1 Returning to 'Regular' Life | Traveling Light Blog by Travel Writer Colleen Friesen

Returning to ‘Regular’ Life

Last night I slept in my own bed. It was the first time since April 23rd.

The 24th Annual Stupid Cycle Tour was a great success and I cycled home from the Vancouver train station just before midnight. Kevin was in Kelowna and only just wheeled his suitcase in the door a few hours ago.

So now we’re here. Living in Vancouver. Just like that. No more France. No more cycling trip. Nada. Back to great coffee…and piles of paper and emails.

But! The laundry is close to done, the clothes that were put away for the renter have been brought up from storage, hell, I even dusted a couple of surfaces. Life is slowly being ticked and checked and tucked away into its organizational slots. I’m booking appointments, adding lunches and dinners to my daytimer and watching the summer days fill up before they even arrive.

There’s always lots of time to reflect and think while riding a bike and this past week found me remembering all the wonderful places I’ve been. I realize that in less than a year I’ve woke up in a lot of different places: Wales, England, U.S. (Montana), Mexico (San Miguel & Baja California), India, France, U.S.(Oregon, Washington).

In fact, I think I might just add up the number of nights away versus home…though part of me is almost afraid to do it.

But you know what?

It just never seems to grow old. I love putting my key in the lock on a new inn, resort, hotel, B&B, ashram, motel, gite or hostel.

When I was a kid, our summer holidays consisted of touring lots of hot and dusty areas of British Columbia. My dad would go talk to the mill guys, set up deals to buy their cedar shakes and shingles while Mom tried to keep control of me and my two older sisters in the cooking car. The tin of homemade peanut butter cookies helped and the horrible smell of the manky wash cloth in a plastic bag was enough threat to keep all of us in line.

But the subsequent stay in the nearby cheap motel made it all worth it to me. I loved collecting the Barbie-doll sized soaps. I remember ones with colourful totem poles on the wrapper & boomerang-shaped turquoise logos on others. ┬áBy the time I was 12, I’d amassed quite a basketful…all of them associated with our homes away from home.

I still bring back the soaps, and sometimes, the little shampoo bottles too. Each one releases its own little scented genie of memory and I smile, and then smile some more as I reminsce about all the moments that add up to make my life. Not all of them are good. But all of them are mine and are the exact combination that has resulted in my life thus far.

And it’s a pretty good life. In fact, it’s very fine.

I am so blessed and so very, very thankful.


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20 Responses
  1. ruth kozak says:

    Welcome back Colleen!

  2. Colleen Friesen says:

    Thanks Ruth. It’s great to return to the heat of summer…firing up the barbeque tonight. Vancouver is so fabulous in the sun!

  3. sarah says:

    And when it all settles, you’ll no doubt be diving into the writing of that book, I hope. Cuz I – surely one of many – would like to read your story, whichever one you write!

  4. Colleen Friesen says:

    Bless you Miz Sarah. You’re very right about the writing of that…that thing that I want to write. Stay tuned for an exciting announcement. Cuz of course, there’s always an announcement!

  5. Mandy Hale says:

    Those last three lines are probably the best prayer I’ve ever heard in my life. Thank you.

  6. Mandy Hale says:

    And you sound too busy–check out this comment on the busyness of living. Sounds like you had a lock on it while you were in France…


  7. Colleen Friesen says:

    Mandy. Bless you for saying so. Aren’t we all so privileged to be able to exercise and travel and eat well? The more I travel, the more I am reminded of just how lucky I am.

  8. Colleen Friesen says:

    Mandy, don’t wory about me becoming too busy. I have things scheduled, that much is true. But never fear! There’s more wandering down time than you can imagine :) I have a little of this and a little of that…exercise, meditation, hanging with friends, writing, the works…
    Having said that, I am working up to a block of total nothing-time in the hopes of really unplugging and tapping into the deeper writing vein.
    Thank you for sharing such a great article. I felt like shouting, “Yes! Yes!” I shared it on Facebook too.

  9. Gwen Morrison says:

    Welcome back! It looks like you had an amazing journey (again!).

  10. Colleen Friesen says:

    Hey Gwen. Good to be back. Heading to Sechelt today to see what’s going on there. I’ve heard the weeds have taken control of the place :)

  11. barb says:

    i’ld be thrilled to meet you at your favourite coffee place. good to have you back in the ‘hood.

  12. Colleen Friesen says:

    I’m in! Love being back in Vancouver with my favourite cappuccino’s and favourite friends in such abundance!

  13. Michele Peterson says:

    God, I love your writing. The story of your bike trip is a classic. Only you could make cycling 75 k of hills sound like fun!

    BTW there’s still media space in ATMEX – Adventure Travel Mexico in Veracruz this September if you’re looking for the next place to unlock. (http://www.adventuretravel.biz/connect/veracruz-adventure-travel-trade-show/). I’m in.

  14. Sharry says:

    Welcome home! Can’t wait to hear about your next adventure. I say that, but I do hope you get to enjoy home for a while. After my trip to Bhutan this spring, I’ve found that people keep asking me where I’m going next year. I feel more than a bit of pressure to up the ante somehow. Not that I’d mind!

  15. Heather says:

    Welcome back! Sounds like your re-entry was a lot easier than mine. Feel free to send tips! Wish we could’ve met up in France. It was wonderful watching you go online.

  16. Colleen Friesen says:

    Hey Heather, Having never gone off for a full year like you did, I can’t begin to send any tips. It must be a HUGE adjustment for all of you guys.
    They (whoever THEY are:) say that once we have expanded ourselves by an experience, it’s very hard to fit back into our former lives/versions of ourselves.
    Not sure if that’s exactly right on a metaphysical level, though I do know that on the very physical here and now, I am 6 lbs heavier than when I started and the clothes are a tad snug!

  17. Colleen Friesen says:

    Hey Sharry, I know what you mean about people asking where the next trip is, and fully expecting some wonderfully wild answer. I fear I disappoint a little when I mention a roadtrip to Saskatchewan. But here’s the deal. I’m really looking forward to that trip! We’re in Sechelt now and quite enjoying the gardening weeding life. I’ve got towels on the clothes line and feeling pretty darned content…though say tuned! I do have a new trip in the works. How could I not??

  18. Colleen Friesen says:

    Bless you Michele. I’m pretty sure I was grimacing more than smiling on this Oregon trip. The one 80+ km day we did was tough on the croissant-belly and duck-confit butt.
    Oh my. That ATMEX looks amazing & I’d love to meet up with you there, but I’m going to Mexico later in September so that is just a little too much to-ing and fro-ing, even for moi.

  19. Laurie Beeman says:

    Awesome travels and memories,
    welcome home Colleen,
    and what amazing weather to come home to!
    Thanks for all your sharing!

  20. Colleen Friesen says:

    Thanks for the Welcome Wagon Laurie :) The weather is certainly cooperating. Holy Smokes it’s gorgeous at the seaside, though I think with all those May/June rains, my garden went into mutant mode. I’ve decided to focus on one small section of the overgrowth at a time. Baby steps!
    In between I’m reading, writing and playing…bring on the summer!

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