Thursday, November 7, 2013

Is Wanderlust a Curse?

People keep asking what fun things i’m doing.  And i can’t do anything but answer, “Oh, same as EVERY day here on this Rock!” 

Bowen Island is a beautiful place, and i love it here in my Sanctuary, but it’s a lonely place too!  It’s where i hide away from the world, planning my nefarious schemes..  Well, not completely nefarious, but i’m sure that’s what some people think!  Ok.. some of them ARE rather wicked, but that’s neither here nor there. 

I’m planning the next stage of my life, and having a blast doing it!  I’m a planner at heart, so my in-depth research and organization makes my heart sing!  (Btw, my ONLINE life is orderly, my REAL life looks like a bomb went off, but.. i’m good with that.  ...Priorities!)

My wandering feet... across
Frame Lake, Yellowknife, NWT
And it totally has to do with Wanderlust!  That deep NEED to move around this earth of ours, making a new place home for a while, then moving on again.  Honestly, it’s a driving force that i can’t contain!

Hey.. i don’t expect you (or anyone) to understand.  I don’t understand it myself!

I mean, leave the friends and family i love.. a new house just built especially for me.. to live life indefinitely like a tumbleweed?  

 *song pops into my head* ♪ ♫ Mama was a rolling stone….. ♫♪ Wherever she lay her hat was her home! ♪     

 And yes, i know the next lines to that song would be, “And when she died.. all she left us was alone..”

 And there we have it.  Is Wanderlust a curse?

 It’s come to the point that when i see people in a tv show, obviously happily living their lives in their nice homes with family and friends.. living day to day.. i actually feel so sorry for them!  How can they stand being in the same town their entire lives?? 

Yet i did that myself, for many years!  And was very happy, thank you very much!  I wouldn’t change those years for anything!

But now… i can’t do that anymore… not for the life of me!  I’m cursed with Wanderlust, and nothing else will suffice if i want to be 'truly' happy!

At THIS time of my life.

And IF the Travel Gods allow it of course.  I am precariously perched on top of three very important factors.  Finances, Health and Having a House-sitter.  It’s a very delicate balance, and if just ONE of those things go out of whack, i’m S.O.L.  And my health is going downhill so fast, it’s like i’m in a race against time!  Which fuels my need to GO!  NOW!  While i CAN!  Before it’s too LATE!

I’m sure that once i get some serious wandering under my belt, complete with bug-infested beds in a multitude of youth hostel dorm rooms, getting lost in places i shouldn’t even BE in, and actually never being able to be alone… i’ll be ready to settle down and be reclusive again.

At least for a while, until that Lust builds up in my soul again...

Apologies to the people i love and who love me...

Sunday, October 6, 2013

UK and the Schengen Zone.. Long-term Travellers Need to Be Mathematicians!

I swear, this journey has so far had the BIGGEST learning curve! And of course, the REAL learning doesn't begin until i step off that plane in the spring! But...

Until last night, i thought that i had 3 months for EACH of the countries in the Schengen Zone (Google is your friend)! Talk about naive and misinformed! I have 3 months TOTAL for the WHOLE AREA!

I HAD planned on using my 6 months allowed in the UK for spring and summer, then in the fall, heading into the Schengen Area and spending anywhere from a month or three in every country, indefinitely! Hehehe.. oh man.. *shakes head* *sigh* So yeah, this new info CHANGES EVERYTHING!!

So.. here's the NEW IMPROVED low-down.

Once i step off the plane in London, my 12 Month UK Time-clock begins, with 6 months allowed to stay. Then, ASAP, the next day or so, take a small trip to Paris, which will start my 6 Month Schengen Time-clock, with 3 months allowed to stay. In/out privileges, as long as i don't go over the amount allotted.

THAT way, i can take a bunch of side trips into Europe during my 6 months in the UK, and when that time is up and i MUST leave the UK, my 6 Month Schengen Time-clock will be finished, and i can start a NEW 6 Month Schengen Time-clock.

Then i'll do a few countries... starting in Iceland for the aurora?... Germany for Oktoberfest?... Italy to Greece, ending up in Barcelona, Spain for xmas. It's all timed for xmas in Barcelona because, well, where ELSE in the world are there not one, but (count-em) TWO POO-related christmas traditions?? I just can't miss out on that bizarre cultural experience!

