Signing off in Seattle…

Well technically I’ve been north of Seattle on Camano Island, but I’m still signing off.
It’s weird to think that what started months ago is about to draw to a close. Shame really, as it’s been quite possibly, the best 6 months of my life. The jaunt has certainly been jolly.

I went for a nice run in a beautiful state park on the island last night, and I couldn’t help but reminisce as I ran. Thinking back to my first run, in Kyoto, back in March. There has been plenty more of them, and the strangest thing was, I was able to recall each and every run. Seriously, everyone.
This does not surprise me as I have endeavoured to try and commit my trip to memory. Where it became a great way to put myself to sleep at night, recalling a daily snippet from each day of my trip, and then flowing through my journey day by day. I guess I did this as a way of insuring I don’t forget. So perhaps I don’t fail to remember to be thankful for everything I have experienced, not to forget how blessed I have been with this trip.

So yes, to catch my flight tonight I’m driving up to Vancouver with my friend Judith, whom I providentially met at the Sydney airport,  returning from the last time I was over these parts back in 2011. I’ve spent the last week enjoying her wonderful hospitality, traveling around areas of interest, meeting her friends and being fussed over at every cafe we visited, insuring we get the best flat whites. It’s been really nice. Though the sun has only made itself known these last couple of days. It hasn’t been raining, far from it. There has been a huge draught as of late, and massive Forrest fires that have caused very poor visibility due to the smoke. So yeah, I only recently got to see that they do in fact have very large and impressive mountains in Washington State.

Before I came west, and after I left my northern adventure, I got to do one more lunch with my good friend Miss Black, though I’m sure the next time I see her she’ll be a Mrs. I made pancakes for another buddy, in thanks for sleeping on his couch. Good ol Fabio. I gave him his camp name 9 years ago on account of his long flowing locks. It’s good to see he’s traded some of his hair for a briefcase. I got to have one more beer with another exceptional fella, who I wish lived closer. But that’s the things about good friends, time and distance can be quickly resolved. From there I jumped on a train I was very familiar with to see some other good folks I also wish lived closer. The last time I saw them back in 2011, there was just the 3 of them, Steve, Kariss and a 12 month old Henry. I met Steve and Kariss on my first trip to Canada, so a good 10 years ago. I think we bonded over chicken wings and nachos at 4 in the morning watching the All Blacks destroy the Canadian side. Kariss, is a kiwi, so I knew I we’d get along fine, and it was good to hear that she has maintained her strong kiwi accent. It’s been good to keep in touch as the family grew, and pretty darn cool to meet a now 6, Henry, a 4 year old Lydia and Theodore who is almost 2. Steve has always been one of my favourites chefs, and his cooking did not disappoint! I got his very best Perogies and eggs Bene. I’ll store those recipes away.
I left them earlier than epected as I had plans to catch up with some other buddies I’d been hanging out to hang out with since I got to Canada. Firstly, a big northern Irishman whom I spent a good amount of time with both in Canada and Belfast. I do love the Northern Irish accent, as I often find myself adapting my speech to suit. The next was my old housemate from my time living in Waterloo Kitchener, back in 2009-10, Jil. The last time we caught up I realised I trusted her impeccably, as she took me for a ride on her motorcycle at a asquilion miles an hour. This time, it was just nice to hang out on her porch chatting over pizza, watching a storm go by. Plus she was kind enough to let me stay at her place which is near the main train line to the airport. Which meant my early morning departure wasn’t as early.

This league of my trip has certainly been enjoyable. If you remember, the first part I knew know one, but the last part, I went only to where I knew people, well except for Magnetawan. It’s interesting as I, along with everyone else I suspect, would hold that life over the past 6 years has definitely changed us. I’ve grown is some areas and shrunk in others, not all for the good of course. So it’s been enjoyable reestablishing friendships, whilst also forming many others.

It’s all very interesting heading home, I suppose I can’t put the inevitable on hold forever. And to be fair, it’s all on once I get back. I have a medical assessment on the 18th, a pre-interview for Ordination on the 20th and to top it off, a sermon to prepare for on the 24th. I’ve got to find a job, a car and a place in Auckland to call home. I’m ending one adventure only to start another. Sure, I’d like to suggest that I won’t wait as long until my next big trip. I’ve got a few ideas; I like the sound of Central America, almost as much as I’d like to head back to Greece and head East instead of north west. But I also like the idea of using the full 90 days on offer on the tourist visa to road trip around the U.S of A, that would be fun. As Americans are mighty friendly folk.
To be fair, everywhere I have gone, people have been friendly. I really can’t think of any place where people were intentionally mean or unhelpful. A lot of it comes down to my attitude. How you project will shape the way people respond.

Anyways, to conclude.
It’s been an absolutely golden last 6 months and so the awards go to…
Country visited I would most love to return to: Greece, followed by Japan and then Croatia.
Country least likely to return: Slovakia, Bratislava.
Favourite city visited: Vienna, Austria.
Most liveable city: Edinburgh, Scotland.
Most impressive attraction: The Upper Corinth, that place was incredible!

Honourable mentions: Bosnia and Serbia were surprisingly fantastic, as was the Czech Republic. I do love Germany, and I’d like to try travelling extensively around the U.S someday, that would be fun.

So yeah, that’s about it I guess. It’s been fun, I hope you have enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed getting the material. By last count I have about 1500 photo’s and around 100 videos. Each one tells a story or has a story to tell. It’s been a story I’ve really enjoyed sharing. But my story, God willing, will go on, I just wont be writing about it. Well, perhaps, I’m sure this next 6 months will be just as jolly, if not adventurous.


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