FIVE YEARS AS A NOMADIC INTERN!! (REVIEW)

House where I was born 71 years ago in Luton UK! (I can’t count)

20180824_153033

In September 2013 I set off as a Nomadic Intern, This name was given to me by Australian friend Tam. That’s the year I was hit by a car (not seriously), and I decided to sell or give away everything and travel.

Friends in Toronto gave me room in their home where my bedroom furniture, some art and my few possessions are stored for when I travel back to Toronto which was just wonderful.

I have traveled to over 50 locations. Some more than once, such as India, Toronto, Newfoundland, Penang Malaysia, and many parts of the UK such as Cambridge many times.

My style of travel has been to visit a place for a month or so and rent accommodations. It could be an apartment, a hotel, private home, or be invited to one of the wonderful homes of the Brahma Kumaris, throughout the world, or stay with friends.

Where have I traveled?

Switzerland, Glasgow, Palma, Mallorca, Brussels, London, Canada, where I went on speaking tour across the country under the sponsorship of the BK’S.

Arizona, California, New York, many places in UK, Leeds, York, Devon, Cornwall, Cambridge, Bath, Dorset, Bakewell, Luton, Barcelona, Spain, Paris, France, Rome, Athens and many Greek Islands.

Iceland, Israel, Trinidad and Tobago, Myanmar, India, Mt Abu, Goa and Puri, Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Bali, Java, Dubai Kuwait,  Bosnia, Croatia, Columbia, Sweden, DRC, The Congo, Rwanda, Belfast, Edinburgh, The Hague Netherlands, South Africa, Lisbon Portugal, Germany,  as you can see there is no order to this list.

My purpose has been to see, experience the people and the culture. I have met many wonderful people on the way. I have been safe. The only difficulty has been some places I have stayed at weren’t as they promised, but then some have been far beyond expectations.

The most difficult was when I was asked by a friend to stay at their beautiful country home in the UK for a number of months and all of a sudden their daughter wanted the space. I was asked to leave after 2 weeks by email, with a full schedule of travel and no time to find another location.

The local Community Bus and Mark, their driver, found me another house 2 blocks away through Facebook and contacts, which worked out very well. This is a very special community bus, and this was the only time I panicked! This house was in the countryside in the middle of nowhere.

My most exotic or unusual locations

Myanmar; I am so glad I went in between the trouble. It is such a beautiful country and seems to operate in slow motion and with such gentle people. For the most part Myanmar reminded me of my visit to Bhutan many years before.

Mauritius, another beautiful country with a French influence where I walked in the jungle with 2 Lions for 45 minutes. Once in a lifetime experience! You realize very quickly who the bosses are.

Democratic Republic of the Congo; Where I trekked to see the Silver Backed Gorillas. This was a Wow in every way, tough, beautiful, hard work, and dangerous! But just amazing.

My Freighter journey across the Atlantic navigating around 3 hurricanes, again amazing.

Some comments on travelling. Ideas are by travel writer Paul Theroux, which I agree with totally: 

  • Travel is a state of mind, it is almost entirely an inner experience.
  • Travel is at best a solitary enterprise, to see, to examine, to access, you have to be alone and unencumbered.  Other people can mislead you or crowd you.
  • Travel holds the magical possibility of reinvention, a new place to love, to begin a new life and never go home.
  • If ones feels free and has gotten to know the world somewhat, travel is simpler and happier.
  • Tourists don’t know where they have been, travelers don’t know where they are going.

In Mumbai tourists would have been in a temple, I want to go where the people live.

My thoughts, people tell me I have freedom, am fearless, love people, different cultures, and love to learn without judgment (most of the time).

I don’t think I am fearless. I have developed a 6th sense and plan very carefully every aspect of my travel.

You go away for long time and return a different person, you never come all the way back.

Life is what we make it!! I believe that 100 percent.

We lost several special people to the world during the last 5 years and I lost several people close to me.

The world lost:

  • Nelson Mandela
  • David Bowie
  • Phillip Seymour Hoffman
  • Leonard Cohen

All the 4 above impacted my life. I was fortunate and blessed to meet President Mandela of South Africa and Phillip Seymour Hoffman the Actor. I had followed his work since first seeing him in an acting workshop in New York performing with John C Riley.

People that impacted my life personally,

Anthony Strano; a wonderful spiritual teacher, who had such clarity about life and taught me much over the years.

Karl Kinzinger; Former Director of Education in Canada. I worked for and with him for many years. He was my mentor and a very wise friend.

Ted Gould; also someone I worked with for many years in the community, and a very good friend. Cute story, when I bought my house after my divorce. I fell in love with a house I couldn’t really afford. Ted dealt with the real estate agents and the offers, I couldn’t cope. I sat in the corner and drank red wine.

Robert Jarvis; A friend for many years. A lawyer, tough on the outside, jelly on the inside, you just had to get past the yelling. He was very smart and loved talking about Winston Churchill, his idol.

Annie Steinhauer; My niece. She was a very sweet lovely soul who died far too young.

Meredith; My friend. One of my best for many, many years, much younger than me but so wise. I received a letter from her after she passed telling me to still talk to her, so I do. I still hear her words in my head and in my heart.

