14 learnings in one year - Day 366
It was 16th November 2017 when we caught our flight to Lisbon one year ago. We have reflected and have shared our 14 learnings in one year with you.
Yes, it was a year ago that I wrote my first GrownUp Travellers blog called “Less Haste, More Speed”. Yes, it was a year ago that we left Britain, the beginning of our travels. We have returned to England twice in that time, once for my Mum’s funeral and the other for our niece’s wedding, my sister’s birthday and time to catch up with some friends and family, yet we treated it as a continuation of our travels, we were of no affixed abode.
This evening, Tim and I went out for a meal at a local restaurant, and while we sat, enjoying a tasty dinner with Moroccan inspired flavours, we reflected on our year. This is some of what we have learnt:
1) We have deepened our respect for mother earth. We are just a blip in the eye of planet earth’s existence. We have realised what an incredible world we live on. Sadly we have noticed the rubbish thoughtlessly dropped in the streets, ocean creatures perishing due to plastics, acres of trees being destroyed each day etc. We cannot continue to treat the earth callously like this. We all need to respect this earth, care for it, and each take responsibility to cherish it. 2) On a lighter note, Tim has realised that he is no longer allergic to animals. After 26 years of marriage, I am now seeing him enjoying stroking dogs, cats and even horses and no longer being wheezy. It is a joy to watch. 3) Another of Tim’s learnings is not to shy away from sharing our mistakes. As you probably have guessed, I am pretty much an open book. If things go wrong, of which there have been many in the past year, I will write about it, laugh at it or share my pain. Tim used to urge me not to write about such things, but I believe we can all learn from the good, the bad and the ugly. 4) One of our favourite sayings, handed to us by our dear friend Chandana, is “It too shall pass”. We have spread these wise words with many people around the world, and they have been of great help. I remember when we first arrived in Japan after the death of my Mum, that through grief and two lots of jet lag, I occasionally got caught up with being irritable (Poor Tim), yet, I knew it would pass. I noticed my feels, did not get so personal with them, and yes, they too did pass. 5) Don’t believe all you read in the Media. People do not get Deli Belly all the time in India; South Koreans are not angry people; Australians don’t only eat meat; South Africa is not full of criminals. I felt rather nervous about coming to South Africa. Crime does happen here, not that we’ve personally seen any, yet we have only met such wonderful, generous, kind people of all race, creed and colour here. 6) Believe it or not, I used to loathe writing. It used to take me at least ½ a day to write 500 words and now I write between 700 and 1000 words effortlessly most days. (Sorry, I realise the posts are long). I love writing now…it is funny how things change when we have less on our mind about them. 7) And talking about less on our minds, I have realised that when I am like this, I jump into cold water up to my waist and walk through a dark 600m tunnel with one small torch between 3 of us. Mad or what? 8) Tim loves wearing (and buying) hats 9) We are enjoying living without much sugar – Tim’s Hangry episodes have gone and my desire for cake every day has disappeared. (Thank you “The Four Pillar Plan” by Dr Rangan Chatterjee) 10) We have decluttered our lives substantially. We realise that we don’t need “stuff”. We don’t need to live in big houses. We don’t need loads of clothes, only requiring two pairs of shoes. (A significant achievement on Tim’s part as a year ago he started this journey with 6 pairs!) None of this stuff makes anyone happy – that is not where happiness comes from. (OK, I must admit that I bought another pair of earrings two days ago – I now have two pairs, and even this seems rather excessive!) 11) You can decipher the age of an elephant by the measurement of a ball of its dung. 12) There are so many A-M-A-Z-I-N-G places around the world. We both knew this before, now we really appreciate it. 13) People everywhere are incredible. We are so grateful for all the many friends we have met along our journey. We have only met warm, friendly, kind people. We have learnt to trust people more and believe that everyone wants to connect from a place of love and joy. 14) Facebook is a fabulous tool to keep in touch with people and also to be put in contact with people.
There you go, 14 things we have learnt in one year. Oh, there is so much more, but I do try to keep these muses down to a reasonable length!
And today? A chillax day, reading loads, a short walk where the wind was so strong, it blew Tim’s glasses off his jumper. Also, I just stopped him from stepping onto a snake. A small one this time, grey with a white stripe. And after our meal at the Mez Karoo, we chatted to Colin the South African, Susan the Brit and Noel the American. (I am sure there’s a joke in there somewhere). They were so kind and friendly and shared some great places for us to visit in the Cape. People really are wonderful.
And we’re looking forward to another great year of travelling. Long may it continue!