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Fear of Travel

As I sat on the bus heading downtown, something about the way the “Stop Requested” lights shone made me feel like I was somewhere else. Like I was travelling somewhere foreign.

And I thought about how some people will never travel. They either don’t have the resources or the desire to leave their home cities. It must feel just too scary to leave, to venture somewhere where people do things differently. It’s a survival instinct. Our brains are wired to ask, “How will I find what I need to feel comfortable when I get there?” Read More

Eric & Money

We have a small piggy bank sitting on the counter in the kitchen. As you might expect, all of us dump the change from our pockets into it as we pass by and after awhile, it gets pretty full of all those nickels, pennies, and dimes. Luckily, I have a young niece and nephew to alleviate the difficulty of a full piggy bank once in awhile.

When they come over, if it’s decently full, they dump the contents into a Ziploc bag and take it home to divide equally between each other. This money is normally spent on whatever their hearts desire, be it sweets, books, or crafting supplies. Lately however, they have been promised a trip to Disneyland by their parents and the kids have devoted the money to their own savings for the trip.

My nephew, Eric, was over this morning and saw that some money had accumulated in the bank once more. As he’s opening up the piggy’s belly and withdrawing the coins, he struck up a conversation with me. Eric is four years-old and this conversation has not been edited for grammar on his part (or mine, because, you know, I speak perfectly):

“I only want money,” he said, pulling out the last few pennies from the bank.

“You and everyone else in North America,” I smartly replied, full-well knowing he has no idea what I’m talking about, but hoping that one day, my sense of humour will be hilarious to this kid.

“But not you,” he said, looking up at me, “What you want?”

“I want more than money. I want life. Life is awesome.”

“I like life, because without life you die,” he said.

“All the more reason to enjoy it and be happy when you have it, right?” I asked him with a smile. He looked up at me and loudly exclaimed, “YES!”

Is it wrong that the conversations I have with my four-year-old nephew are sometimes more intelligent and profound than the ones I have with adults?

Quarter Century.

I made it to 25. I’ve managed to make it to the quarter-century milestone.

My birthday is a sacred day, held holy above all others. To some it might just be an ordinary day, but to others, it is more important that Christmas. To maintain the sanctity of this day, I have several strict policies when it comes to my birthday:

1. Absolutely no work. This is a holy day, my friends, it should be treated as such. To toil on ye March 12 is blasphemy. In past years, I’ve skipped out on work, school, and anything I didn’t think was fun enough to not be considered work.

2. Dinner time is family time. As long as they’re around, that’s who I’m spending my birthday dinner with. Any member of my family who doesn’t show up, unless suffering from some grave illness, is subject to being disowned. Close friends are welcome to join the birthday dinner. Just so long as they tell family-friendly stories about me.

3. Like New Years for everyone else, my birthday is a time for me to reflect on the past year’s accomplishments and defeats and set goals for the coming year.

Though I haven’t yet spelled out every single goal on my list for the coming year, every goal I come up with will have a lot to do with having fun and trying new things. Like I said, life is fleeting and what’s life without experience? I have no desire to get trapped in a sedentary, joyless lifestyle.

Therefore, I plan to have more fun this year than I did the last one and keep just doing things on the spur of the moment. Being impulsive isn’t the same as being irrational and as long as the only thing I’m really going to lose is some fear and money, I’m going to try anything at least once.

Run Jillian, Run.

Cardiovascular fitness aside, rowing was taking it’s toll on my knee. The left one. The weak one. The repetitive motion of catch, drive, finish, recovery was wearing away some of my knee’s defenses and causing it to develop a nice case of tendonitis. This development made my knee dislike running, which made me feel like I needed to give it a break.

After awhile, I finally came to the decision that my knee was too unhealthy to recover on its own, so I went to the physiotherpist, limp in leg and asked to be fixed.

“You have to stop rowing for awhile,” he said.

“I can’t do that. That’s like asking me to cut off the leg when it just hurts every once in awhile.”