On the happy side, I went back to Canada for 3 family celebrations for my grandchildren, Megan, Dawson and Benjamin plus I visited Spencer my oldest grandchild at University in Nova Scotia.

 Lessons I have learnt and comments.

I enjoy being by myself, but also enjoy people, that is Ying and Yang.

Everyone in the world looks the same to me, I don’t notice color etc, if someone is pleasant wonderful, if not that’s fine too.

I try not to be judgmental and enjoy people wherever they are at. I haven’t quite perfected this skill totally yet.

When I started my journey, I was looking for my mountain top. I now realize I have several mountain tops, wherever I go I feel at home very quickly. Good place to live, good food, coffee, cinema, BBC or CNN news, good communications and nice people, that’s all I need.

I realize I love the movement, walking, driving, flying, I just love the adventure and the newness.

I get bored easily!

My friends all over the globe are very important to me and I do my very best to stay in touch. I start my individual Holiday greetings in November, it takes a while.

In many ways my friends are my lifeline to the world.

When I started my journey, I met with Dadi Janki, my mentor. I told her what I wanted to do, she said wasn’t I too old? I was 70 at that time. I said I really needed to do this. She just waved her hand and said GO.

There is a massive amount of unjust activity, and mental illness across the globe. Poverty happens at many levels, from the poverty that we all recognize, to the tough every day survival by many people that is hidden, and I believe is a form of poverty.

I have also seen, depending where I am in the world, different levels of respect and involvement with the aging population by their families.

India, the UK and the Caribbean seem to be the best as far as respecting, involvement with and taking care of their elders.

A very special thank you to the Brahma Kumaris community all over the globe for putting me up, giving me a meal, being at the other end of a phone, organizing my travel and just allowing me to be part of the family, whenever I needed to. The Bk’s understanding of diversity is like no other organization I have experienced. The BK’S for the most part try to get it right! I spent a month in Australia. Charlie who oversees the country arranged all my visits and travels, and every Friday afternoon he would call me to check in without fail.

Just brilliant! To the Toronto Bk’S who always welcome me back to Canada whenever I appear, and to my Toronto family where I stay, massive thank you for being there.

Also, another big thank you to Paul. My friend in Cambridge, who stored numerous suitcases for me. Paul would just nod his head when he counted the suitcases, the number was constantly changing.

I am working very hard on my book. I have completed 28 interviews. Now the hard work begins; reviewing each interview and making decisions.

I am always asked if I am independently wealthy. Absolutely not.  I must manage very carefully and am not sorry at all about the risks I have taken. I never thought I would be still alive!

Do I want to settle down? I can’t, as I said I love the movement. At some point my body will give out, but for some reason I am not worried.

Plans for the next few months are, Toronto Canada, New York for BK retreat entitled Call of the Time, back to UK for week, then India, Barcelona in early November and Venice later in November to meet Canadian friends.

Posted in Betty Steinhauer | 2 Comments

Weekend in Bakewell and Weekend in Cambridge!!

Just Pictures!!
On September 13th it will be 5 years as a Nomadic Intern , in my next blog , I will try to give summary, of my many experiences and the learning that has happened.

Posted in Betty Steinhauer | Leave a comment

Brilliant Summer!

On the south coast of England, I am having a fun summer. Full of travel, activities, and interviews for book.

Luton, where I was born, is not thought of as great city in the UK. I am being taken there in couple of weeks to see the hospital where I was born and also to visit the house where I lived as a child before going to Canada.

Below, the beauty of Dorset!

 

Posted in Betty Steinhauer | 4 Comments

ABBEYFIELD

When I started my nomadic journey, if you remember, I was looking for what I called Betty’s Mountain Top. My concept was to find a facility that as I age I may want to be a part of. It would have to have access in some way to all ages and my main want, is good conversation around the dinner table with people from around the globe. As I have travelled I have found numerous projects, and I have looked at many all over the world. I have not been impressed. It has nothing to do with the structure and how fancy, or posh it is, it has to do with the quality of care and how relaxed and happy the residents seem. I remember very many years ago looking for home for my Mother. It was very difficult and the one thing that I hate to see is wheelchairs lined up outside or inside with residents that have blank stares, that is very sad. I saw this years ago and you still see that today.

I attended a book launch in London for my friend Jenny’s book that dealt with relationships in care homes and how important they are for the wellbeing of the residents. Jenny had spent time researching a group called Abbeyfield. They own and operate about 100 facilities in the UK. I became interested in what I heard so I made contact in the south of the UK and was invited to Lochs Heath in Swanwick, which was arranged by a former Board Member for me.

Lochs Heath has 16 residents, of numerous ages, some are mentally challenged; others have dementia; some just seem to feel very comfortable there.

The staff led by Neil, was just caring in every way and it wasn’t put on, they just had patience, and compassion in every situation. I was there for over 4 hours! I spent an hour without staff just chatting with residents about their background, health and what they thought of spending rest of their life in this facility. Whenever they talked about this place, they would have a big smile on their face. THEY WERE HAPPY.