Which leaves me 3 months left in BOTH my UK Time-clock and my Schengen Time-clock, and i can't step foot in ANY of the countries!

So... i'll have to head elsewhere.. outside of the area for 3 months. Morocco? India? Macedonia?  And then.. we'll see from there whether i go BACK and start my Time-clocks again to travel around the countries i missed, or something totally different. I guess i'll find out when the time comes. IF it comes and i haven't chickened out long before then!

And.. if i think about it.. my little trips into Europe while i'm in the UK, means those weeks will not be clocked, so.. i can add them to my 6 months allowed! IE: I spend 1 week in Paris, 1 week in Amsterdam and 1 week in Berlin. That's 3 weeks that i didn't spend in the UK, so.. i can stay 3 weeks longer than the end of the summer! IF i wanted to. OR after my 3 months are up from my 2nd Schengen Time-clock, because i'll still have 3 months left in my UK Time-clock.

Does it all sound complicated? It IS! (OR, maybe i'm just not explaining it well).  But anyway.. like i said.. long-term travellers need to be mathematicians!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Yet Another New Plan of the Hour --- EUROPE

For the last month or two, i've been researching & planning a 'move' to Europe, leaving Spring, 2014.  No plans as to how long... just indefinitely.  Been talking to a few guys in London, which makes it more real and comfortable knowing i'd have friends there.

Finally a true GypsyKat?  Or yet another swing of the Indecision Pendulum?

We shall see.. we shall see...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Volunteering... Finally, something resonates!

My goodness... i'm sitting here in tears right now.  I've found something that resonates with what i want to do SO much...

And i found it in a post by Earl.  It's GrassrootsVolunteering.com.  I've wanted to volunteer on my journeys around the world, but could only ever find places that expect you to pay BIG BUCKS (i'm talking thousands!) for you to 'volunteer'.  Sounds to me, more like a tourist scam (or 'experience', to be fair).  I simply do not have that kind of money!  I'll be travelling with a small daypack.. that's all!  It's hostels and street food for me!

But with Grassroots... you have choices!  FREE volunteering opportunities... Under $200 opportunities... and it goes up from there.  To see that list of free ones, started the tears flowing...

Thank you Earl (& Shannon of course, who has created the website)!  You've made my day!  :-)

Friday, March 2, 2012

My Life Philosophy

Yeah, i know... it's old and it's been around the block a few times. But.. it definitely says how i plan to live my life! I just have to change one word (i don't drink wine that much)... I wonder who wrote this...

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - Mai Tai in one hand - chocolate in the other - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO-HOO, what a ride!!"


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Aaaaand.... About face! Now Japan is on my radar...

No sooner have i decided that Chiang Mai is where i'm going to be living
next year... everything turns on it's head and now Japan is where i'm wanting to at least TRY to figure out how/where to live in, if at all possible!

See my new Japan blog... Amber Loves Japan.  *sigh*  Yet ANOTHER blog...  hehe (lets face it.. i just enjoy creating blogs and making them pretty).  But seeing it's not a place i plan to be moving through quickly, in hopefully GypsyKat style, i figure Japan should get a blog of its own.  It's all about how much time is spent.

Here in Yellowknife.. the sub Arctic.. i've spent a year, so it got its own blog.  And Japan would be the same, if possible, so i can learn Japanese.  We shall see if they even LET me stay long enough to get relatively fluent!

Anyway... new plans.. new research.  And it will all be on 'Amber Loves Japan'.

UPDATE: July 23/12 --- Japan is on hold.  I can't get a Visa to stay anywhere NEAR the amount of time i wanted there!  *sigh*  I think that maybe i should just keep everything here.. lol.. instead of making new blogs for everything!  Man.. i'm such a Blog Whore!  Lol

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My first year as a nomad

Well.. SORT of a nomad. The kind that stays in one place in their own country for an entire year kind of nomad.

I thought that would be a good way to eeeease my way gently into the whole situation, seeing i had never in my entire life been alone! From daddy’s house to hubby’s house to best friend’s house. Yup.. that’s me!

