What a fantastic way to start the new year, by resting, spending time with family and taking time to review pictures of my trip. Returning to Canada has been great for me. It's helped to put my life into perspective. Out of all of the places I've traveled to, yes, this is home. I sat quietly reflecting a bit on this trip and these are some of the things that were on my mind.
Family and friends matter. Love them or be challenged by them, life is different when a person has neither. I've learned in my travels how life saving it is to have a flesh and blood family member or friend in physical proximity.
Don't forget the young and elderly. The relationship between the young and elderly is different here. In some cases they are disconnected. On this trip I've heard of the elderly deeply desiring relationships with the younger generation. I've seen the younger generation not care and care. When they care, it makes a world of difference to the relationship. When either don't care, how sad it is. Relationships matter. How I wish things like compassion, mercy, grace, love, forgiveness, giving and receiving, emotions, sharing, gifting, wisdom vs. knowledge, growth, community and discernment were taught as part of a school's curriculum. These are tools that help a person to be a better human being at any age.
Being here has made me appreciate the value of my work and work ethic. It is true there's a difference in living in North America and Europe. One lives to work, the other works to live. I can appreciate both. Having a North American work ethic in Europe has perplexed people. I still prefer to work this way.
Travel is the gift of showing me how connected we are globally. Don't think that what you see on the news about other countries would not affect you where you are. It always does on some level. Stay informed and treat the whole world as your community. On this trip, Ernest and I realized how much our perspective has changed. We now have more of a global perspective on life, business, community and this affects the decisions we make.
During the Christmas season, I learned that I prefer presence vs. presents. I've felt people's love more by being physically present with them. I've heard it from their words and seen it in their actions. One of the greatest gifts I received was a very spontaneous hug from my sister. She hugged me longer than usual and told me how proud she was of me for quitting my job and taking my life in a completely different direction.
I had so much fun being here. I can see why so many people want to live in Canada. Even though many of the people we met who desire to come here are unprepared for its fast pace and mostly cold climate, it is a haven. For this entire trip, I have seen and experienced love of this country in so many different ways. Enjoying hot chocolate on a cold day, enjoying hockey, ooooh I still love driving on the straight and long highways. I still feel as if I could just drive for miles and miles, all day while I am here. Even the bare trees and grey skies had a beauty that I could not ordinarily see before. I've seen almost everyone whom I wanted to see, I've kissed the drywall, planted a smooch on a house, enjoyed the snow, relaxed in the outdoor spa in winter, eaten everything I desired, enjoyed my favourite store Giant Tiger many times and most of all, enjoyed the company of my fellow Canadians. The multiculturalism still astounds me - it's so beautiful to be surrounded by people from every country of the world in this one place.