination we are seeking and nothing will stand in our way. Those with a one-track mind, cannot see something we are not looking for, even if it is ten feet tall. Whatever the unrequested distraction is, even if it is a better option, might as well be invisible. The easily distracted mind, on the other hand, has no problem going with the flow. This is the kind of person who sees the potential of fun and cannot help but say yes. A 5-gallon bucket of oysters when you are camping, why yes, I’ll take that. Even if all six people in our group were keen, that is still a lot of rich shellfish to consume. The task fell to only three. It was but the first lesson in compromises. Also, there is no such thing as fun for the whole family, at the same time.

Travel At Forty Five
Moments In My Travel Reap New Realizations
Be open to whatever comes next

but be present in this moment. In this day and age, it is not easy to be comfortable where you are planted. There is a constant push from the past and pull from the future to be in motion. There are so few times in our lives where we are called to stand comfortably in the middle. Don’t over think it, just be. It is in this sense of peace where we enjoy life. It is only by experiencing this joy that we are truly ready for what comes next.

Travel At Forty Five
Moments In My Travel Reap New Realizations
Life is too short to be anything but happy.

Life does not feel short. It feels really, really long. Particularly to a teenager. I know, because I distinctly remember being one. Whenever an old person told me how fast my life would pass me by, I wanted to scream. How could they begin to understand my lived experience? They had no idea. Then, somewhere around age forty, those same old people, seemed very wise indeed. In the blink of an eye, my children had become teenagers. At that rate, the next time I turned around they would be having children of their own. Something had to be done. The only way to press pause was to do something radically different. The days had to be lived with such distinction that they would not be easily confused with all the others. Would they all be happy? Maybe not. But travel has a way of shaking things out of place. When life settles, hopefully, the days will be remembered as happy ones.

Travel At Forty Five
Moments In My Travel Reap New Realizations
Catalonia, Land Of Many Flags.

We come from a distinctly diverse nation. While there are only two official languages, you can close your eyes in any city across the land and sometimes not know where in the world you are. Tolerance and acceptance are a hallmark of living in Canada. It is, therefore, an easy mistake to think that other places act in the same manner. But it was not always this way. Not so long ago, there was a threat of Quebec separation which had the world holding their breath, wondering which way the vote would fall. It seemed as if history was repeating itself in Catalonia with a vote to decide if they would succeed from Spain and form their own nation. What nobody understood, least of all the Catalonians was the degree to which the constitution of Spain was being challenged. Under threat, Spain used its full powers to bring Catalonia into line. Maybe due to the language barrier and being from a place where separation was defeated, it was hard to understand the passion with which the Catalonians brought to bear. From my perspective, they lived in an amazing part of the world, distinct in many ways, but united within Spain since 1492. For eight centuries prior, the Moors reigned over the Iberian-peninsula. What did they expect to return to? How could life get any better? Questions for another time.

Are your pants on fire? This and other lost in translations would rule the day. Which is to be expected. Since we only speak English, it is easy to be very forgiving of the mispronunciations which non-native speakers make. It is equally understandable when we encounter no English whatsoever. After all, why should we expect everyone to speak our language? What we did not appreciate was how difficult it would be to use Spanish in Barcelona. Under normal circumstances, it might not be perceived as such an insult. But these were heady times. A region of people who thought they were about to become a nation. At least that was what the politicians had promised. However, in the end, it turned out to be a pretty serious miscalculation of the Spanish constitution. One which would ultimately leave the separatist leadership in various forms of legal trouble. From a foreigner’s perspective, it truly seemed as if each side was speaking a language the other did not understand.
Moments In My Travel Reap New Realizations
Que pasa?

Are your pants on fire? This and other lost in translations would rule the day. Which is to be expected. Since we only speak English, it is easy to be very forgiving of the mispronunciations which non-native speakers make. It is equally understandable when we encounter no English whatsoever. After all, why should we expect everyone to speak our language? What we did not appreciate was how difficult it would be to use Spanish in Barcelona. Under normal circumstances, it might not be perceived as such an insult. But these were heady times. A region of people who thought they were about to become a nation. At least that was what the politicians had promised. However, in the end, it turned out to be a pretty serious miscalculation of the Spanish constitution. One which would ultimately leave the separatist leadership in various forms of legal trouble. From a foreigner’s perspective, it truly seemed as if each side was speaking a language the other did not understand.