My entire life i’ve wanted to travel, and in fact have, a bit... leaving the older kids in school while taking the 2 year old for a 6 week Road Trip down to Las Vegas and Salt Lake City! So i’ve had my tavellin’ moments (actually quite a few).

But this year was different.

I finally answered the Siren Call of the North that had been screaming in my ear for a few years, and moved to Yellowknife, NWT, Canada, just 200 miles south of the Arctic Circle by myself! 

I was even in "The Yellowknifer"!  I have arrived!
And it’s been a wonderful year! I’ve made friends... become active in a
local drumming/singing group where we’ve performed publicly... learned how to make a drum, sacred rattle, medicine pouch, plus many other things like silversmithing, felting and beading and making Inuit-style mittens out of seal skin. I have a ‘Night Sky Photography’ workshop tonight!

Let’s just say i love, love, LOVE to learn new things!

And i’ve created a Life. In Yellowknife.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

An Unexpected Turnabout...

A whirlwind of change had has been buffeting my brain lately.  My plan was to come back to Yellowknife next fall after a summer in Vancouver, and my son’s wedding in September.  That would be so easy!  I LOVE Yellowknife!  I’ve got some great friends here.  I belong to the Sister’s of the Sacred Circle, where we sing and drum and perform in public.  And where i volunteer my time to host a Sewing Circle every week.  I have a JOB.  And not ‘only’ a job, but a job in the sub Arctic, in an Inuit Art Gallery!  How close to perfection is that??  And i love that job and the people i work with (and couldn’t even DREAM of a better boss)!  

In Yellowknife, i have created a Life!

So yes... it would be SO easy to come back here.  To my life, and my job..  It’s what i WANT to do.

But... i don’t believe that’s what i’m SUPPOSED to or NEED to do.  I’d tell you how i know this, but.. you’d just think i’m crazy.  So i think that bit of info will be just for my friends who also happen to talk to trees and Auroras and sing to rivers, like i do.  Ok.. ‘nuff said.. and now you think i’m nuts anyway.  

Suffice it to say... I have it on ‘good authority’ (in MY world) that i’m not meant to come back to Yellowknife in the fall.  I have other quests to follow, challenges at hand and fears to conquer.  My kids aren’t going to like hearing this, because they think it’s dangerous and i’m too ‘old’ to go to where i need to go.  They think i should go to Europe.  They think it’s safer there, and they may very well be right.

And sure.. i’d LOVE to go to Europe!  It’s a life-long dream!  To see the Louvre and other incredible ‘Europe-y’ places?  It would be the SAFE thing to do.  I do WANT to go there.. and i WILL go there.  But... it’s not where i NEED to go right now, to find what i’m looking for at this time.

The place i need to go to is Thailand.  I need to swallow my incredibly intense fear (literally.. i cry every time i think of doing this thing), and travel to Thailand and Southeastern Asia and Indonesia, alone.  Not that i WANT to go alone.. Hey.. if anyone wants a travel partner to Chiang Mai Thailand.. i’m your babe!  Save me from having to face this fear!  Or not.  I still have to go!

The newest plan of the hour is to live in Chiang Mai for about 3 months (Jan to March), and travel to close-by countries now and then during that time... Cambodia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Bali (just because it’s Bali).. and oh my.. India and Nepal?  And of course, REALLY experience Thailand.  I plan to learn how to speak at least a bit of Thai (or at least try my best).  

I’m not happy to just visit a place.  I need to LIVE there.  My thought is for at least a month... three is best.  Actually, starting in Chiang Mai IS my ‘safe’ route.  It’s the place that all nomads seem to congregate when they need to settle down for a while and relax.  So.. sounds like a good place to start a nomad’s life to me!  The other countries i’ll just be scouting for future living possibilities.

And Thailand is the ‘Land of Smiles’.. a place where people will bend over backwards to help a complete stranger! Considering my experience tonight with slipping on ice in the middle of the street, not being able to get up... and a car just driving around me... and a guy going back into his house... I need to see this Thai personality for myself.  Are they really like people say they are?

Anyway, where i go after the 3 months is up, is of course, in the air.  Maybe head down to Australia for their fall (and see my niece!).. then through some south pacific islands to Easter Island to Chili (to re-learn my Spanish and see penguins?).. and then...?

