I’m travelling at the moment, with my little family. Mainly around the The Pacific Northwest and Canada. I’m learning a lot on this holiday. I’m learning that travelling is tiring and hard and yet heart-opening and wild. Travel stirs something in me that makes me want to pack up my life back home and live in an RV and hit the road (although I’m also not daft enough to forget that I LOVE regular showers and working toilets and my dream of living a life on the road would last approximately 2.3 days before I got fed up. So there’s that).
I watched a documentary on the 8-hour plane ride from London Heathrow to Vancouver. It was about a guy who was out on the sea, kayaking. He was part of a whale-spotting group tour, and a huge, HUGE whale breached and landed on his kayak. He survived. He became super curious about finding out more about the whale that very nearly killed him. He wanted to know what kind of whale it was, and whether it might have intentionally jumped out of the water like that in order to land on his kayak. I’m kind of interested in whales, but not THAT interested in whales, and yet I’m drawn to curious people and this guy was very curious. My curiosity has spiked on this trip. Travel does that. I’m paying attention more—things aren’t familiar—and so I’m watching my step and opening my eyes. I’m noticing things in a way I just don’t notice back home. I read a book once, I can’t remember which one, and the guy in it refused to buy art for his home. He said something like, “We buy art because we like it. We bring it home and put it on our walls and then after a few weeks of admiring it, we don’t notice it any more, so what’s the point? Just go to an art gallery.” He has a point.
We get so caught up in our daily routines and “ways”, don’t we? We pretty much do exactly the same things every single day and our brains click into autopilot. And so we just stop…… noticing.
After a few days in Canada, we drove to Seattle — after an “interesting” border control experience that made my partner nearly cry — a story for another time — and then along the northwestern coast of the Olympic Peninsula. We stayed in a cabin on the beach in an area of land where the Quileute Tribe have made their home for over a thousand years. I met a woman there. She served coffee from 7am-2pm in the local coffee hut. Let’s call her Jean. She was married to a Quileute man. Each morning, as she made me a coffee to takeaway, I’d ask her a billion questions about the history of the Quileute Tribe and she’d generously regale me with stories and explanations and tonnes of history. I learned so much about Native Americans. Stuff I’d never even thought to think or learn about.
I love learning. It fires me up. Whether it’s about whales or Native American history or psychology or space or just simple stuff, like getting down to eye-to-eye level with my smart, brilliant kid and asking him what he thinks about the world, I feel full up.
What have you learned today?