Scott and I are back in Nova Scotia after a few months of work and play in Antarctica, South Georgia, the Falklands, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile. Phew! Travelling can be tiring, but also so refreshing. Now that we're home, we’re rediscovering familiar places with curiosity again. February on the South Shore has never looked so good! We’re visiting rivers that have recovered from their summer drought, watching eagles while running in the sand, and discovering perfect skating ponds.
As strange as it may sound, Antarctica, and the places we frequent along the way have begun to feel familiar to us. We started our travels with the usual this year; We got sunburns and stuffed ourselves with asados with friends in Buenos Aires; We celebrated Christmas and the New Year amidst penguins and ice with our adopted family of staff and guests from all over the world; We took some quiet time to ourselves on the chilled out beaches of Uruguay. This incredible migration is not new for us, but we’re lucky - for work we are surrounded by people who are stoked to be travelling, experiencing incredible places for the first time. Their energy is contagious. They help us remember - the places we visit regularly are truly incredible.
And then we decided to head off in a new direction - to the Pacific side of northern Patagonia - Bariloche and Chiloe to be precise. We soaked up stunning landscapes of the Andes and pacific islands. We met beautiful people. We let ourselves be curious and unscripted. We put down the guide book and hopped on ferries to islands that we knew nothing about. We followed the advice of convenience store staff and ended up on a stunning (and gruelling!) hike with not another soul to be seen for days. We tried the regional specialities - some of which were out of this world delicious, and others that became a source for heartburn and laughs.
Now we’re home, and we’re still a basking in the light -- exploring the familiar with fresh eyes. In yoga, we often talk about beginner mindset - where we turn off auto-pilot and approach our practice with openness, curiosity and awareness. Perhaps traveling can also help us be beginners, in how we inhabit a place and move through the day. We didn’t escape on our holiday. We went off-line and arrived.
At home, I’m spending more time being playful, immersing myself and having fun on the beautiful South Shore. February can often feel like a dark, isolating time here, and it seems easier than ever to feel overwhelmed by negative news. Yes, the light is weak and the skies are often grey. But have you gone outside and noticed how beautiful all the different tones of grey are? Have you noticed the warmth and humanity of the people that surround you? You don't have to smile about the state of the world, but please, take care of yourself. When I talk to friends and family who have likewise just arrived home from their own adventures, I recognize their travellers' high. What a privilege to travel for pleasure! Let’s make it last. Let’s be curious and present in our day to day. Let’s be beginners.