Reflections on Travelling Light….
This week I had many experiences I have never had before. When my older three boys were all away, I wanted to make sure that Teva would have an adventure of his own to share when reunited with his brothers. Unfortunately Aubrey was working like a maniac for most of the time that the boys were away. A plan was hatched for Teva and I to go on a 5 day trip with no plans…
We decided to fly to Quebec City, and then see where the wind took us from there. The weather forecast wasn’t looking promising – there was a potential for thunderstorms every day we were there. I didn’t want to book anything because of the possibility of cancellation. This actually turned out to be a perfect decision.
We stayed in an Air Bnb with a lovely family with 2 girls aged 6 and 9. This gave Teva all sorts of opportunity to practice his French language skills as they spoke next to no English. I on the other hand, had the opportunity to fully appreciate how much my French language skills had depreciated over the years. Hard to believe I was practically fluent when I left Ottawa in 1990. And although my Hebrew skills are also not what they used to be, they still managed to get in the way of my French.
Teva and I travelled light – each with a backpack and we brought my guitalele (or ukeguitar). Every morning we would wake up whenever we felt like it, Teva was usually up before me, reading quietly in his bed. We would eat breakfast and take the bus downtown. The family lived about a 25 minute ride on the city bus to the downtown core. Often, whatever we planned to do when we left the house, would change as soon as we got off the bus. For example, Wednesday we had a plan to go back to the Petit Champlain area for lunch, but we were a bit late, and the buses stopped going right into the Old City because of road closures. There were a a few temporary stops set up, and the new stop was right in front of the Farmer’s Market. We went there to pick up lunch items instead and had a picnic by the water. That is also when we discovered the Tall Ships Regatta (the reason for the road closures). We hung around there for several hours instead. It did rain, but it did not dampen our spirits – we ate well, saw lots of public art and public performances, and even got to tour a bunch of the Tall Ships. We were really never in a rush, and often took the time to stop in a shady spot, or a cafe, to people-watch or read from one of Teva’s new books.
Because we had left our plans open and flexible, we were able to fully enjoy every moment we were there. Because we were not tied to a schedule, we made spilt second decisions that almost always turned out to be better than we had imagined. We were free and open to take advantage of any opportunity that presented itself. It forced us to be present in the moment, every moment. It was truly liberating.
It felt very strange travelling alone with Teva. I kept feeling as though I was forgetting something. Even Aubrey and I have not done any travelling just the two of us for a long while. I had almost forgotten how to travel as a duo rather than in a pack.
I was very lucky that I had such a great travel partner. He was open to anything. I am sure it was empowering for him too. I encouraged him to make most of the decisions, and I also pushed him outside his comfort zone. I noticed that he did a lot less yelling than usual because he didn’t have to strain his voice to be heard. I enjoyed the time we spent together immensely, really getting to appreciate his personality even more than usual. Also, without brothers around to amuse him, he has finally settled into solo reading for pleasure. I will always be grateful for this time I had just the two of us, because as I already know too well, time passes in the blink of an eye. We saw an adorable 6 week-old baby in the airport. This underscored the fact that my baby is now 8!!! I am enjoying this next phase in our lives, when I get to see our boys’ unique personalities develop.
I fell in love with Quebec City, and am now looking forward to returning someday with our whole pack…