Reflecting on starting this travel blog, I think back to how my family and friends have always referred to me as a gypsy. Even as a small child I loved when our family traveled, and always felt that “the road” called to me with whispers of unlimited possibility. At 18 years old I answered the call, and have been moving or travelling ever since.
What gives a prairie boy who grew up in the relatively small city of Regina surrounded by loving family and friends, the desire and determination to strike out on his own, to travel and roam? Two words resonate as I ponder this: roots & wings.
My dear Mom, who wanted me to leave less then anyone, had the courage and faith to let her son have his freedom. Freedom to wander and follow the call of my curious heart. Secure in the knowledge that my family would always be there, right behind me…no matter where my dreams took me. Family roots that gave me wings to fly.
I remember when I was 21 years old, leaving Toronto for New York with all my worldly possessions crammed into a couple of suitcases, someone asked my Mom if she was worried. She responded that she stopped worrying about me when she watched me move from city to city and coast to coast…always landing on my feet and taking to my new surroundings like a duck to water. A true gypsy, a nomad.
This blog is dedicated to the memory of my beloved Mother Eadie Stetner, who lost her courageous battle with cancer this past March. Sometimes since her passing, it feels as though my life has been shattered into a million pieces. She was more then just a loving parent. She was my best friend, co-conspirator in my travels, adventures and dreams, loudest cheerleader, greatest inspiration, and the all around best “partner in crime” one could ever ask for. Oh the fun we had! Celebrating my 21st birthday together “barhopping” in New York, eating delicious curry at a little pub off the beaten track in London, cooking lobsters in Nova Scotia, or falling flat on our faces on the wet rocks at Ogden Point in Victoria…laying there splitting our sides with laughter. Priceless memories that I will keep safely tucked away in my heart, always.
As I begin to wade through the murky waters of grief, I have found myself grasping at straws, looking for something, anything that I can use to pull myself back into the light. One word echos in my heart again and again: Travel. My wonderful family and friends have been incredible throughout my Moms illness and passing, trying to provide comfort in any way possible. But grief is a strange, unpredictable, insatiable creature, that can sometimes produce actions that seem counter-intuitive. Their love and support mean the world to me, but somehow I know that I will find my healing on “the road”, through Travel. Counting on loving roots to once again give me the strength and wings to fly.
I have explored many beautiful places in Europe, but two cities in particular enchant me more than anywhere else. Granada in southern Spain, and Paris. Knowing that these are places where my soul is truly at peace, I have booked a trip this October that will see me spend my first four days in Paris, then to Granada for two weeks. Time to re-calibrate after a difficult year, and hopefully figure out how to put the pieces back together again. A pilgrimage of the heart.
In this blog I will share memories and photography from past trips, along with new content as my journeys continue. In some small way I hope that I can share the joy, inspiration and wonder that travel brings me.
Mom, I will now travel farther and more fearlessly then ever before, knowing that you are my lodestar and guiding light from above. My roots and my wings, I love you.
*Mom and I on her last Mothers Day in 2016.
*Photo taken of the dome at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, 2016