Travel At Forty Five
Moments In My Travel Reap New Realizations
Christopher Columbus For Spain

The statue of Christopher Columbus in Barcelona, at Port Vell, provides a strong reminder of his accomplishments. An Italian born explorer who discovered many places, laying claim to the New World for Spain. This was possible because Ferdinand and Isabella, with their respective lands, brought together Aragon and Castille. In 1492, with this combined might, they drove out the Moors and ended the 8 centuries occupation of the Iberian Peninsula. The agreement with Christopher Columbus was made in Granada, the last of the regions to come back under Spanish rule. As we walked by this statue throughout our stay in Barcelona, with the political crisis raging on, I was struck by how strange it was that Catalonia wanted to fracture from Spain, when bringing the country together had been so hard won.

Travel At Forty Five
Moments In My Travel Reap New Realizations
Paella At Home

Paella is serious business in much of Spain. It is not uncommon to see these massive cooking vessels at private homes, much the same as an outdoor grill in other parts of the world. On this day, we were lucky enough to be invited to the feast for All Saints Day. The Christian celebration stems from a belief that there is a powerful spiritual bond between those in heaven (the "Church triumphant"), and the living (the "Church militant"). While the reason for the lunch party and the day off work originates in a religious observation, our experience didn’t feel particularly holy. There was much food and drink, starting at 2pm and still in full swing when left at 7pm.

Travel At Forty Five
Moments In My Travel Reap New Realizations
Sagrada Familia

Antoni Gaudí might marvel at how long it is taking to finish his magnum opus. The Sagrada Família, as a feat of engineering it is beyond compare. As an architectural masterpiece, there are few other places like it in the world. As a place of worship, one can reportedly feel the connection between earth and the heavens. There is an essence when inside, taking in all the facts of construction which are truly remarkable. Words do not do justice to the experience of this fantastic place. Plan ahead. Buy your tickets online, well in advance. Go and enjoy!

What I have learned as I travel:

1. Quadra sunset

There are certain photos which capture the essence of a person, or in this case a relationship. Although my daughter never admits her admiration, it can be captured. For a split second, you can see it. Her eyes sparkle in such a way that her feelings seem to shine right out of her soul, baring all her tender emotions. At least this is what I like to think.

It is a photo like this which I hold onto when what she says in a moment of haste conveys a very different side of her personality. Teenagers commonly blurt out unkind statements. It is as if the words are bullets which leave the gun and cannot be brought back. The damage will be done. I know, because I was once this kind of youngster, with heat thrown towards my parents. It is part of the process of growing up. And no amount of travelling will make it worse. When asked if we were crazy to travel with our offspring at this point in their lives, we knew they would act as they will, no matter the location. It is the season of their lives.

2. Maple leaf painted rocks

Does the fact that we are Canadians make us prone to wander? I read somewhere, that we move from place to place, far more than our neighbors to the South. Maybe our ancestry contains genes of wanderlust, driving us to seek other places, for a spell. To visit for a while or to live for longer, we are setting aside everything we know for sure. It is a little scary, but our excitement keeps stirring us towards the goal of leaving. To experience the unknown through the filter of a country of immigrants is a different point of view.

Most of the world has a deeper sense of being rooted in their homeland. We are not so firmly attached. Yet, we rest in the knowledge that we can and will come home. Hopefully, when that time comes, we will have a deeper sense of gratitude for the privilege of being Canadian.

3. Cooking oysters

The ability to roll with it might be something a person is born with. Taking in new information and finding a space in your heart to hold it, might be a little-known talent. Many of us have a destination we are seeking and nothing will stand in our way. Those with a one-track mind, cannot see something we are not looking for, even if it is ten feet tall.

Whatever the unrequested distraction is, even if it is a better option, might as well be invisible. The easily distracted mind, on the other hand, has no problem going with the flow. This is the kind of person who sees the potential of fun and cannot help but say yes. A 5-gallon bucket of oysters when you are camping, why yes, I’ll take that. Even if all six people in our group were keen, that is still a lot of rich shellfish to consume. The task fell to only three. It was but the first lesson in compromises. Also, there is no such thing as fun for the whole family, at the same time.

4. Be open to whatever comes next

…but be present in this moment. In this day and age, it is not easy to be comfortable where you are planted. There is a constant push from the past and pull from the future to be in motion. There are so few times in our lives where we are called to stand comfortably in the middle. Don’t over think it, just be. It is in this sense of peace where we enjoy life. It is only by experiencing this joy that we are truly ready for what comes next.

