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See Ya Later Vancouver

Once upon a time, I went to a party and a wedding broke out.  Initially it seemed like a very swish little cocktail party complete with swanky catering, flowers and a bar tender but something was up, big time. When the bride-to-be who had earlier been wearing a serious LBD shocked us all by suddenly appearing  in a white wedding gown you could feel the oxygen being sucked out of the room.  WTF?  As she stood elegantly at the railing of the loft above us a curious hush settled over the crowd below.  Then she declared with great confidence  “When you know you want to be with someone for the rest of your life, you want the rest of your life to start right now”.  And they proceeded to get hitched.  Personally, I suspect their parents were pissed.

Now, the marriage didn’t last (neither did my first, we all get a mulligan) so this may actually turn out to be a cautionary tale about being too impulsive,  but the fact remains, sometimes you just have to get on up.  That’s why, instead of departing as scheduled at the end of August, we are getting out of Dodge sooner than later.  This Thursday we fly to Paris to begin our year long travel adventure.  Eeeeek! …and Yaaaaaay! 

Eeeek because I’m scared.  Scared of a lot of things:

photo 11 – Scared I’ll miss our son Holden and all of his shenanigans and young life progress over the year.  What if he needs me and I’m too far away? What if I need him?  He’s 21, working and a young man totally able to look after himself.  Still, those mom-roots run deep.  Call it reverse empty nesting.  Aren’t the kids supposed to be the ones to leave? 

2 – I’m scared of the unknown.  This one is more of a nervous low-grade anxiety that wakes me up in the not yet light with thoughts of “what if we can’t find each other in a market in Morocco” or “say Lyla gets bitten by a rabid dog in Istanbul and she starts to foam at the mouth?”  You know, those crazy middle of the night thoughts that sit on your chest like a bag of rocks until the reassuring light of day chases them out of your bedroom? 

3 – I’m scared I’ll get fat…again.  Hello, vanity my old friend.  There is a serious dread of croissant + baguette + fromage + wine = 20lbs.  Lately I’ve been getting in fairly good shape (for me at 49).  What if all of that goes out the window because we left our green smoothie makin’ Vita-Mix at home and are living on delicacies and sitting on our asses in cafes all day?  

4 – I’m also deeply concerned that either of us driving in Europe may trigger a serious breach in our wedding vows based on overuse of profanity from the passenger seat.  He’s too fast, I’m too slow. Could be a deal breaker.

My husband calls these little bouts  of crazy ‘speed wobbles’.  When things are going along too smoothly and life is but a dream I have been known to poke a tiny hole in the balloon just to keep things interesting.  The glorious freedom I was asking for, pining for is here and this occasionally  freaks the shit out of me.

And Yay!!  Yay because we’ve peeled away all of the layers that have been containing our fabulous Vancouver life until there’s nothing left but the three of us and some luggage standing at the curb.  No jobs, commitments or obligations.  No cable, dog or school.  No tax returns or cel phone contracts.  Snip, snip, snip those clinging vines that tether us here. To home.  We’ve said goodbye to many sweet friends and dear family who make our lives here so meaningful and fun. We’ve been gathering, feasting, cheersing and toasting.  There has been a lot of planning, imagining, organizing, packing, scheming and frankly, (on my part) obsessing. 

Tara McGuire 93Most of the controllable details seem to be in order.  The house is packed up and rented.  Mocha our sweet yet anxious German Short Haired Pointer has been delivered to the loving arms of Auntie Janet’s dog haven and the cars have been returned the dealer.  Enough of this waiting around. It’s been the week before Christmas for the last two months!  I wonder if other people get exited when their birthday is coming up sooner than their  yogurt expires? That’s the feeling.  It’s kind of like the moment your finger nails have been too long for too long and you can’t possibly go one more second without trimming them even though you’re already in bed so you get up and trudge to the bathroom in the dark to find the clippers. Thanks again ADD.

Yay because we seem to be creating a bit of a theme.  Our entire trip mantra has become  a ‘follow  your nose and wing it’  concept, so why not begin on an impulse?  We have dear friends who happen to be holidaying in France right now and we thought it would be cool to spend a day with them.  Our first in France, their last.  Why?  Because we can. That’s what freedom is all about. 

