Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Travels With Terryl [January 2006]


WHEN TERRYL was very young and the urge to be someplace else was upon her, she acted boldly and signed on with Air Canada, and, as it turned out for her, the itch continues. I never knew that itch would affect me when we met in October of 1998. But it did—eventually, but still not to the degree that commands her daily thoughts. Why just the other day when touching down at Pearson Airport in Toronto Terryl took my arm and said: “Where are we going next?” I laughed and chuckled about that and only ten days later I was asking myself that same question. This chapter will recall someplace other than where I live or work, not only as Terryl’s accomplice on layovers around the world and not only on vacations of which there have been many: I will recall business trips to the United States and Europe and record these experiences as having a major influence on me; but mostly on what and how I think about the world and its people. Why? Because it has. We have been to London, Los Angeles, Lima, Las Vegas, Munich, Madrid, Melbourne, Paris, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Dublin, Rome, Tokyo, Trois Riviere, Sydney, Salzsburg, San Francisco, Shawinigan, Santorini, Shanghai, Santiago, Saint John, Saint Johns, Auckland, Christchurch, Cairo, Calgary, Athens, Alexandria, Amsterdam, Bogotá, Buenos Aries, Valparaiso, Hobart, New York, Honolulu, Istanbul, Limasol, Venice, Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal, Quebec City, Halifax, Bala, Beijing, and yadayadayada…and back again; so where to next should not be a problem: Stockholm Sweden and St. Petersburg Russia are on the radar. If I take these names separately there is a story to be told about every place, and more importantly, a story about the people I have met and the lives they live, all wonderfully different and unique for sure. I hope to recall these feelings right here and now.Traveling has never been a source of great excitement accompanied by careful, fastidious plans orchestrated to meet grand expectations. No, it’s a matter of getting somewhere else, perhaps it’s a place I need to be, or a place someone else wants or needs to be. There is a difference. And in that difference planning and expectations differ. Mine for example starts with packing. My ex-wife used to pack my stuff when I was going on a business or golf trip. But one day I suggested that I did not need this, but did need that. On receipt of those words she stopped packing my kit forever. The instantaneous neglect never bothered me except for the coldness that ensued, at that time, and for a short time, when I began to pack my suitcase for myself. I rather like it now, so I demand to pack alone, a selfish act that allows me time to concentrate. That singular, if selfish, concentration has never betrayed me; that is not yet; I know this because I seldom forget an item I need, and I never take something I won’t use.The best way to get from place to place, especially if it takes more than seven hours to drive, is to fly, and flying with Terryl is a total joy for me. Her time at Air Canada has its perquisites, and not the least of these is the lifetime standby transportation that AC provides to its long term employees and retirees. I’m not at liberty to provide additional detail—it’s a trade secret, a secret that is known at my club during winter months I hear these words too often, “Is Air Canada bankrupt? What are you doing hanging around here?” I sometimes reply that I need to come home to count the money I am saving.This narrative is not about cost; it's about experience, the experience of travel and seeing the difference that exists among places and people. It's about attaining a comfort level with unfamiliar habits practiced by unfamiliar people in unfamiliar places. If there is anything that scares some people off traveling it's the strange places, foods, transportation and even uncertainty that takes over. The way I have overcome these human traits is to say to myself, "Just do it." (Just like Nike does.) And in so doing I have had food poisoning, bug bites, been lost all over the place, but I have never been uncertain about the outcome: that we'd arrive in time to continue the journey some how. Running out of gas in New Zealand wherein we foolishly left a very nice little town looking for a thermal gusher that was off the beaten track without checking the gas tank's readiness to proceed was  one of those moments. We had a map but it was one of the maps that showed us only the main roads; and we were a long way in a strange place looking for this magic steam coming from the centre of the earth. We had no compass, no GPS and and no gas to speak of. My friend Jim was in charge of the car, and of course we stopped at every house to ask directions. But every house but the last one was empty of people--and the sheep were not talking our language. We were running on fumes when we were provided with a direction that pointed us toward the highway and a nearby gas station, a pump that we drove right on by several hours earlier. Who knew? These people are the Maori people (pronounced moldy) who are native to New Zealand. In this country the Maori appear to be getting their land back from the government of the day. But it was one night earlier where we visited a tribal ritual whereby the natives greeted us with a feast and a greeting that I'll never forget.The natives appeared in costume of course...ranting and yelling and of course looking ferocious as Mauri do. [More will be added much later.]              

I’m sitting in my favourite chair, in my new permanent address, living with Terryl, using my iPhone 8 on this day November 20, 2018 (my sister Marilyn’s birthday), and writing these additional thoughts. Many years have transpired whereby I had canceled www.tglf.ca, became dreadfully ill with a host of issues that shed 60 pounds from my 205lb. body, demoralized my mind and put me in the hospital for many weeks. I recovered over the next twenty-four months largely due to Terryl, Greg, Rob, Dr. Sayeed and several additional doctors who provided the necessary surgeries to put me on the path to recovery in March of 2017. I sold 36 Fernbrook Crescent in Brampton at the top of the market April 30, 2017 and moved into a retirement facility consisting of retired folks mostly in wheelchairs and walkers. Revera Greenway’s nurses and staff took care of the rest for almost two years before I acted on the following suggestion from a lovely 94 year old resident who, on learning my age, proclaimed “You’re much too young to be living here.” It took me several months for that thought to take hold and one day I spoke to Terryl and asked if she was still eager to do this, and she was. I made the arrangements with Greenway and a mover named Courtney who dispatched a truck and two guys to do the move on November 18, 2018. It was a breeze in no more than 5 hours and $550.00 cash money paid to Raheem and Randy with a two beer tip and they were gone and appreciated. By the way on January 2, 2019 we leave for Buenos Aires to catch an 18 day cruise on Azamara's Pursuit sailing to Antarctica and back. The itch continues.

             

             

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