5. Life’s too short to be anything but happy

Life does not feel short. It feels really, really long. Particularly to a teenager. I know, because I distinctly remember being one. Whenever an old person told me how fast my life would pass me by, I wanted to scream. How could they begin to understand my lived experience? They had no idea.

Then, somewhere around age forty, those same old people, seemed very wise indeed. In the blink of an eye, my children had become teenagers. At that rate, the next time I turned around they would be having children of their own. Something had to be done. The only way to press pause was to do something radically different. The days had to be lived with such distinction that they would not be easily confused with all the others. Would they all be happy? Maybe not. But travel has a way of shaking things out of place. When life settles, hopefully, the days will be remembered as happy ones.

6. Catalonia, land of many flags

We come from a distinctly diverse nation. While there are only two official languages, you can close your eyes in any city across the land and sometimes not know where in the world you are. Tolerance and acceptance are a hallmark of living in Canada. It is, therefore, an easy mistake to think that other places act in the same manner. But it was not always this way.

Not so long ago, there was a threat of Quebec separation which had the world holding their breath, wondering which way the vote would fall. It seemed as if history was repeating itself in Catalonia with a vote to decide if they would succeed from Spain and form their own nation. What nobody understood, least of all the Catalonians was the degree to which the constitution of Spain was being challenged.

Under threat, Spain used its full powers to bring Catalonia into line. Maybe due to the language barrier and being from a place where separation was defeated, it was hard to understand the passion with which the Catalonians brought to bear. From my perspective, they lived in an amazing part of the world, distinct in many ways, but united within Spain since 1492. For eight centuries prior, the Moors reigned over the Iberian-peninsula. What did they expect to return to? How could life get any better? Questions for another time.

7. ¿Qué pasa?

Are your pants on fire? This and other lost in translations would rule the day. Which is to be expected. Since we only speak English, it is easy to be very forgiving of the mispronunciations which non-native speakers make. It is equally understandable when we encounter no English whatsoever. After all, why should we expect everyone to speak our language?

What we did not appreciate was how difficult it would be to use Spanish in Barcelona. Under normal circumstances, it might not be perceived as such an insult. But these were heady times. A region of people who thought they were about to become a nation. At least that was what the politicians had promised. However, in the end, it turned out to be a pretty serious miscalculation of the Spanish constitution. One which would ultimately leave the separatist leadership in various forms of legal trouble. From a foreigner’s perspective, it truly seemed as if each side was speaking a language the other did not understand.

8. Christopher Columbus for Spain

The statue of Christopher Columbus in Barcelona, at Port Vell, provides a strong reminder of his accomplishments. An Italian born explorer who discovered many places, laying claim to the New World for Spain. This was possible because Ferdinand and Isabella, with their respective lands, brought together Aragon and Castille.

In 1492, with this combined might, they drove out the Moors and ended the 8 centuries occupation of the Iberian Peninsula. The agreement with Christopher Columbus was made in Granada, the last of the regions to come back under Spanish rule. As we walked by this statue throughout our stay in Barcelona, with the political crisis raging on, I was struck by how strange it was that Catalonia wanted to fracture from Spain, when bringing the country together had been so hard won.

9. Paella at home

Paella is serious business in much of Spain. It is not uncommon to see these massive cooking vessels at private homes, much the same as an outdoor grill in other parts of the world. On this day, we were lucky enough to be invited to the feast for All Saints Day.

The Christian celebration stems from a belief that there is a powerful spiritual bond between those in heaven (the “Church triumphant”), and the living (the “Church militant”). While the reason for the lunch party and the day off work originates in a religious observation, our experience didn’t feel particularly holy. There was much food and drink, starting at 2pm and still in full swing when left at 7pm.

10. Sagrada Família

Antoni Gaudí might marvel at how long it is taking to finish his magnum opus. The Sagrada Família, as a feat of engineering it is beyond compare. As an architectural masterpiece, there are few other places like it in the world. As a place of worship, one can reportedly feel the connection between earth and the heavens. There is an essence when inside, taking in all the facts of construction which are truly remarkable. Words do not do justice to the experience of this fantastic place. Plan ahead. Buy your tickets online, well in advance. Go and enjoy!

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Check out all the articles from Christine. 

Join me on this creative journey. Creating a life I don’t need a vacation from is my path. Part creativity, part connection, always honest, informative and inspiring. I blog 2 times per week at www.dailycreatives.com/blog – see you over there!

Christine Westermark
Christine Westermark Contributor
I am a world traveller, lucky enough to have a loving family who support my dreams to learn, create and give back by designing creative content which enables a lifestyle we don’t need a vacation from.
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