Travel just to watch the sunset and you will find beauty everywhere.

Goodbyes are not forever. Goodbyes are not the end. They simply mean I’ll miss you, until we meet again.

A little poem I stumbled across on the internet today perfectly sums up how I felt about saying goodbye to Maui a few days ago. I have lots to tell but for now just the sunsets. My oldest came to watch them with me every night. Every night. Sunset pals. Saying goodbye to the day together. Perfect.

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PS other than cropping I’ve left the photos unedited, Mother Nature’s paintbrush at it’s finest.

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A whale of a way to start the day

After our trip to visit family in Chile I made a committment to myself for this trip; I was going to find time for myself everyday to relax, just for me if only for an hour I was going to do it. So, I searched the internet for some yoga classes close to where we would be staying because I knew if I was left to my own devices my committment could easily be derailed. I tried two different studios in Kihei, Maui Yoga Path and Kihei Community Yoga Centre.

I enjoyed all my yoga classes immensely, but Maui Yoga Path worked for me the best it was early in the morning and just a short walk away.

Heading down to my third class of the week I was full of doubts and feeling like each step was just taking a little bit more energy than usual. When I arrived I unrolled my mat onto the short green grass and plopped my butt down while crossing my legs to stare out into the ocean waiting for the class to begin. I wasn’t there a moment when a grey whale breached directly in front of me. My eyes opened wide and my breath just stopped. I quickly looked around and spotted a couple only a few feet to my right when our eyes connected through beaming huge smiles we squeaked out; “did you just SEE that?” simultaneously. It was so unreal we had to check in with each other to confirm it actually happened.

To my further amazement the whale stayed throughout my private lesson, no one else showed up to class, slapping the water with its fin and tail. At one point in her soft yogic voice my instructor asked me to raise my right hand up to the sky and my whale, certainly we were buddies now, raised her fin and just held it there, in a simple salute.

Facing out towards the ocean moving through the class watching my whale moving through her own morning routine filled my soul right up. That coupled with chest openers throughout the session on my short jaunt back to the condo, to my family, I felt like my heart was leading the way. I felt lighter, taller, straighter and stronger all at once, in that moment my life felt blissfully perfect.

My silent exchange with this majestic animal was an acknowledgement of sorts, we were both taking our time. Her a straggler at the end of the migration season, me a wife and mother separated from my pack for a morning, moving through the world, taking in the sunrise, stretching out for the day ahead. Preparing to take on the rest of the journey whether it be a day at the beach with family or an epic journey across oceans we knew our tanks need refilling on this morning.

 

 

The Storm before the Calm

On the eve of our next adventure I stood in the middle of our bedroom surrounded by clothes, luggage, personal grooming items, passports and out came a big sigh, turning on my heel I walked out the door. I wish I could say I was headed for a pedicure or something relaxing like that but as I slipped my unpedicured feet into my shoes I was mentally counting off the number of errands I had to run in order to prepare for our journey. Bank, drug store, bank again because I probably forgot something the first time, post office, etc.

Getting a family of four ready for a vacation is work. To me it always feels a bit like a tornado, everything is whirling around me and I’m holding on for dear life because I know it’s eventually going to come to an end and my feet will land on the ground again, preferably on white sandy beach ground.

It doesn’t end when all the luggage is packed and the kids are buckled in the car because even though I have well behaved kids, super biased here, airports make children crazy. Maybe it’s the energy of the place, people’s excitement to see their loved ones, families heading out to a sunny destination for a well deserved break but children at the airport are like a pack of puppies. They want to see everything, sniff everything, pee all the time, climb up things, down things, run, run, run.

So here’s my suggestion to those of you travelling without kids. STEER CLEAR. Seriously. Don’t sit by the playground if you want to zone out on your handheld device or read a book, do not use the walking people mover thing whatever they are called they are a kid magnet and certainly do not expect children to not bump into you and your luggage while waiting in line for customs, actually you should probably expect to be whacked with one of those fabric retractable line formation things, whatever they are called. I’m sorry, truly I am.

Here’s the secret. I’m letting them run wild, as wild as possible because shortly they are about to be confined in a small space and expected to sit in one seat for a long, long time because anything longer than 5 minutes is really, really long for a toddler. It’s totally unnatural to their little bodies and the more pent up energy they have, well, you can guess.

I read awhile back about a couple who handed out a gift package to all the passengers on the plane, kinda of pre-apology to their fellow passengers for having to travel on the same plane as their infant. Well, you won’t be getting anything from me and here’s why; when I buckle myself into the airplane seat I’m still trying to figure out whether I’ve packed everybody’s toothbrush and trying to come to terms with the fact I’ve probably forgotten to turn off some lights at home while simultaneously whacking a finger out of one of my kid’s noses.

