Wow, okay, it's now one year and three months later. I am beginning to see that there is possibly an end to this or a way to manage it. So it's time to think about getting back to learning how to blog and, with any luck, getting back to travelling!

Sooo.... I will update you as to what the last fifteen months have been like for me. As noted in the previous post, we had an overseas trip planned. When Covid arrived I had a lot of travel plans to untangle.

Roughly untangling the travel plan mess.

It required significant energy and time to contact airlines and organizations to get our money returned. Dealing with the airlines was absolutely the worst part. We still haven't received a cash settlement from WestJet. Instead, we got a voucher, some of which we used, though WestJet still owes us a portion. I had to contact them again last January to get the voucher extended to 2022. I'm still hoping that we will get that amount back in cash at some point. Air Malta refunded us in February 2021; they were the final European airline to come through. Surprisingly, RyanAir refunded us the quickest - although not quickly.

The Tunnels in Paris were the last to cough up for our tickets at the end of February - a year after we paid! However, perseverance did get us the majority of our money back. It was challenging and painful and stressful. It does mean, though, that we are financially ready to head out when the situation allows.

Given what this year was for many, we know that we are incredibly privileged and blessed and have no complaints.

So what have I been doing for the past 15 months, other than getting our money back? I have to say the first couple of months were pretty difficult for me. As you know, I retired to take our trip - so I was suddenly jobless. I was feeling very lost, in addition to feeling grief for losing the trip.

At the same time, we learned that my husband's coworker, who he works closely with, had Covid and was on a ventilator. So the shutdown, the trip cancellation and the brutal reality of Covid all occurred in the first week!

His coworker is 35 and had been very concerned about possibly getting Covid. He was using hand sanitizer and was looking for masks long before the rest of us. Thankfully he recovered; however, it made us very conscious of the reality of Covid early on.

My husband started working from home immediately while I struggled with all of the above. In addition, mental health issues for both of us surfaced at various times through the pandemic. It's apparent that we are not alone in this, and it is a whole conversation in itself. One we will all have for years to come.

Early on, when it wasn't raining, I spent a lot of "Crow" time at a small park near us. I'm one of those crazy crow ladies who feeds peanuts to the crows. I have never been attacked by one during nesting, though neighbours have, so I think it's working! To see how common crow attacks are in Vancouver, take a look at CrowTrax. They absolutely recognize me and saved my sanity in those first couple of months.

Then I got busy. I got a new Ipad, installed Procreate, a drawing app, and watched lessons on SkillShare; with these tools and a lot of trial and error, I wrote and illustrated a children's book. Cause that's just the easiest thing in the world to do, right?

It was a book for my grandson about Covid, and it took hours and hours and hours. I found that as I was learning, I often went back and redid everything - multiple times. Do you do that?

The book I printed for Arthur, my grandson. Contact me if you want a look at it.

In July, we took a short trip to the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. We visited with family and friends, socially distanced, outdoors. Most of the time, though, we stayed at our Airbnb, which had a lovely lake and hot tub. (Unfortunately, our hosts were selling their place, so I don't think it is available anymore) We didn't venture far as we were trying to remain as isolated as possible, and the location made it easy to do.

The man-made lake at our Airbnb in Comox Valley.

To continue with 2020, my daughter (and her offspring) needed to sell her place in Halifax and find a new home. But, between parenting, work and Covid, she was having trouble gaining any traction. After many discussions and mindful of the essential travel request from the health authorities, we made the trip to assist her. The province of Nova Scotia required that anyone arriving from outside the Atlantic provinces ( New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland & Labrador) had to quarantine for two weeks. So for two whole weeks, we did not leave our Airbnb, not even for walks. We were able to see the grandkids from our balcony for a few minutes a day but not hug them.

We loved our Airbnb there. At the risk of it getting overbooked and our not being able to book it in the future, here is the listing. It is in the North End, not far from downtown and perfect for us.

View from our Airbnb in Halifax.
Halifax Harbour boardwalk on a lovely day in October, 2020.

We spent four months in that Airbnb in Halifax. We felt pretty safe while we were there as the Covid numbers in Nova Scotia were considerably less than in Vancouver. We even got to spend Christmas with the grandkids!

Contrary to what most people think, Halifax does not generally get the severe winters like some areas of Canada. We did have a couple of snowfalls, but nothing more than we sometimes experience in Vancouver. We did live through another hurricane scare but, it turned into a bad storm by the time it made landfall.

While we were gone, we had Coral and Ken from Trusted Housesitters staying at our home in Vancouver and looking after our cat. If you can't get us as housesitters on Trusted Housesitters, we highly recommend them. We're hoping in the not too distant future that we will be housesitting your pets somewhere in the world.

We arrived back in Vancouver in January. We were very nervous going and more nervous coming home. We were not thrilled to get on a plane or be in any airports, but we made it without incident. We then isolated for two weeks at home.

Toronto Pearson Airport in January, 2021.

And since then?

More of the same.

Groundhog day.

I have tried to start a new project but so far have not delved deeply into anything. Vancouver in winter is very grey, and there is not much incentive to go out. On the other hand, I have read more books this year than ever before in my life - and I am a reader. I have watched more Netflix, Prime and reality programs than I am willing to admit.

Do you guys find yourselves thinking that there are TOO many people when you see crowd scenes in movies? Or that they are TOO close to one another? Or that they're NOT wearing masks? I wonder how long that feeling will remain once we get back to "normal."

I'm starting to watch more vlogs - thanks, Anna and Trevor, the Delightful Travellers and Kendall Rae for filling my need for travel and True Crime stories.

And, oh yeah, I dyed my grey hair pink and then purple!

We got our first jab of the vaccine in April, and we are actively planning our next trip to Vancouver Island in July, hoping that things open up by then. But, of course, we will cancel if the situation goes sideways again.

We are venturing around our area to places we love or have never visited before. Getting ideas so that I can post new blogs about great spots in Metro Vancouver that you can see and experience here. After all, we live in an exciting part of Canada, and the sun has been shining! Local day trips are better than no trips at all.

Vancouver in Spring is pretty special.

I think that brings you up to to date.

Do you have any questions for me?

When do you think it will be safe to go overseas?

What are your travel plans? Going in September? Next year? Where are you going?I would love to know.

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Until next time....

Gaye Tims

My name is Gaye and I am travel junkie in need of a fix. I have been torn between travel, creative arts and the law. Now I am giving into my creative side by including travel and lifestyle in my blog.
Vancouver, BC, Canada