It’s funny how quickly situations in life can change sometimes. Not long ago I was bemoaning the loneliness that can set in with solo travel, and then in the metaphorical blink of an eye I found myself so busy socializing that I could barely manage the time to keep up with my writing. (A problem I will happily choose any time!) My other big change has been location again…. Yes, I realize this is a travel blog and so it’s not news that I’ve travelled… But I’ve left Europe and I think that any continent change deserves specific mention. Friday morning I flew out of Warsaw, enjoyed a 5 hour layover in Amsterdam, and wound up clearing customs in Edmonton. This city isn’t home for me, but close enough that I have my own people here. People like Tricia, who will be in most of my stories this post. I’ll give a visual to help while you continue reading; she’s the blue-eyed beauty on the left. You’re welcome. 😉
And a little foreshadowing… she’ll feature prominently in this blog when we go to another new continent, Asia, this fall.
When I set out on my travels I had people say to me “aren’t you worried about the dangers?”, and my answer was always along the lines of “of course I am, but I’ll be careful. Plus who says home is safer anyway??” So not that I’m keeping score or anything, but I have two new examples proving MY point on this issue.
Number 1 – Crime: It seemed like a man was following us in a store last night, and just after we started paying closer attention he set down his basket full to the brim with items and bent over it for a moment as if looking for something. Suddenly he’s dashing straight out the door and into an SUV that screeched up to the entrance. My theory is that he was using us as a distraction cover while he boldly shoplifted a ton of stuff. Jerk.
Number 2 – Wildlife: I still can’t quite believe this happened, and it happened to me, with witnesses! Walking along the river valley in an Edmonton park, on a paved pathway through the trees, I nearly stepped on a snake. (!!!!!!) Good thing the snake was fast, and it disappeared away into the bushes along the path before my heart was able to resume beating. It was BIG! And black with a bright green/yellow stripe down the length of it. As my foot was about to come down on it, and it began to move away I gave a startled yelp and hopped back/over away. That’s how I remember it, but another version is that I ‘screamed like a girl’ and jolted over to the other side of the path. Sounds a little dramatic to me…. I prefer to think I kept a bit of dignity in that moment, but who knows?! One thing for sure is I was awfully jumpy for the next hour. A Google search has me convinced this was a Prairie Garter Snake, which can grow to be about a metre long. I had no idea there were snakes like this in Alberta. I think I liked it better in that ignorance.
So since I’ve established that home (home province) does not equal an automatically safer environment, it’s easier to announce that my next trip begins in a day from now. I’ll be on my way to another country again early Tuesday morning. See what I mean about change happening quickly?