Tara McGuire 254Rick Steves may be your home-boy and Fodor’s travel chat sites may be your favourite iPad bedtime stories (I adore them too)  but we are trying not to plan ahead.   Fortunately we don’t have to because we have the luxury of time.  The control freak in me is jumping up and down in the back of the classroom with her hand up begging for attention but I’m ignoring her.  Not planning is hard.  We do have a few items on the agenda, like a French language school  in October, but we really are going to attempt to chart our course based on personal recommendations rather than guide books and tourist pamphlets. 

This idea was a loose one at first but began gathering steam when we realize that so many of our favourite places in B.C. are not in guide books or listed on travel websites.  They are just funky, out of the way, unique, often non-commercial places with no glitz or marketing campaign dollars.  How would you know to take that hiking trail or swim at that secluded little beach or enjoy the best chocolate chip cookie in the world unless someone, usually a local someone, filled you in?   For a two week holiday I would typically have every nano-second booked up with the latest and greatest tours and attractions.  This is different.  We’ll attempt to use feelings and personal connections as our compass.  Can you tell us about the best restaurant around here?  Where do you go for a long weekend?  What do you do for fun?  Do you have a friend who could loan us some bikes or paddle boards or snorkels per favore?  

Tara McGuire 47So we are out of here.  Thank you so very much for all of your good wishes of safe travels, gifts, notes, emails, texts and hugs.  Thank you for caring enough to follow along on this journey.  We will probably make some big mistakes and find a few dead ends but that’s part of the deal.  

When you want your life to be free and full of exploration, discovery and adventure … you want that adventure to start right now.

with love,

                                                                       ~ tara 

15 Comments

  1. As Emile Zola said:
    “i came to live out loud.”
    You have but one chance. Take it. It is much harder to live safely than live as an adventure. Much more to lose by not chancing. Chancing: beauty, meaning, joy!
    Love the post

  2. Cindy Armstrong

    Safe travels. Follow your nose and you will have the ultimate adventure! Look forward to hearing about your travels. A wise woman once told me (my mom when I left for Europe many, many years ago) don’t rush back, the same old is happening here…..

  3. Jayne

    Hi Tara. We do not know one another…but I was a loyal listener of your morning show. I miss you & Mike more than words can express. And…I also believe in karma. You…dear Tara…deserve this gift. Embrace every minute. And please follow your dream of writing. I love reading your blogs & I hope to read your book someday. Be safe, be healthy, be happy & continue to be fully present in every beautiful moment.

    • Wow Jayne, I’m not quite sure what to say? You’re on to me! It’s not gratifying to know we made someone’s day a little happier. That was always the intention.

      Best to you and thanks for your good wishes,

      Tara

  4. Linda May Dinsmore

    You are such a gifted writer Tara and I love reading your posts because you’re able to put into words the crazy thoughts from your head (that we all think of at some point !)
    I am looking forward to hearing about your travels and know that when I’m walking down a road in the south of France during my holiday in Oct, might look up and see you and your family and say, there goes Tara McGuire and she’s having the time of her life !

    Safe travels and all the best on your most excellent adventure.

  5. Linda (Hamill) Dewitt

    Tara I love love love reading your blog! You are a very creative writer, a gift so many people would love to have ( as I would but I suck!) but only a few can truly excel at, as you do.
    I will be living vicariously through your posts and relishing in your adventures !
    It takes a very strong, committed and loving family to commit to a one year away from everything familiar.
    I wish you safe travels , amazing adventures and happy trails

  6. Tara – bon voyage to you, Cam and Lyla.
    If those ‘heavy what if’s’ show up – shove them aside and ask yourself ‘what if it will be even more amazing than I could have ever planned’? Sometimes the getting lost part leads you to an even better place (or yummier chocolate chip cookie). Looking forward to reading all about it!

  7. Erin Bird

    Finally this exciting “jump from the diving board” day has arrived! Safe travels and so look forward to sharing a wonderful evening en Paris on Saturday! Special toasts to an extraordinary year ahead! Can’t wait!

  8. Monique Cappiello

    Hi Tara,

    Thank God I finally found you. Like many others I was a loyal listerner of the morning show. I miss hearing you and Mike on my way to work every day. It is not the same anymore. Now that I know what you have been up to, I will follow your blog and look forward to read about all your adventures.

    Kind regards,
    Monique

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