How are you today? I hope this finds you well and happy. Thanks for accompanying me on my travel adventures so far. There are plenty more stories to come.
Last weekend in good old London Town, I enjoyed a beautiful, sunny, Spring bank holiday and reflected on the amazing year that has gone by. On 2nd May I celebrated the anniversary of a special event – the day I met my partner Brett. “How did you meet?”, I hear you ask. Well, now there’s a story and it goes something like this…
One sunny, Saturday at the beginning of May, my boss called me into the office. At that time I worked as a humanitarian adviser for Crown Agents, seconded into the Department of International Development’s (DFID) CHASE operations team. You might remember that Nepal had suffered a devastating earthquake on 25th April, a week before. We had deployed our fabulous emergency team to Nepal to support DFID colleagues and partner organisations to deliver emergency relief to the people affected by the disaster.
Meanwhile, I was on duty, along with fellow colleagues, to support the emergency response at the London end. So it was a hectic working day for us, but all good (a few Krispy Kreme doughnuts kept us going!) When my shift was over later on that afternoon, I wandered out of the office in Whitehall and ummed and ahhed whether to catch the bus or the train home. Decisions, decisions, decisions, what to do today? ..Feeling a tad lazy, I crossed road and waited at the bus stop.
I drifted into a reverie, oblivious to the hubbub around me, when a handsome chap leant towards me and spoke to me. “Why is it busier than usual today? There are so many people around.” I looked up into his blue eyes and smiling I said “Oh, I expect they are celebrating the birth of baby Princess Charlotte, she was born this morning.” And that was how we began our conversation.
Brett introduced himself and I could tell by his accent he wasn’t from around these parts! He asked me what I was doing and I told him about my humanitarian work and that our team had been working around the clock on the Nepal emergency. He seemed interested and somewhat impressed. I found out that Brett hailed from Canada came to London for a few months to donate one of his kidneys. Now, it was my turn to be interested and impressed! We chatted some more and quickly realised we were waiting for the same bus, the number 87 to Battersea.
As it turns out, Brett’s mum and sister live around the corner from me. What a synchronicity! The number 87 bus arrived, we clambered up to the top deck and talked some more. I can’t remember how we got onto the subject but we found ourselves sharing our thoughts on el Camino de Santiago. Another synchronicity! Brett had walked his Camino two years before and I told him that I wanted to walk it one day. (Little did I know then, that in a few short months time I would be on a plane heading out to Biarritz on my way to my starting point on the Camino Frances). The conversation flowed as easily as if we had known each other for years. All too soon, we came to the Queenstown Road stop and Brett got up to get off the bus. I gave him one of my reiki cards and wished him well for his kidney donation.
By the time I reached home, Brett sent me a message and invited me out for tea the next day, after I finished work. I accepted and the rest is history! This just goes to show, you never know whom you might meet when you travel on public transport. “So he picked you up at a bus stop did he?”, I hear your thoughts…(I can read minds you know…). Yep, that’s about the long and the short of it. Picked up at a bus stop and less than a year later, at the end of March, I boarded a plane to Vancouver to visit him. Skyscanner had turned up trumps (not Donald) with a great deal from LHR to YVR with KLM. I have to say Vancouver airport is now my second favourite airport after Changi in Singapore. I love the waterfall in the main atrium, which soothed my soul and connected me at once with nature, whilst I stood in the immigration line.
Brett met me at arrivals with a lovely, long-stemmed red rose and a beautiful gift and whisked me away to the sea plane terminal, where we caught the 5-seater to Ganges on Salt Spring Island. The last time I flew in a 5-seater aircraft was way back in the mid 1990s, when I worked as a humanitarian aid worker in the refugee camps in Tanzania. Team mates and I used to fly with MAF from Ngara to Mwanza for some R&R breaks. This trip was incredibly different and the scenery just as beautiful. We swooped over the bay and I marvelled at the patterns in the water below. The sunlight on the water sparkled and shimmered, energising me after my long haul flight. I was elated to be here, in Canada, my first trip to this wonderful country.
A short 20 minute ride away we landed, smoothly on the water in Ganges harbour, Salt Spring Island. Wow, what a way to arrive! Brett walked me over to his yacht, Theros on Kanaka wharf, which would be my home for the next three weeks. Time for a quick cup of tea before a tour of the boat and the harbour. I couldn’t believe I had arrived, finally. Brett and I hadn’t seen each other for six months, since he came home and I flew off to walk the Camino. We’d kept in touch of course (thank Universe for skype) but it felt so good to be reunited again. We popped up the ramp and wandered over to the bright, Taco van overlooking the harbour and brought some tasty fish tacos back to the boat. We talked into the night.
At the crack of dawn, Brett woke me up to get ready. We prepared the boat for sail and set off for Sidney, a few hours sail away.This was my first keel boat sailing lesson and it felt great to be out on the water, despite the fact I wasn’t sure what time zone my body was in! Brett proved to be a good and patient teacher!
After about three or four hours of gorgeous sailing in the strong sunshine, we docked in front of the UK Sails loft in Sidney, as Brett had ordered some lazy cradles, which were ready to be fitted. This was an incredible start to my holiday. And it got even better. A while later on in the cabin, Brett pulled out a ring and asked me to marry him. I was overwhelmed and managed to whisper, “Of course I will”. Ecstatically happy, I realised I have a lot to thank the number 87 bus for!
Peace, love and light,