My First Big Adventure – Canada Part 2

Then I was on the bus to Banff. And there, out of the window, were the biggest mountains I had ever seen in all my live-long days. These things were ….!! I am not sure there is a word. But I remember they took my breath away, and I may have started grinning at this point. Read More »


She Let Go

I came across this beautiful poem very recently. It spoke to me, of all the things that I have experienced in life, how they have affected me, how I have clung to those feelings, good and bad. How I have been fearful of letting go of bitter pain, stepping away from aching sadness, or accepting into my hands small joys. How we cloak ourselves in our stories and forget we can take those cloaks off.

But one day, not so long ago, I realised it can be done, not only that, but I had been doing it all along, and I hadn’t seen it happening
– until I remembered ‘that time’, or thought about ‘that person’.

It isn’t easy, but it is necessary
– if we are to find peace, to accept joy, to release pain.

I let go.Read More »

My First Big Adventure – Canada Part 1

The first time I ever went on a big trip abroad was when I was at university. A housemate of mine had seen an opportunity to go to America or Canada for 3 months, the first two months to work, and then a month of travelling. Though her idea in its inception, it sounded very exciting and like something I should be doing too. We decided on Canada for two reasons: 1) we were too young to drink in America (not the best reason to make a big decisions but there it is); and 2) rather than working in a pre-arranged Summer Camp in the US, we liked the idea of arranging our own work, and then getting out and meeting some real Canadian people. We thought this would be more ‘Us’. We were 100% correct in this assumption.

I worked for two months in a hotel in a small town outside of Toronto; she, in a fast food restaurant in Banff. The work was hard but I enjoyed it. I found I had a natural affinity with the guests, they liked my English accent and I made good tips. It was also advantageous that I seemed to cope pretty well with the unpredictable moods and obscene swearing of the irascible French chef. I stuck up for myself when he was trying to scare me with his ranting. He seemed to approve of the fact that I could. I quickly became a dinner guest of him and his beautiful hearted wife, who fed me globe artichokes with butter and made me watch Judy Garland films (as she thought I looked like her).Read More »

I Don’t Need A Raincoat

I have a raincoat
I have a pocket torch, an attack alarm and sufficient socks
I don’t need a set in stone plan
I don’t need to be sure of every day

But I do need a mantra
I need a buy-line
A need a get me out of jail phrase
For when the bile is rising
For when the terror turns to face me and says …
“Howdie partner, did you miss me?”

I don’t need a raincoat
Not this time
I do, in fact, need a plane ride
But it isn’t August
And it isn’t then
And I am not her

But I do need to do this – it is time
Do it better this time
Do it for me, do it with me this time
Use some of that wisdom I’m supposed to have gathered
It’s been twenty years
I still don’t have my mantra

But I do have a raincoat
And on the darkest days
When the rain comes down
And I feel like I could just give up and go home
I know, from experience ….
That may just be the day the miracle happens


Copyright © 2016 · Forty and Everything After

Tiny Ridiculous Moments – On Falling Over

Back to travel tales for a little while …..

I have already described a few of the ‘Tiny Perfect Moments’ I have been blessed enough to experience during my little adventures to date. Magical little episodes that can neither be planned nor recreated, but just somehow work on every level to make your heart full up.

It would be wrong, however, to give the impression that travelling is always like this. It really, really isn’t. And, if it were, these special little sparkling moments wouldn’t be so special. Travelling can be utterly exhausting, it can be lonely, it can be dirty and painful and on occasion all you want to do is click your red heels together (like Dorothy from the ‘Wizard of Oz’) and be transported home immediately – to eat pizza and cosy up under a blanket in front of the TV.

For the sake of balance, I would also like to share with you over the course of my blog some of the ‘Tiny Ridiculous Moments’ I have experienced. Some more ridiculous than others. I swear to you, these are the stories your friends really want to hear when you get home. Not the ‘Perfect’ stuff, which may make them green with envy (even if you could adequately put words to how beautiful these moments were for you). Your friends want to hear about the disasters, the unfortunate encounters, the near arrests, the ambulance rides, etc, etc.

These stories are the good stuff, the meaty mouthfuls that cause inhalations of breath when you recount them, much laughter, occasional tears, and no short measure of “What the hell were you thinking?!” These are the moments you are going to tell over and over, because the perfect moments are really just perfect for you. Falling over is something everyone can enjoy. Read More »