He looked at me, didn’t say a word, just stared me down and let the idiocy of what I’d said sink in. I knew I was being stupid and I knew rowing wasn’t worth destroying my knee for life.

So I gave up running instead, even though I think I liked it better than rowing at the time. The decision doesn’t make sense, I know. Why give up something you like for something you don’t when the thing you like isn’t the thing that’s damaging you, but the thing you don’t is?

Yeah.

Needless to say, I think my knee has finally healed. Maybe not entirely, since I still get aches and stiffness and that dreaded pain when I leave it in one position for awhile, but at least I don’t limp anymore. A couple of months ago, I hiked the Inca trail without it feeling too cranky.

I keep dreaming about running. It’s a very odd dream where it’s just me and a rather long trail. I just keep running, feeling my lungs under my chest, the dirt under my feet and I just keep going. I think my body it trying to tell me it’s a little bored.

When I wake up, I desperately want to run again. The only problem being that I live in Canada and it’s winter outside. There’s snow and ice and running just isn’t in the cards until nicer days come to stay. The treadmill isn’t the same. You have no idea how fast you’re really going without trees passing by on either side of you. The distance on an LED screen isn’t the same as looking back on the trail and not being able to see the start anymore.

I think I’m just ready for summer and for some new old things to come back into routine. That first day’s run is going to be hard, though.

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The Sacred Valley

IMG3_2163Not far from Cuzco lies the Sacred Valley. It’s a spot littered with beautiful archaeological sites. I’m amazed at how the ancient Incans managed to mason large stone blocks together so well. Massive boulders interlock perfectly with each other without any mortar, just impressive engineering.

Yesterday, we rented some horses to tour the nearby countryside and had the misfortune of ending up with some really, really stubborn horses. If there was a terrible path to take, they’d choose it, without any notice of our input. Mine was more interested in following my commands than Greg or Hillary’s, but it was still frustrating. I did manage to command Hillary’s into a trot though, with her on its back. I had a good laugh. Read More

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Exploring Lima and Heading to Cuzco

After landing in Lima, we decided to stay for a few days, just relaxing off the jetlag and catching the sites around town.

We took some time to go down to Central Lima, taking the micro buses, which did not end up being overly smooth, but did end up being entertaining. The jostling and fumes led us all to feel a little ill while riding around in the bus, but I was happy to find out mine is not the weakest stomach in the group. Read More

Signing in Lima

I have the biggest pack. I feel so, so much shame. After everything I learned in Mexico, how did this happen?

From here, I swallow my shame and do my best not to complain about how heavy my pack is. I brought it, I’m going to do my best to carry it and try even harder to do it with a little grace. Read More

Peru!

I know it’s only been two weeks since I last went somewhere, but what can I say? I get bored if I don’t get out much and my idea of getting out is to leave the country. I will eventually be poor and destitute, but damn, I will have some good stories.

I spent all day packing and have to admit, I’m a little disappointed with how heavy my main backpack is. I seriously can’t get anything else out of it, so I will just have to deal. I’m still hoping my pack is lighter than my travel mates… I’m awfully competitive about this for some reason. Read More

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NKOTB

Unfortunately for the fashionista in me (she’s there, I swear, but just doesn’t get out to play much), the Dolce & Gabbana sale was quite disappointing. The stuff they had out was either horribly out-of-season, damaged, or just plain tacky (which is why they needed a sale to get rid of it).

We got there just before 1 pm to find a rather long line. It wasn’t quite the lineup I had imagined, but came close. Thankfully, it moved very quickly as people scrambled to get inside and get their shop on. Read More

High-Fashion and Camp-Value

Yesterday, Jenn took me shopping and wandering around Buffalo. We started at the Galleria Mall, which is just like any Canadian mall, except with one particular difference… This mall had a DSW.

I’ve been an avid watcher of What Not to Wear for many years now and am always jealous when their fashion-challenged guests get to shop there. Essentially, it’s just like the Shoe Company, which sells nice shoes at discount prices, but DSW has much nicer shoes at much lower prices. Read More