They each had their own flat in the building. The ones I saw had a sitting room, a bedroom, a kitchen and a bathroom. They were a very good size with lots of windows overlooking the garden.

For me, this location wasn’t on the sea or on mountain top, but in terms of requirements, it ticked most of the boxes, involvement from the community, the community would just drop in to say hi, or bring treats for the residents, bring in new movie etc. The residents were living independent lives within this structure, good healthy food and even a glass of sherry or wine at lunch.

Lochs Heath is a very special model!

To Neil, staff and the residents thank you a most lovely visit!

Posted in Betty Steinhauer | 3 Comments

Back in Beautiful Dorset

Here I am in lovely Christ Church Dorset in the south west part of the UK. I am staying in a great home in the centre of town. My landlady Jane is a sailor and is now crewing on a ship to Portugal!

The weather is highly unusual. I haven’t seen rain in the 6 weeks I have been in the UK and it is very warm; too warm for me.

I have personal trainer, to help me get in shape. It is very difficult here to keep weight in line. Low fat items are very rare and the desserts, I have just quit eating.

I am looking very seriously at changing my residency from Canada to UK. We shall see what makes sense from a tax point of view!

Lots to visit such as Queen Victoria’s summer home and I will take some scenic train trips into Scotland. I just love the train. I can get to London direct in just under 2 hours and with my rail pass, brilliant!! I was in London last week and the heat was unbearable. In the south, we have at least the sea breezes.

I am still very busy with interviews for new book. I have competed about 20 so far. I am really enjoying the process. There is lots of excellent Information to deal with, which will be a lot of work. I have started to do research and make approaches on finding an agent.

I will be attending a Prom concert held at the Royal Albert Hall with my friend Simon in London. I am going up to Bakewell to see Jenny in the Peak district, which I am told is very beautiful. Then off to Canada in September and India in October to finish interviews, I hope.

I saw the musical Hamilton that has won all the awards in USA and UK. I always go to the box office for tickets to the theatre. This time a gentlemen in front of me was returning a ticket in the front row and I got it for an excellent price. Tina Turner is next show on my list.

My interest in politics is like watching a soap opera with President Trump as the star.

Posted in Betty Steinhauer | 2 Comments

The Old Spring-Cambridge!

The Old Spring is the local pub close to me in the center of Cambridge. I was invited to this pub by my friend Paul about 3 years ago.  It is quite up market (as they say here)

It is very nice inside with a fireplace and lovely space outside. For me the attraction are the people, regulars as they are called.

REGULARS come sometimes every night, three times a week, or just on Friday nights, which is check in night to see how everyone is doing.

They are from all walks of life, business, educators, property owners, college employees, professors, social workers, health professionals, writers, artists, skilled workers etc, from all the strands of the Cambridge Community, even the Mayor shows up once in a while! Also the older gentleman that gets on the bus every day for the company.

Some regulars have known one another since school days and others like myself are newbies.

When I was in St Neots, I found the community bus. This pub to me has the same sense of community and the people care about one another and watch one another’s back. An example of this is where I stay. The landlady has 2 children, both grownup with their own children, one has cancer and the other was in serious car accident and now has a brain injury. One of the regulars picked her every morning and took her to the train station so she could go to London to see her daughter in the hospital for weeks.

The friendships have survived through, marriages, divorces, affairs, deaths and illness.

They celebrate everything and arrange their own birthdays etc. Usually the person who has something to celebrate arranges the party for themselves, invites who they want, has some food (not elaborate), and people come buy their own drinks. I think the pub throws in a cake, I’m not sure.

As they say no fuss, no bother. The down side is food here is very expensive, even by Cambridge standards, so many regulars come to drink, but not eat.

I seem to be part of this community, which is excellent.

Posted in Betty Steinhauer | 2 Comments

Sadness and a Miracle

Two things have happened this week that have left me thinking. The first was the suicide of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain; both are very sad!

Anthony Bourdain was a large personality, not someone whose TV shows I really enjoyed. I felt he was a little over the top.  he traveled the world showing how people really lived, by sitting down around the table with food. People chatted with him in a very honest way, and he always asked if they were happy. HE MADE THE WHOLE WORLD HIS NEIGHBORHOOD!!

I believe he really cared about what he was doing. I feel the empathy he felt for people and the chaos and pain of what is happening in the world was just too much for him to handle emotionally!

I remember a few years ago when my favorite actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman died of an overdose; Jim Carey said he was just too gentle of a soul and just couldn’t deal with the noise in the world.

Now, to the miracle: Where I am staying in Cambridge with my friend Heather. Her Grandson Edward has just climbed a sea stack called The Old Man of Hoy off the coast of Orkney (Scotland). It is 450 feet straight up, at the age of EIGHT and will now be in the Guinness Book of Records as the youngest to make this rope climb.

Why this is so amazing? He did this climb for his mom who has terminal cancer and is very ill. Edward also climbed to honor his mom and has raised over 30,000 pounds toward Cancer Research. He was on all the UK networks along with President Trump.

These two events, to me, show the Ying and Yang of the world.

1528462104559

Anthony Bourdain

Very special young man , with his Mother.

A very special young man, with his Mother.

Posted in Betty Steinhauer | Leave a comment