I have been in Toronto for 7 weeks and I am ready to move again, I guess the traveling bug hasn’t left me yet. I am going to visit my friends, Barbara and Stephen, and to see other long-time friends. I am going to rent a car and travel around; my main goal is to get a suntan before I go to the UK! I met Barbara in the early nineties, in Kathmandu, Nepal. We were going to the border of Nepal and Tibet to do some volunteer work for an organization called, Earthwatch. We were sent to a village where, women wearing toothbrushes as jewellery greeted us, it was very primitive. One person working there was named Dor, he was an Anthropologist and walked around in a fur hat and a brown cape, I think he was quite mad! My role was to train the village Chief how to deal with politicians, but this village was so far from the Capital, and I was not sure the Chief would ever visit! At my first meeting with the Chief, we were to meet at a certain rock (yes I said rock) and I cooled my heels for couple of hours, he was very late, I wasn’t happy, he showed up in a pink ski jacket. Other memories; it was so cold so we warmed our hands over candles, and we slept in tents and sleeping bags. To leave we had to fly from very small airport that didn’t have a building, just a bench and a control tower. As I was waiting, to catch my flight, a truck arrived carrying potatoes, to make a long story short, the potatoes went on before me, and the plane was so small that there was no room for passengers, so myself and 2 Priests sat on the bench, in the sun and waited a few more hours for the plane to return. That trip really opened my eyes to the world and it was the first time I saw the difference between the West and the East.
So that is how I met Barbara, long-term relationships are established on trips like this. I also learnt about high altitude sickness, there was a notice on the bulletin board at a hotel about a workshop that was being held, I attended this because I had no understanding or knowledge of the dangers and I have seen people nearly die with high altitude difficulties on my various travels.
People have asked me about, how I pack when I am traveling for months at a time? I am still learning; it is an ongoing process! When I started out on my Nomadic Journeys, nearly 3 years ago, I took 2 very large suitcases plus a carryon and I paid a fortune for overweight baggage! That was just crazy!!
I can now travel for 3 seasons with one suitcase and a carryon. My wardrobe consists of 3 black jeans, 1 pair of blue jeans, white and black long sleeved tee shirts, with a couple of coloured ones thrown in, 2 cashmere sweaters, a down jacket and a down vest, hat, gloves, many, many scarfs to dress up and also to make outfits look different. I also pack a couple pairs of tights or leggings with long shirts, dress boots, black loafers, running shoes, and sandals, a bathing suit (which I usually never put on), white linen outfits for my BK visits in India, I big shawl which can be used for warmth or to dress an outfit up, maybe my short black leather jacket, and 2 pairs of beige pants for warmer destinations.
Right now I’m sitting on a plane in Chicago, waiting for the weather to clear up in San Francisco, whereas Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Prime Minister, is on his way to the State Dinner tonight with President Obama. I hope he can do something about customs, this time I was asked to show customs how much money I had with me (that was first), and he proceeded to tell me how, “fortunate I was to get a US VISA”, I said, “you don’t need a VISA to go to the States”, he said, “yes, yes you do, it is the new language we are using”, (pretty scary), so Justin, please help with this issue!! He put a stamp in my passport that said I was allowed to stay in the US until April 1st, one day after my return ticket.
In closing, I want to thank everyone that is responding to my blog asking for advice; it’s all food for thought!