OR.. head north to Japan and stay there for a month or two.  I SO want to live in Japan.. it’s been 40 years since i’ve been in Japan (the first country i fell in love with, when i was a kid)... before heading back over the Pacific before it gets too hot.

OR.. head west and into Europe... or.. whatever, i don’t know.  WAY too much info for right now.  Aaaa!   

Or heck.. maybe none of this will happen the way i’m thinking it will!  Chaos does reign after all!  And honestly, if my body does something like become diabetic, then i’ll be effectively grounded permanently.  Well.. to Canada at least.

I only know that next January, i at least plan to be stepping off a plane and into a new, more tropical life.. like it or not.  Honestly, i don’t know if i can handle the humid heat.  If you know me, you know i do not ‘do’ heat.  I thought the same about Arctic cold (being a wimpy Vancouver girl), but.. if you dress properly, extreme dry cold is no problem at all!  But.. bring in humid heat, and there’s nothing on earth that will stop you from being a miserable cretin, barring air conditioning.  Oh geez.. HOW am i going to survive the heat?

Well anyway... that’s the story.  I’m still in the ‘denial’ stage though.  (ie: NO!.. i want to come back to Yellowknife!  That’s comfortable!  That’s easy!)  It may take a bit more time and a few more tears before i get past this stage and accept the path i’m meant to be on this coming year.

Doesn’t mean i can’t come back to the Arctic the following year if i’m still in one piece...!  ;-)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Gypsy Sparrow...

Lol... i wish i could change my name to Gypsy Sparrow now (but that name is taken)... I find that the bird inspires me! I DO have a sparrow tattooed on my arm (thanks to my daughter's & my matching tattoos)... and i just yesterday bought a cheap little pendant that 'spoke' to me. An empty (3-D) bird cage & a sparrow flying away. To me, it represents my strong need for freedom!

Here is a good write-up on the symbolic meaning of the sparrow. Safety in numbers certainly would be something to remember on the road, but the rest really means a lot too! Reminder to be productive... to be creative... & to try to keep our burdens light. She's ever vigilant in her goals, and she has a spiritual side to her too! And of course we can't forget that sparrows also represent freedom! Can't get any more precise than that!

So... Freedom, Joy, Inclusion, Creativity, Simplicity, Protection, Community, Productivity, Friendliness & Spirituality....

Well, gypsy sparrow may not be able to officially be my name, but she will certainly be my animal totem! Even though i'm a 'kat'! We all need to get along! Hehe... ;-)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My Gypsy life begins in 3 months....

the vagabond life...
Aaaand the pendulum swings back from Gypsy Wagon to Gypsy Vagabond... again.  I still would LOVE to have that wagon, but it's such a big investment in one lump.  SO... in the meantime, the vagabond dream is much closer to reality!

And really, when i get down to it... my move to Yellowknife IS the beginning of my nomad life!  I mean, i'll be leaving my friend to look after my house & cats, and will be moving on down the road & living in a new town... for a year.  I'll just be staying in my first stop for a lot longer than most towns, that's all.

This whole thing is doable only if i have my best friend to stay with the house (good thing he loves it and is willing to pay for it) ... AND my "patron" is still able to finance costs... rent, food & travel.  Without that... i'm screwed.  So, as long as these blocks are in place, i really need to take advantage of them!  Because who knows how long they will last!  *knock on wood*... The stars are aligned to be a vagabond, so, i had better get my *ss in gear and DO IT!  While i can!  Hopefully it will stay this way for a very long time...but  i'll just cross those bridges when i get to them.  One step at a time, and it looks like a vagabond is the first step!

