Playing Ball in the Fall

My last post a few days ago was from Bogota, and now here I am again in Calgary, some 6350 kilometres later.  I have been bouncing around the globe in the most inefficient fashion, back and forth across the Atlantic twice, then a couple times across the Americas, with no end in sight yet.  I love it!   When else in life will I ever get a chance like this to be so irresponsible with my itinerary and fully live up to my Aimless potential??    Maybe I’ve seen that “It’s not the Destination that counts, but the Journey” quote in all its various Pinterest forms too many times and have really taken it to heart…. 

As I’m forming my thoughts right now, I’m soaking up the last of the afternoon light on a patio and absolutely revelling in the feel of the warm sunshine on my bare skin.   These are the kind of days I will always associate with HOME:  The sky a bright blue in all directions, the air just slightly cool but the heat from the sun making it more comfortable to be in shorts than jeans, green grass and yellow leaves.    Summer will always be my true love, but apparently I’ve got a bit of a thing for Fall now, too.   Fall is mysterious in my home town, changing daily and forever leaving me wanting more of these perfect days.

Like if we back up to earlier this week when I first arrived off the plane, Calgary was cold! Of course it was, since I had plans that kept me outside…  Here’s a little secret just between us: I came all the way home only to keep a commitment to my softball team after I had told them earlier I’d be at this final tournament.  That was before I knew I’d be in Colombia, and before I realized just how much I’d like Colombia and want to stay longer.  Oh, don’t get the wrong idea, it is NOT my skill that the team was relying on.  Nope not at all.  I’m really terrible at this sport. Embarrassingly bad.  But I’m a good cheerleader for the rest of the team, and I think I help by making everyone else seem like a superstar in comparison.  It’s good to know your role, right?!   

The tournament was held in a tiny rural town, and even though it was all new to me (I’ve never been there nor attended a ball tournament before) I had a sense of familiarity.  There’s something that just felt so quintessentially Canadian about this; where else would you find a couple hundred people camped in an open field and everyone smiling and having a great time despite nearly freezing?

Cold. Happy. Amy and Heidi

Our team at bat
Everyone is smiling – and no one knew I had a camera out! Maybe it’s the breakfast beers….

Close to the action at all times
Natasha and I around the campfire. Finally not cold!

I didn’t take many pictures, I blame my sudden shock at being reacquainted to the Canadian weather.  Too hard to take good photos when my fingers are numb and teeth chattering from the cold!   Still glad I came back for this, however much I miss my sunshine and beaches.  After travelling alone so much it felt great to be part of a team again! 

Suddenly

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?