17 Dec

Monday Moment: Frankfurt Rail Station

Frankfurt Rail Station

I love travelling hubs. Those points where travellers come together; the point being to fan out again reaching to the next destination.

Airports, bus depots, and train stations filled with coming and going. Big bags, small bags, suitcases and backpacks. Experienced and efficient, or first timer and unsure; all funnel through with a unified goal of catching that plane, train, bus, or ferry.

Watching people say their goodbyes is as heart wrenching as watching the hellos is heart warming. A constant ebb and flow of coming and going whose balance must be maintained.

13 Dec

Where In The World Are We? And What The Heck Is Our Plan Anyway?

Woodstock, Ontario

It may be the Next Giant Step but it has started rather unassumingly; relaxed and quiet, as if we haven’t realized yet that we don’t really know what we’re doing and don’t know that perhaps anxiety and stress are the more usual responses.

We left Calgary in a flurry of scrumpled packing paper and unanswered Kijiji ads, first heading north to Edmonton where we spent an inordinate amount of time by the fire in our PJ’s. Each day started with strong coffee and moved onward to ever stronger libations throughout the day as we caught up with old friends and put the last of our affairs together before leaving the province. Dressing was optional. I love that.

Things haven’t changed much since we left Edmonton. We’re in Ontario now staying with Jason’s mum; we’re still spending an inordinate amount of time in our PJ’s and have etched what look like permanent bum prints in the sofa.

We’ll have to get dressed tomorrow though as we head into Toronto for a weekend of finding Christmas Spirit (and spirits) before heading to the West Coast for the holidays where I predict more PJ wearing, coffee drinking, and general ‘imbibing’. You West Coasters have been warned!

And then?

And then we’ll head to THAILAND!

We have flights to Bangkok booked for January 21st. We’ll head to the beach for a couple of weeks (maybe Hua Hin…any recommendations?) and then head north to Chiang Mai were I hope to network and hang out with blogging colleagues while Jason continues to look for work.

Thailand. Not a bad place to go and wait for the next step. I’ll take it.

But what about the Grand Plan. What will that look like?

The Grand Plan is still the same; Jason will find short term consulting contracts (3, 6 or 12 months) and we will move wherever that is. The only criteria (at this point) is that the salary be enough to live in that country on. If we’re living in Spain his salary will need to be enough to live in Spain, if we’re living in Indonesia the same applies. In between contracts we’ll travel – where we are able to travel to will depend on what we can save during the contract. It’s a pretty simple formula…let’s hope it works.

No, we don’t have all the details worked out.

I don’t know anything about working visas, or taxes, or long term healthcare. I’m leaving that for Future Gillian and Jason to worry about. No point worrying about things that are bigger than us and that we don’t know enough detail about to manage now. As long as we have all the other stuff cleared up we should be able to research those things quickly as needed. Hopefully.

And me? I have a new project that I’m very excited about. The Global Bookshelf…Connecting Travellers To A World Of Stories. A place to find books and stories that will connect you to the trip you are already planning, or are dreaming about. Stories of inspiration. Of adventure. Of travel. I have a lot of work to do but I would love it if you would sign up for future updates either in the sidebar here at OneGiantStep or over at TheGlobalBookshelf.com

I also have A Travellers Christmas series coming up next week and a new weekly video feature that should start in the new year; 60 Second Travel Tips.

It’s an exciting time and we’re handling it the best way we know how; in our PJ’s, surrounded by those we love the most, with a big, fat, scotch in our hands.

Bring it on.

10 Dec

Monday Moment: Shobak Castle, Jordan

Shobak Castle, Jordan

There is plenty of old in Jordan. Old cities, old roads, old buildings, old religious sites, and old crusader castles.

Left almost untouched, Shobak Castle was my favorite. Without hoards of tourists around it was much easier to imagine this crusader outpost as it was in its heyday. We wandered and scrambled, explored nooks and crannies and ventured down some deep, dark passageways until we scared ourselves and beat a hasty retreat.

It was the enthusiastic stories of fellow travellers that convinced us to make a stop in Jordan. I’m so glad that we did and I hope that I can encourage others to visit also; it’s a worthy stop on any itinerary.

06 Dec

45 Years, 45 Things

Gillian @OneGiantStep

I turned 45 yesterday. I know, I can’t believe it either!

Here are 45 random things about me. Just because.

  1. I am an introvert except that I love large crowds and quiet, intimate, conversations terrify me.
  2. I am English born, Canadian bred.
  3. I just quit my job to do I’m-not-quite-sure-what I’m-not-quite-sure-where.
  4. I am excited by the possibility
  5. I love beer, and trying new beers.
  6. I like a good old fashioned, strong, cocktail. No girlie drinks here, thank you very much.
  7. Gin and Tonic is my favourite.
  8. I can juggle, although not very well.
  9. I love mountain biking and was pretty good at it until I sold my bike recently to live in the world.
  10. I have had both my knees reconstructed due to mountain biking accidents.
  11. I recently discovered hot yoga and no longer think it’s for sissy’s.
  12. I am proud of myself.
  13. I am divorced.
  14. I don’t believe in second marriages but am head over heels for my long time partner, Jason.
  15. I have no children; never wanted them.
  16. I don’t feel 45.
  17. I do not have an artistic bone in my body.
  18. I have one sister and one brother; they live in the same town we grew up in.
  19. I got my wanderlust from my parents; they came here from England with little more than I have right now. They did well, and so will we.
  20. I used to be afraid of flying; and then I talked myself out of it. True story.
  21. I love both cities and being way off the grid, but small towns bore me.
  22. My favourite travel memories are of really hard times or really simple times.
  23. I love traveling by bus and staring out the window for hours on end.
  24. Currently everything Jason and I own fits in four boxes, one large sack, two large backpacks, two daypacks, two satchel bags and a small suitcase. Everything.
  25. I am hard to get to know.
  26. I don’t cry easily, although that is changing as I get older.
  27. I don’t believe we should all ‘act our age’ but I also don’t think we should spend time chasing youth.
  28. I feel 32.
  29. I am a big time procrastinator.
  30. I don’t have any tattoos.
  31. I wish I could sing.
  32. I’m a Sagittarian.
  33. I used to think Virgin was also an astrological sign.
  34. I can’t do a chin up no matter how in-shape I am.
  35. The thought of scuba diving terrifies me. You can’t breathe down there!
  36. I believe we all want the same things in life; happiness, a sense of peace, and a feeling of having done what we want to do. We just all get there a different way.
  37. I hate doing laundry and vacuuming (Jason does it all).
  38. I don’t mind doing dishes (I do them all).
  39. I have a terrible memory.
  40. I have Crohn’s Disease; luckily it is controlled by medication.
  41. I also have Psoriasis. I think the two are related. But not related to #39.
  42. I have very neat handwriting.
  43. I speak only English.
  44. I wish I could speak another language. It is one of my goals.
  45. I don’t know what my future holds but I can’t wait to find out.

C’mon…share. Tell me one thing about you.

03 Dec

Monday Moment: Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

It’s hard to fathom the amount of water tumbling over the edge of Iguazu Falls in Argentina. As one of the largest waterfalls in the world it is an impressive sight on a normal day. The storms from the days before had saturated the earth and caused the falls to be even grander on this day. Coloured red from the soil, the water had started to take over the surrounding jungle.

Hard to believe that there was a time in 1978 when the falls were completely dry.