We speak often of life changing moments: The day you get married or you have your first child. The loss of a parent, the ill prognosis for a friend. Usually we speak of them in the past tense. The moment has happened. The effect of the moment is what we have left and in the processing of it we can point to that moment when it happened and recognize it for what it was. A moment when everything changed.
I’m in a different position this summer.
I’m poised to take on what I know will be one of the most interesting summers of my life. I can see and sense that what awaits is the stuff forever memories are made of.
It’s happening in stages and I’ll share it with you here as it happens and in various magazines, newspapers and outlets over the months to come. But it is a weird thing to know in advance, to feel it in my bones, that I’m about to be affected.
First is the seemingly simple trip I have planned this week. A girls’ weekend with friends and colleagues in New York City. (You can follow along online on Twitter at #NYCGirls). I’m not a girly girl and the group I’m traveling with is a mix of shopaholics, history buffs, up-for-anythings and all around great people. The trip, which has turned into a bit of an annual escape, is meant to refuel our tanks. We’re all mothers and a weekend together doing the things women do when they get together without worrying about others has proven to be well worth the trip in previous years. We’re staying at The Peninsula hotel on 5th Avenue, taking in the award-winning Kinky Boots play and spending more time than I can even begin to imagine in the famed shopping outlet Century21. I expect to come home from that trip with heavier bags – in my arms and under my eyes – and plenty of memories of both the shareable and never-to-be-discussed-again kind. It will be fun.
No more than 48 hours later I’ll be on route to a completely different experience. For a week I’ll be exploring the forests of Rwanda. Specifically, my trip will take me to the Virunga Lodge run by Volcanoes Safari where I’ll (fingers crossed) come within seven feet of the gorillas that call the forests home. While I’m excited to see the majestic beasts up close, I’m even more excited to witness first-hand the huge strides that the country has made since Tribal Genocide ripped it apart (to the tune of more than 800,000 murders) only 20 years ago. I remember the genocide from the news events of the time. I remember the massacre from the movie that has kept it at the centre of my nightmares ever since. But I also remember the work I did with Right to Play and the tales of survival and forgiveness that emerged from that experience. To have the chance to meet the people who have survived and thrived in spite of the unthinkable gives me chills. It will be inspiring.
At the end of June, I’ll hop another plane. This time Ish and the boys will join me as we do something we’ve wanted to do ever since we left British Columbia and set off on our around the world trip in the summer of 2011. We’ll spend more time in that breathtaking province. A two-week road trip will include stops in Osoyoos (Canada’s only desert!), Tofino (surf and sips!), Vancouver (Foodies unite!) and Whistler (Mountain action in full effect!). We’ll also spend time on the Rocky Mountaineer before doing the one part of our round the world trip that was planned but never realized – Seattle, Washington and hopefully, Portland, Oregon. It will be time with the family I’ve missed so much since we came home and fell back in line with “normal life.” I can’t wait to have them to myself again. It will be heart-filling.
And so that’s what I have to offer you so far this summer. Fun, inspirational, heart-filling stories. I hope you’ll come along for the ride.
What about you? Big summer plans?
What a spectacular summer. Rwanda is a dream destination of mine. After two trips to Kenya I would love to experience more of Africa and understand the complexities of the countries and cultures.
My summer trip plans include a first trip to California, some family travel in Ontario and hopefully some spontaneous road trips.
Safe travel – sounds like a fantastic summer of memories!
Yes, you know how much I’ve loved my trips to Kenya too Kerrie. I’ll let you know how this compares. Expecting great things. And have fun in California! Great state. Where will you be? All over?
I live in Summerland! The weather has been amazing and it’s supposed to be a hot summer in the Okanagan. Enjoy!
Exactly what I want to hear Angella :)
Sounds amazing, Heather. Cannot wait to hear more about Rwanda.
And oh how you will Carol. Can not wait!
Heather, it warms my heart to read your post. We have the exact same picture with our daughter in Vancouver. I shared it on your facebook post. And my 14 year old can’t wait to be old enough so we can go Gorilla trekking in Rwanda or Uganda. You have an amazing summer planned and I can’t wait to hear more about your experiences. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks for reading Nina. I saw the picture! Fun! I wish you a fabulous summer as well.
Heather – You will be on quite an adventure in Rwanda. So much culture and natural diversity to experience. Looking forward to reading about it in the near future.
Thanks Colin. I’m excited about it. Waiting for the plane as we type!
This is extremely helpful, especially about Rwanda gorillas