Written June 22, 1014
Phew! What a roller coaster ride it has been. We have been in Europe for a 16 days now and today it feels like we have been here forever. The days are beautifully long, mostly full of sunshine and the scenery is fantastic. We did a good job in preparation for this grand adventure. Jason was thorough in his investigation of the camper van, flights and we had most of our stuff packed a few days before our flight (quite unheard of in our previous adventures). We had a later flight scheduled which works well traveling with a child, as most of the longer flight was spent sleeping. Once we landed in Amsterdam, Jaco, one of the individuals we were working with for our camper van rental, picked us up and brought us back where we would go over the details of our ‘new home’ for the next three months. Once that was completed, to include unboxing and setting up our bike, our next stop was the grocery store. It was a new adventure to figure out what each item cost as we could not read the signage. Also, the grocery stores we have been in so far require the shopper to do the weighing of the vegetables. We have shown up a few times at the cash and been sent back to do our own weighing.
After the grocery store, we began our first of many hunts for a camp site. We were sent in a certain direction by the camper van owners but once we arrived we were unable to get in the gates. We were not too disappointed as it was somewhat of a wonderland of a campground and we prefer the quieter, in the woods type of camping. We then used the map on our phone to navigate ourselves to the green part of the map, hoping there would be a little space for us to lay our heads. Fortunately, we did find a little spot and excitedly cooked dinner and set up our camper van for our first night. The next morning, Felix slept until 11 am!! It was a dream! Jason got up to run and stayed in bed relaxing and enjoying some solo time.
We needed to be in Chamonix, France, by June 16th, giving us ten days to take our time getting there. Our next few stops were in Brunnen, Switzerland where we spent two nights camping. There is a large lake in Brunnen where we spent our afternoons swimming and soaking in the views. Our Next stop was Saas Grund, Switzerland. We stayed at another lovely campsite for two nights, giving us the opportunity to ride the gondola as a family and get a taste of what Jason see’s almost daily. On our first night in Saas Grund, we went for what we thought was going to be a short hike with Felix. There were little houses along the way that motivated Felix up the mountain a little over one mile. It made my heart smile to see Felix enjoying a hike so much. When we got to the top, there was a little church where we went inside and lit a candle and said a little prayer. Felix was wide-eyed during the experience as it was dark and mysterious in the church. We realized it was getting late and dark and had to motivate Felix to hurry down the mountain. It took a little encouragement, however, we made it before it was completely dark. Witnessing Felix hike is probably my favourite experience so far. Felix and I often go for hike while Jason is running. We even go for very short runs and ‘do what Daddy does’.
Our next few stops included visiting Zermott, Switzerland and a night and day near La Buet, France before arriving in Chamonix.
Jason had a few days of filming with his sponsor JULBO in Chamonix and with the filming came a hotel room. How sweet it was to walk downstairs to breakfast, have a bath, enjoy a Jacuzzi and best of all…be taken out to delicious dinners each night of the filming. While Jason was working, Felix and I wandered around Chamonix in search of park, we hung out at the hotel as the more we travel, the more I find Felix and I our ‘homebodies’ – ironic eh? AND we took a ride on the gondola, which has to be one of Felix’s favourite activities. In Zermatt, we saw a gondola toy that he continues to ask if he can have a gondola toy at his next birthday.
Now for the emotional parts of the first few weeks. The truth is, looking back at my childhood and my way of being in the world prior to our adventures, I have been an am a homebody. I LOVE coming home to my own space, having a sanctuary where my family and I can just BE. I love the feeling of safety of home, the consistency of home, and I really enjoy having my own space. I grew up in the same town for the first eight-teen years of my life, which I still consider to be ‘home’ when I talk about it. There’s a sense of peace and warmth when I land in my home land and even more so when I step into my parents and sisters house. I also love love love community. Wherever we have found ourselves, I take great pride in the friends and extended family that have become a part of my life.
Traveling has really stretched me and my ‘homebody’ self. It’s allowed me to create a space within where I can find a sense of peace, a sensation to call ‘home’. Sometimes I lose this feeling and get anxious, sad, and grumpy. Fortunately, it just takes some dancing for me to find my way back ‘home’ to me. One of my favourite things to do alone in the mountains is to dance with the mountains. There is strength and wisdom roaming in the hills. Dancing in my bare feet, with peaks surrounding me, I find great JOY and I re-find ME.
Amongst the stunning beauty of the Alps, I have a longing for my mom, my dad, my sister and her family, thinking of the deep love and the depth at which I miss them brings a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes. I long for a hug from my friends in Colorado, Montana, and Canada. I long for a conversation with another mom friend, knowing that I’m not going through these crazy three year old experiences alone. Yes, I know I’m living and adventure that many are envious and many may not manifest in this lifetime. And, Yes, I am taking it all in. It is magnificent, it is stunning, and it is humbling to be surrounded by such beauty. I am doing my best to really enjoy each moment, BE in each moment.
Here’s to the adventure, the unknown of each moment, and the joy that comes from relaxing into the now and most of all, here’s to dancing through it all.