Always dreading the long flights, we have decided to look at them as just a way to get where we are going. But - where exactly are we going?
Last night Barrie asked a pointed question: "When we leave Naples, are we leaving home to go to Europe? Or - when we leave Europe, are we leaving home to go to Naples?"
So there it was - hanging out there. A question waiting for an answer that we just don't have yet. It does however point us in a direction of getting an answer and we both know what that will be. Or at least, what we want the answer to be.
As I write this blog, I am sitting at the window of our lovely apartment and new home (for a month) in Delft, The Netherlands. A sidewalk separates our front door from one of the many canals around Delft. We are staying in what was the original Delft Blue factory built in 1656. Delft is one of the oldest cities in The Netherlands. We are a two minute walk from the medieval town hall and market square.
The ever present bicycles are riding past the window and others are parked next to the canal. The bells from the church chime throughout the day. The sky is gray and the trees are still bare from a winter that is passing into spring, but not close enough yet to have buds. Our souls are at peace here. We are warm and snug in our home and can put on our coats and go out for a winter stroll that we love - whenever we want to do so.
Because of Home Exchange we have the incredible opportunity to travel often and not have the expense of hotels. But more importantly, it allows us to live like the locals wherever we are. We have met wonderful people and made lasting friendships through our travels.
In 2016, we exchanged homes with six families. In 2017, our plans will take us through ten different exchanges. In 2018, we already have two exchanges planned. It is my childhood dream that I am living! But it is much more than that. It's discovering the world I have longed for. . .a world that has so much beauty and goodness to offer.
Barrie grew up in London, but has been in the USA since 1996. Five years ago, he said he would never go back to London. His work had taken him around the world and the only place he had not been (that he wanted to visit) was Ireland. That was our first trip together. It was 2012. In 2013 we returned to London again and in 2014 we took "The Trip Of A Lifetime" when I retired and ended that trip in London. We look back on those trips now and realize that we went on a trip for a vacation. Now we leave our home - to go home.
We get many comments from people about our travels. The most common, of course is - "I will carry your suitcases for you if I can go!" Or - "Can I fit into your suitcase". But the comment that one of my best friends recently said was, "Absorb it all - while the world allows"! That was humbling and profound!
We trust God to have continued good health and the blessings to be able to continue traveling. I'm sure it would have been much easier when we were younger, but here we are and boy are we drinking every drop of nectar from it!
We live in an uncertain world with no end in sight of the ugliness and hatred that seems to have been unleashed. In the meantime, we cling to the fact that the world we know is full of loving people who do not wish ill to anyone!
There may be travel restrictions that come up in the future that we cannot foresee, but for now, we go out our front door and step into the door of a strange and wonderful new home, town/city, culture and atmosphere and "absorb it all"!
We savor every bite of this beautiful world!