Having spent the past few years abroad, I’ve been fortunate to visit many countries around the world.
When I let my thoughts wander, images flood my mind from the harsh and rugged peaks of Afghanistan to the swamp-like Eden of Botswana’s Okavango Delta. Sometimes I’m wandering through the ancient ruins of Angkor or slowly paddling across Bangkok’s maze of waterways and canals. My life has been a wild ride and a memorable one at that.
The grass is always greener…
When my Canadian friends talk about their vacations, I hear about 5 star resorts, buffets with food as far as the eye can see, sandy beaches and the blue-green waters of the Caribbean. I’ve never been to an all-inclusive resort. Truth is, when I think about taking a vacation I close my eyes and think of home.
Home and Family
I remember the smell of freshly cut grass, the sun on my back, the grit beneath my nails from tending the gardens and the quench of a cold beer on a hot summer day. I see my dog jumping with excitement as I enter the door, the anticipation of a visit from my nephews, and the drone of the CBC as we all sit down to dinner. My father complains about the weather, my mother nags us to settle down and the smell of meat on the barbeque wafers in. My mouth waters – I can almost taste the perfectly barbequed steak…
Back in the Capital
Sometimes I’m back in Ottawa: bear hugs and beaver tails, ice sculptures and snow covered trees, skating along the canal or x-country skiing by moonlight in the Gats. During summer, the sound of bagpipes fill the air. I’m biking along the river or sitting on a patio eating hot-wings and drinking Alexander Keith’s (on tap!) I remember outdoor film festivals, fireworks, dog parks and old friends, picnics on Parliament Hill, Sunday brunches, farmers markets, coffee shops and walking into a pub where everybody knows your name.
Then it’s time for a visit with my oldest and dearest friends. Smiling faces, warm embraces, bags unloaded and the kettle on the boil for a fresh pot of tea as we settle in for a welcome visit. Good conversation fills the day, beer-can chicken on the barbeque and stories told around the fire before heading to bed with the cool night air on my face and the sound of rustling leaves lulling me to sleep.
A new day begins with a strong cup of coffee and a walk through the trails in the back bush where the dogs run around, chase squirrels and play. If the weather is nice, maybe we’ll head to the beach or chip away at the great Canadian Shield looking for interesting rocks, gemstones or minerals. Then again, maybe we’ll stay home. No matter, the only requirement is good company of which there is plenty.
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