Travel & Food Journal

The Realities of Living with a Parent with Dementia

It’s 7:40 a.m. and I’ve barely slept. I’ve been awake for twenty minutes, and out of bed for roughly six.

“There’s something wrong with you!” my Dad says, angrily jabbing his temple and glaring at me with every ounce of energy he can muster.

I’m tired. Too tired to start the day this way.

My Dad has dementia, and unfortunately, this is the new normal.

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Sri Lanka: Feeling Intimidated in Colombo

It takes a lot for me to admit defeat. I’m Irish, English, and Scottish, so naturally I blame my heritage for my stubbornness and desire to ignore advice from fellow travelers who I consider negative or aggressive. And by aggressive I mean they tell me a place sucks and that I should go elsewhere, and I promptly make a note to ignore them and go anyway. Childish? Maybe, but that is how I roll. There was no way I was going to end up being intimidated in Colombo.

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Scotland, Sixteen Years After My First Solo Trip

I remember as though it was yesterday. The heat of the sun. Crowds of locals relaxing, reading books, napping or having a picnic in a large public park. It’s a Sunday and as I sit down in the park, overlooking Edinburgh castle, a solo bagpiper starts playing, sending chills down my spine and bringing tears to my eyes. I was in Scotland (Edinburgh to be exact). Alone. And it was glorious.

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A Lobster Cooking Class En Français

 

I’ve eaten more than my share of lobsters over the years, but this was the first time I was cooking lobster at home, by myself. It’s not a big deal, you boil a little water with a whole lot of salt, cut the bands off the lobster claws – making sure your hands and the rest of your body is nowhere near the claws – before putting the lobster in the pot head first, and putting a lid on the pot. An easy process.

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An Outlander Inspired Trip Through Scotland

Craighs of rocks among groves of moss-covered trees, valleys of apple green grass with hints of golden yellow, burnt umber, and rusty orange, dark shimmering lochs, mountains that are ten times larger than they appear, and centuries old castles. Scotland is full of beauty (and a rather brutal history which I’ll write about another time), and has been the backdrop for many movie and television scripts and books – Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander book series being the latest television series to join the ranks.

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Travel Did Not Change Me, Freedom Changed Me

I didn’t grow up thinking, ‘I’m going to be a solo female traveller’, it’s something that happened purely out of circumstance. While my friends were in school, working, getting married, and having children, I craved freedom, independence, adventure. Sure the whole marriage and kids thing has popped into my brain a few times over the years, but I have a hard time justifying a need to stay in one place, working a job I don’t really enjoy, all in the hope that at some point marriage and kids will magically happen.

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Notes on Learning French

I will be the first to admit that my language learning has been slow. I do okay when I visit a restaurant or shop, but whenever someone engages me in a conversation I panic. I hear maybe two or three words, and I have absolutely no idea how to respond. If I’m eating out, I say ‘Oui’ in hopes that I have been asked a yes or no type question. While this most times, this is often a dead giveaway that I am anglo and the person I’m interacting with will either switch to English, or look confused and speak more French.

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A Day in Yellowknife

It’s 4:00am and I throw back the curtains in my hotel room, hoping to see clear skies after a rainy and grey arrival the day before. 

I was greeted with a wall of fog so thick that I couldn’t see anything beyond my balcony railing. “NO!”, I groaned, shaking my fist weakly before shutting the curtains and crawling back into bed. Maybe if I pretend to go back to sleep Mother Nature will curb her diva act and bring on the sunshine.

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