Settling down or new adventure?

Martello Tower in Quebec City
One of my favourites places in Québec City. Martello Tower and the St. Lawrence River

By now you probably all know I’ve been back in Canada for a while already. And as it was to be expected, it’s been rather interesting, difficult and challenging. Visiting my friends and family, reconnecting and spending time together all while being fully aware that it is, once again, temporary. Trying to see people, but also having days where I wonder if it’s even worth the effort as I know I’ll pack my bag and leave once again.

The last few times I had talked to my parents before deciding to come back, we had talked about how my grandparents are getting older. My grandfather is starting to get confused and not that long ago my grandmother fell. She’s been using a walking aid for the last few months. She’ll get back to her normal state, but it does take a lot longer when you are reaching a certain age. I came back mostly because I didn’t want to have regrets later on and spent time with them while I could.

Same goes with my parents and friends. Being away when you can video chat is one thing, but when you can’t see them, you feel much farther away. And if I’m being totally honest, skyping has nothing to do with actually hugging people, or spending time together, cooking, laughing, arguing. Truly living together.

Even before I decided to come back, my biggest fear was to feel stuck back home and not knowing how to leave again. Drama queen, I know! Sure enough, I did find myself in this situation but as I’ve done it before, I knew I could do it again.

Considering settling down

I have to admit it. I’ve been considering staying in Québec and settling down. It didn’t last long, mind you, but I still did ask myself: Do you still want to travel and move all the time, meeting people every day but not necessarily creating meaningful relationships? It’s been really good to have my friends and family with me. And with most of my friends now either married with a bunch of kids or talking about having them it made me wonder.

During my thinking about family life and the meaning of a fully lived life, some of my friends still travelling contacted me. All with amazing different projects in various places in the world. Considering of maybe catching up with them somewhere on the road got me so excited, I realized that while kids are cute, and I do understand the need for some people to have them there’s no way that’s where I am at the moment. So no settling down for me quite yet!

I’ve been journaling every day for about a year now and as I’ve written in my journal previously: Even though I am going back to Canada for a little bit I really doubt I will be able to stay and settle there so there’s probably no need to worry about it. It’s okay to feel like going back home and actually going. Every so often I need to remind myself that it is not a failure to stop moving for a bit as my goal was always to travel and go back from time to time.

Sometimes it’s quite good to look back and realize you’ve known things all along. You just got lost in the maze of your thoughts and forgot along the way.

Even on holiday in a small cabin, I have to make sure to get a workout in!
Even on holiday in a small cabin, I have to make sure to get a workout in!

Slow-travels

I’ve had way too much free time on my hands lately, which means I’ve been thinking and over analyzing everything. Knowing me, you know this is a very common occurrence. I can’t help it. Which is why I usually try to keep myself busy to stay out of my mind’s web of never ending questions about life and it’s meaning.

During one of my many involuntary thinking sessions, I came to realize one thing. I found out that all my favourite places in the world had one thing in common. They are all places where I spent 40 days or more. It’s hard to know if I like the place because I stay longer or if I stay longer because I like the place, however, I do know that staying in one place or a country for a little longer, allows me to make local friends, discover the cultural differences and finally understand the public transport systems.

Having finally realized that (I can be quite slow to understand things sometimes…), I will keep this number in mind. 40 days. Another great thing about this number is that for many countries it is still within the allowed duration of stay without a visa.

Visiting the maritime museum and the kid's park...
Visiting the maritime museum… and the kid’s park in L’Islet, Canada

Temporary break before a new adventure

While I was wondering if coming back was the right decision for me, I do know now that it was. I needed a break. I needed to come back and experience life as it was before, just to make sure I am still living the life I want. I needed to take care of myself. And I needed to work on my relationships with my friends and family members. Relationships do not fix themselves if you do not work on them. So, if only for this, it was worth coming back.

After thinking about my options, I decided the best use of my time and energy at the moment was to go back to Calais. I’m leaving today, flying straight from Quebec City to Paris and then catching a ride to the Help Refugees warehouse where I spent about one month volunteering last winter. This time, I’m going back for a few months as a warehouse manager.

Once again. I am sad to leave my family and friends behind, especially after having such a great time but the excitement of having yet another blank book to fill is still as strong as ever.

A special note to my family and friends: thank you for loving and supporting me in all my travels and adventure. I know it would be a lot easier if I stayed put in one place, so the fact that you agree to put up with my itchy feet means a lot to me! I know I don’t say it often so here it is: I love you.

To learn more about the refugees and the situation in Calais or to find out how you could get involved, visit the Help Refugees website. You can come see me in Calais to volunteer, or if you prefer, you can donate money or even have some of the much-needed items on this list delivered straight to the warehouse, ensuring a quick delivery to the people in need in the Jungle. On behalf of the amazing people stuck in terrible conditions, thanks!

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