So feel free to shoot me a dirty look, request to have your seat moved further away, I would if I were you, but please, please, please remember families need vacations, preferably at white sandy beach destinations, too.

Recharge your batteries with a 24hr staycation

A well planned 24 hour escape is sometimes all you need to to recharge your batteries.

When we travel it’s most often with the kids in tow and this can sometimes leave you needing a vacation from your vacation. I’ve been feeling like this since we stepped off the plane from Chile a few weeks ago and we’re about to embark on another family adventure soon. In the mean time taking care of this family, working and preparing for the next adventure had me feeling a little less than perky these past few days. Then my husband came home form work one day and I could just tell he was feeling the same, we needed a break.

On Tuesday I decided to book us a room in Victoria, 3.5hr drive away, arranged the grandparents to have our kids for a sleepover and informed my husband about our plans for Thursday night. But I knew it wasn’t just about being somewhere else we needed to relax, not just sleep in.

By the time we left Thursday after work I had the workings of a 24hr relaxation plan. We drove to Nanaimo and picked up dinner along the way. Speeding along the highway we talked about our week not even with the music on in the background just talked and got everything out. When we arrived our room had been upgraded to a harbour view and it would have been nice to just relax and let the exhaustion of the week take over but we bundled up and headed for a brisk walk around the inner harbour in the crisp night air. Victoria is brilliantly light up at night with perfectly spaced lighting around the Legislative buildings and reflections of the street lamps off the water it never feels really dark.

A post walk drink at our hotel bar sitting by the huge window over looking the boat slips below was the perfect night cap to the first few hours of our 24hr staycation.

Before we went to bed we decided on ordering room service breakfast which is really out of the norm for us. I LOVE brunch, but the goal was to relax and I didn’t want us to hurry off in the morning to beat the morning brunch crowd. The best part is it seems hotels have come around and the room service menu was in line with what you would pay at any restaurant these days. The food was good, not spectacular but honestly having it delivered hot to your room exactly when you want while you are still in your jammies was perfect.

Part of the plan I had concocted was going to a gentle yoga class at a studio nearby. We went to Hemma yoga studio and moved through a 75 minute class with an emphasis on guided mediation at the end. We left virtually silent, practically melting into our car seats. We really didn’t talk much on the drive home, we didn’t need to, but when we arrived to pick up the kids all felt right in the world again.

I never regret taking time for just the two of us our journey together is just as important as our journey as a family there’s no destination worth arriving at to simply let our foundation fall to pieces.

Adventuring begins with the first step

Growing up on Vancouver Island my boys are no strangers to what the wet and wild west coast has to offer. My oldest has gone through 3 pairs of rubber boots this winter already. Not outgrowing them, out using them! The rips in their jeans were not purchased rather earned through failed attempts to jump, run, bike or hop their way through the natural world.

I’m one of those people when you ask “whats your favourite time of year?” I’ll immediately say summer, no hesitation. I revel in the warmth of sunny days but in the middle of summer my heart yearns for a brisk fall day and in the middle of winter I look forward to the green of spring.

Spring seems the most alive season and wandering through the damp trails in the mornings is one of my favourite things to do. The foliage seems to sparkle and I’m mesmerized.

Yesterday we hiked along Oyster River trail leading to where the river meets the ocean. As we pulled in to park I heard my oldest mumble under his breath “not this one again.” Ignoring his unenthusiastic comment I bustled both boys out of the car and started on down the path. It’s been raining around here lately so the path was slick with mud and adorned with sporadic puddles perfect for encouraging smiles in even the most unimpressed 5 year old boy.

Here’s where the adventure begins. Instantly covered in mud from their toes to their noses the trail becomes a pirate’s ship, walking the planks of old fallen logs immediately turning them into super heros hiding behind fresh rain washed ferns onto pretend bows made from twigs to shoot pretend arrows at imaginative dinosaurs trembling the forest floor with every step. Once we reached the beach my head was spinning not sure if I was good, bad, ugly or being saved from something fierce.

A short reprieve came when I silently watched them struggle to build a driftwood fort attempting to carry logs 3-4 times the size of themselves. On the way back we stopped to marvel at the speed of the river flow and the newly sprung greenery all while hitting every single mud puddle possible.

Somedays it takes all my energy stepping out the front door with a wild 2 year old and a distracted, moody 5 year old. I frequently contemplate the life of a hermit but when you let everything go, everything, and just follow the little minds of these natural adventurers it’s a whole new world to see, to be in. One minute you’re far, far away and the next your smack dab in the range of the muddiest puddle splash.

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The pictures, from my phone camera, don’t do it justice the green is so vivid and the contrasts and textures of nature so deep it needs to be explored in person. Open the door, step outside you won’t regret it.