Sometimes we need a little whimsy to cope with fears and recover after emotional situations.
I am taking a well-deserved vacation from the working world. Last week I travelled by train to spend time with four sisters in Québec City.
We were on a sort of pilgrimage, visiting the home town of our dear, late Mother. During our stay we put on our tourist shoes in-between visits with our elderly Aunt and our French cousin.
Wall Mural Quebec City
Planning for this trip had started in the depths of a long, cold Canadian winter. I was looking for something that provided more comfortable travel than my bumpy airplane ride up North in 2012 and something that ensured more walking – and less wine and rich foods than my wine country tour in 2013. An off-hand suggestion within sibling email discussions evolved this into plans for a sisters’ reunion. Our six (!) brothers plus in-laws have been getting together on an annual basis for nearly 30 years. Why shouldn’t the sisters take some time away from family and work for a little reunion too?
While in Québec City, we definitely got in enough walking. We also consumed sufficient wine and rich foods. Hence we appreciated the opportunities to burn calories while exploring old Québec.
Some of us had plenty opportunity to practise French which was our Mother’s first language. We asked questions of our sweet Aunt about growing up in Québec City, of her recollections of our Mother’s younger years and her future aspirations before meeting our Father during WWII.
Our Aunt answered our many questions and confirmed indeed that our Mother had plans to get married and have children. We don’t know if she planned on having so many children though. The results of our inquiries quelled my concerns and speculations on how she may have lived a healthier, longer life.
My sisters became curious about my little traveling companion – a small stuffed owl and how I included him in landmark photographs. At first, it was likely seen as another of their youngest sibling’s quirky distractions.
Owlie and Le penseur statue
Owlie and I go way back – at least to May 2014 when I tweeted my disappointment at not winning a critter during a Telus Business sponsored seminar. Telus quickly responded and offered to send me a critter. They sent two!
When Owlie and I first met
While the lazy Panda stayed home, Owlie accompanied me and a couple of the offspring for touristy activities around Ottawa this summer. He appealed to my sense of whimsy and promise for a few Amélie-esque excursions.
While in Québec City, this critter accompanied me to challenge my fear of heights.
He added a sense of adventure and whimsy to my trip.
He accompanied us to a museum exhibit of the Greek Gods but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to sneak a real-time photo due to to copyright issues – Phfft! So I spent money on a book and an owl-themed souvenir.
My four older sisters warmed up to Owlie’s presence and participated in pointing out owl-themed photographic opportunities. After a while, they were either sharing in my whimsy or becoming tired and sadistic in their discoveries –
During the morning of our last day, Owlie served as our talking stick while we gathered in one hotel room to say our tearful goodbyes. Everyone got a turn to speak – uninterrupted.
Owlie as the sisters’ talking stick (notice we removed the tourist attraction stickers)
We all enjoyed our time together despite the occasional miss-communication and agreed to do this sisters’ reunion on a regular basis, straddling the full family reunions every five years.
I am already saving up for my next travel adventure somewhere in Canada. Of course I will be sure to pack my little companion to help document the experience through photographs as I continue to learn about geography, history and culture – while embracing a sense of childlike wonder and whimsy.
Below are some choice Twitter exchanges with Via Rail Canada and Owlie’s Telus family:
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Thanks for dropping by. Please note that this post was not sponsored by Telus nor Via Rail. I just like their way of doing business in satisfying requests and accommodating travellers.
If you like my writing style and childlike sense of wonder, you may enjoy reading the ebook version of The Year of the Rabbit – a novel about Fate, Family and Forgiveness. It has many excerpts that show my nostalgic fondness for trains. I don’t think owls are featured. Why not read it to find out?