Are the kids going?

In a few weeks we’ll be traveling to Nicaragua and almost everyone I’ve told has asked me if the kids are going. YES! The kids are┬ácoming we rarely travel without them.

Nicaragua is a place my husband and I have traveled before when we drove our Westfalia from Canada to Chile (if you look back I’ve posted some stories about the trip). He didn’t immediately fall in love with the place as I did and that’s another story (I’ll be sure to post soon) but it fit the criteria we were looking for in this family trip. We wanted to take the kids somewhere they speak Spanish and somewhere warm, check & check!

This time however we also wanted to add a bit of connection to the local people the kids really haven’t had before. So we’ve contacted a school in Granada and we will be taking some donations from my oldest son’s class to deliver when we visit. Things like arts and craft supplies mostly.

We chose this because we thought it would be something our kids could understand; at age 3 & 6 we can only expect so much but school is something they can both relate to. We’re hoping to show them how differently people around the world live. How much less people have and how happily they live their lives. We hope they’ll see the difference but the similarities as well. How a boy in Nicaragua likes to laugh and play just as they do. How he has to listen to his teacher and learn to read and write just as they do.

It feels poignant right now. Up here in Canada we have recently elected our Prime Minister who fills us with hope. Hope for bringing out the good in people. Hope for the future. But just below us, in America, watching the tidbits online it fills me with despair, true despair, to hear the politicians encourage racism, violence and hatred. I know we live in a bubble here on Vancouver Island, it’s why we live here, surrounded by lush green nature and welcoming supportive people it’s truly a paradise but I’m worried for my friends in America and how their lives will change if Trump is elected. Will their lives change? Will they survive President Trump? How will it affect us here in Canada? I’m afraid to find out the answer to these questions.

I want my children to know no matter where someone lives, no matter what they look like, how they dress, what religion they practice, how they feed their family we can always connect respectfully with one another. We can choose to point out the differences but we can also choose to celebrate the similarities because we are all human. We share this one planet. We breathe the same air. We all want to be loved, treated respectfully and with dignity. And every now and then we ALL need a hug to get through the day.

So this trip won’t be just all sand and surf it will also be about connecting and building relationships. It will be about celebrating similarities and diversity. It just feels right, right now.

Advertisements

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing about” Ben Franklin

I was recently having a conversation with an elderly gentleman who was emotionally very frustrated because he was conscious of his inability to remember some very important life events. He was very sad, wiping away tears with his shaky wrinkled hand, so I sat with him awhile and listened to the stories he could remember eventually watching the tears of sadness turn to tears of joy, sharing a few hearty belly laughs before the end. You see he was an adventurer and I could relate to many of his stories and shared some of my more memorable ones with him. When we were done we parted with a hand squeeze and a brief shared look that we knew acknowledged the suffering but also the joys of our moment of shared time together.

After our conversation the thoughts swirled and swirled in my head resulting in a bit of a tornado. You see dementia, Alzheimer’s, they all run in my family and I just kept coming up with the thought “was I just having a conversation with myself in the future?”

Sometimes in the dark recesses of my mind when I forget someone’s name or the exact details of an event this little evil thread runs through “is this the beginning?” It can be a bit daunting carrying this weight around somedays. I try not to ruminate on it because what will be, will be. Maybe it’s why I’m drawn to words, stories, the truer the better. I feel a deep need to get it all down. Have it somewhere my boys and possibly their children can come to and read. See the photographs, read the stories of their adventurous family roots.

I can’t get enough of hearing about people’s adventures in this big wide crazy world. We all might not be climbing mountain tops or exploring exotic rainforest everyday but if you’re willing to step out the door with bit of saved up money and two feet and a heart beat, take some risks, rise to the challenges I’ll be waiting at the end to hear your story beer in hand.

Who knows how long we each have to live our adventures, to remember our stories, to share them with others, so get out there make stories together even those terrible scary moments you may look back and laugh about one day.

The first time my husband and I traveled together to Mexico we were backpacking around the Baja for a week. I had booked the first night hotel as we were landing late at night then it was moment to moment. We didn’t have a lot of money we were both in college and we had booked our airfare on travel vouchers we had been given after a trip to see his family in Chile when our flight home was overbooked. We spent the first night at a cheap small hotel in Cabo San Lucas and the next morning set off on the bus to San Jose del Cabo. As we disembarked the bus at the beach my husband informed me he had left all our money tucked under the mattress at the last hotel then he went and phoned the hotel and asked the receptionist to look to see if the money was still there. It was absurd. We bussed all the way back holding our breath and finding hope in the smile of that Mexican receptionist envelope of cash in hand. We walked to the first bar we saw and laughed over cold beers breathing a sigh of relief we’d have a roof over our heads that night. We just weren’t really sure where!