We decided as a family to start this world tour trip last year. We wanted to take this unique opportunity see the world together as a family and take the time to pursue our separate passions. My passion that I’m pursuing is studying spirituality all over the world.
We decided to keep a very loose itinerary, to let “follow your bliss” be the main guiding light for this year. A scary prospect for me, a typical control freak Scorpio, to undertake. No solid plans? No timelines and detailed lists? While incredibly exciting, the prospect also induces a lot of anxiety for me. Regardless, this is something that I need to do for me, a learning experience I have to integrate. Surrender is the lesson I struggle with the most but surrender is what is needed to truly connect with your inner self, to the universe and to the divine.
You see, I’m a class A workaholic. I never stop. I’ve always been like that. Idle time is not something I’m comfortable with. If I’m not learning or accomplishing something I feel inept, useless and restless. I have a hard time just being. But it’s in those moments of stillness, of just being, that your inner truths have the space to rise to the surface. It’s in surrender that opportunities and lessons reveal themselves. So, we decided to let “going with the flow” define our itinerary and what has manifested so far has been a pilgrimage to my roots.
Our 1st stop was in December 2016. We visited Jamaica where I grew up. It had been almost 10 years since I’d been there last. I didn’t realize how homesick I’d been until the plane touched down on that familiar tarmac and I promptly burst into tears. The white sands and crystal blue waters. The salty tang in the air and the lush, rolling emerald hills. The sun hugging close to the land and the ruckus of crickets once it set. It was all a balm to my overworked soul. Yet, nothing was more healing than my very large, loving family descending on me like a warm security blanket.
Going back to the country and house of my childhood really highlighted the ways in which I’ve changed and grown. It also highlighted the cultural and spiritual differences of the two countries I call home. The first thing I noticed is that Jamaicans primarily show their love with food. Eating a meal in Jamaican culture, and in many cultures around the world, is more than just the act of physically feeding yourself. It’s about community, family and friends coming together to share in physical, emotional and spiritual sustenance. I was happily inundated with jovial remarks of “Child, where is the rest of you?! You could hide behind a broomstick! They must not feeding you properly over there! Here, let me fix you a plate!” followed by copious amounts of flavourful, high nutrient foods piled high. The entire trip I felt full: physically, emotionally and spiritually. For the first time in very many years, I felt relaxed. There are so many more observations I had that I will have to cover in other posts, the experience was just so rich.
Another amazing gift was to be able to see my childhood home for the first time through the fresh eyes of my daughter. Everything was so different from our Vancouver lifestyle. By experiencing everything again with her, I noticed things that I had never noticed before. It deepened my understanding of why sometimes Canadian and American customs and attitudes feel so unnatural to me. It highlighted for me the ways in which I feel we are doing things right and the ways where we have veered tragically off-course.
The learning continued when we flew to our next stop on January 1st, 2017: Ontario, Canada. Ontario is where I spent my high school and university years. It’s where I became an adult. I still have a lot of family and friends there and it’s where my parents still live. It had been almost 9 years since I’d been there and we landed in Toronto in the heart of winter. What a contrast to the tropical heat of Jamaica!
Here the learning continued and deepened. This part of the trip ended up being all about reconnecting, confronting and resolving my core family issues. I’d left to move to Vancouver when my daughter was only 3 months old and hadn’t been back since due to the hectic life of motherhood and entrepreneurship that I led. So I came back a different person than when I left. Again, being there highlighted the ways in which I’ve changed and the ways in which I hadn’t. Everyone has family issues and all the issues that I thought I’d put behind me came rushing back to stare me in the face. I hadn’t resolved these issues I’d just distanced myself from them. It also brought to light the root cause of some issues and habits that I struggle with. Sometimes the best way to gain clarity is to step back for a while before looking at the situation again with fresh eyes.
Our next stop was the city of my birth: Montreal. This is where I spent my 1st three years and most summers of my childhood and it is still my favourite city in the world. Quebec is a Canadian province with a decidedly European feel. It feels like you get the best of both worlds, and as usual, Montreal welcomed me with open arms. Most of my family in Canada is from (and still lives in) Montreal and they were so happy to see me and meet my little family. This is the place where I’ve always felt the most accepted and supported and we took the opportunity to just relax, explore, and soak in the ambiance. It was the comfort and rest I needed after all the emotional, mental and spiritual work of the past few months.
Now we are getting ready for the next leg of our trip to Europe. I’m am so excited for the next adventure and I’m so grateful for the inner pilgrimage that this trip has taken me on so far. That is the beauty of going back to your roots, of revisiting the basics. Every trip over this eminently familiar ground takes you deeper. It gives you a deeper understanding of yourself, who you want to be and your purpose. Every time you revisit you learn something new and gain invaluable wisdom.
What a great opportunity this has been to resolve and heal both personal and family issues. I feel stronger, more grounded and ready to face whatever comes next and my whole family is stronger for it. I’m so excited for all the opportunities for learning the rest of this trip is going to open up.