Friday, February 25, 2011

♪♫• Rollin' rollin' rollin' ♪♫•

Wow.. i can't believe that my brain is back on the Gypsy Wagon (RV) track again... my original idea! I would dearly love to travel the world... see all those countries out there that my kids have now experienced... OMG, what a once-in-a-lifetime experience! But chances are i'd be doing most of it alone, and with what's happening out there... Just look at what's happening in Egypt, one place i was planning on going to... or Korea (i was offered a free trip there with an old friend, but it's on the verge of war, and that makes me decidedly nervous).
a Gypsy Wagon

Ooohhh, nobody would ever take advantage of a woman traveling alone here at home! ;-) Hehe.. yeah, i know.. It's probably just as dangerous in an RV in Canada/US. But either way, my head is thinking RV again.Too bad i just missed the early bird RV show at the beginning of Feb. And the main show won't be on until after i leave for Yellowknife. So looks like i'm sh*t out of luck to go sit in RVs & dream of a life on the road! This whole RV thing would be so far in the future anyway, but... this girl does love to dream!
A Vampyre Story

As i've said before, i haven't even left for Yellowknife, and i'm already thinking/planning my years after that! Last night i asked my friend what will happen after i get back after my year up there, in the summer 2012 (as if he'd know.. lol). I really don't think that i'll be satisfied just staying in Vancouver! And certainly not being back on this island, sequestered from the world again, for yet another stint at a prison sentence! Renting a room in Vancouver might help, so i can get out there and socialize, but... i want to go live in new places, and meet new people... *sigh* You know... same old, same old. If you have this RV dream yourself... you get it.

Of course he didn't know, but suggested i cross that bridge when i get there. So... i wait. And in the meantime, i plan my next adventure... my move to Yellowknife this coming June...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Backpacking Kitty...

Can you imagine?? How cute, and what a great traveling companion! Apparently they're on a 9000 mile journey from Miami to Argentina! Now THIS is one way to be a vagabond alone... but not alone! Although that extra weight.. lol. I wouldn't be able to handle it! Especially not if i had to carry a tent, etc too! But still... CUTE OVERLOAD ALERT! :-)

Thanks Kitty Stampede, for posting this!

Friday, October 22, 2010

The dream is born....

It seems WAY too early to be starting this blog, but... the planning of it is going to be a looooong process, so i might as well start with this!

Gypsy Kat's New Life starts in June, 2011. I'll be moving to Yellowknife (in the NWT, Canada) for a year (or maybe just 6 months.. we shall see), by myself. Well, that's the plan at least. Find a part-time job, find a roommate/room.... and live with the Aurora Borealis.

 The Call of the North has been strong for years now. I have a Northern/Yellowkife blog (life-north-of-60... where i'll post most of my Yellowknife experience), but i've not even gotten to YK (short for Yellowknife) yet, and i'm already dreaming of the year or two after that! So seeing that it all has to do with seeing the world and living in it, i've now added YK to that 'life'.

And what are those plans i'm dreaming of? To travel the earth with a backpack, like a gypsy vagabond. To live in other countries and completely immerse myself in the cultures, by working and living with the people. To live in the moment (unlike now, where i'm obsessed with the future).

This would not be a vacation... it's a lifestyle choice. A dream. I'm sure it's WAY too ambitious, and i certainly may not even be able to handle it when push comes to shove, but what can i say? I'm an incurable dreamer! And i want to at least try!

Gypsy Kat's dream started a few years ago with wanting to buy an RV & travel around Canada & the US. Stay at one place long enough to make friends, see the area, maybe do some paintings and selling them online to help pay for food, etc (can you say 'dreamer'?), then move on to the next place.

But then last year, my 18 year old daughter went on a 'Kontiki' trip to Europe for a couple of weeks, then stayed there for about a month afterwards. I followed her trip with loving envy on facebook... such a lucky girl! And at this moment, my son is in France with his girlfriend... his 5 month journey around Europe & area almost done. OH, the experiences they've had! Camel journey & sleeping under the stars in the Sahara Desert in Morocco, waterfall sliding in Switzerland, and SO many more! I can't wait for them to return home so i can hear all about it... and pick their brains! I SO want to do that too!

Which was when Gypsy Kat's determination to actually DO that was born! I've wanted to do this for years, but i've only been obsessing about it for a couple of weeks so far, but MAN the desire is strong!

Gypsy Kat's dream of a New Life continues. In the meantime, there's SO much work to do...

I have started a travel blog for Gypsy Kat at travelpod.com/members/gypsykat ... so i may continue this thing there. I really like the setup there. I can create a different blog/album for every country, and the entries include a map. So... hopefully see you there... in the future...

(web shot of the template, just in case i change it in future)...