Lynda Cronin on CBC

I listened to CBC Radio’s Radio Noon phone-in today, because the guest was Lynda Cronin, author of Midlife Runaway, A Grown Ups’ Guide to Taking a Year Off. I first got the idea for a year off about two years ago. Unfortunately I haven’t done anything about it besides think.

According to Cronin, just about anybody can do this. All it requires is good planning and three to five years of saving money. Ouch. That’s the hard part. I not only have a lot of um, lifestyle debts, but I continue to maintain a lifestyle (if not a life).

Cronin says if you’re serious about it, you just have to make certain choices about where your money goes. Well, I’m part way there. I don’t spend much on my car, and I haven’t done a serious clothing splurge for about a year and a half. But my rent is high and I tend to eat well. Mind you I don’t eat out often, so that should count for something.

Hmmmm. Maybe I should buckle down and get serious. After all, 1993 was the year of ed for many reasons, and I haven’t really had a comparable year since. (I’ve had good ones, just not that good!) 2004 has year of ed ll written all over it, if I can just get the debts down, and live cheaply until then.

A year.

A year without a job and many destinations. How about this for an itinerary off the top of my head:

A couple of weeks on the islands of Croatia to chill out, decompress, and get into the groove. Across to Budapest for a couple of days, then spend a few weeks going across Romania, through Moldova, to Odessa in the Ukraine (for some reason I’ve always wanted to go to Odessa). Chill with the Ukranians for a week then travel the coast of the Black Sea south through Romania and Bulgaria to Istanbul.

Pass a few weeks in Istanbul then travel down the coast to Antalya and across to Cyprus. Depending on the situation at the time, either check out Beirut and Jerusalem, or just skip over them and head directly for Cairo.

Pass either a few weeks or a few months in Cairo, depending on the living situation (I might be able to get an apartment there, cheap, arranged from home). From Cairo to Crete for calamari, then back across the Mediterranean to Tunis. From there, overland through the Atlas mountains to Casablanca and then Marrakech.

And that’s just the first half…

It’s so damn cold today!

Get this: May 1, 2001 was the warmest May 1 on record in Montreal (about 28 C). Today, May 30, 2001, is the coldest May 30 on record! Specifically, today had the “lowest high on record” (the high was about 10 C). Grrrrrrr!

Small World Department

Any anglo Montrealer can tell you about our “small town within a big city” environment, where we all seem to know each other, share the same viruses and STDs, and everyone seems to have bonked everyone, and if you haven’t at least your room-mate has. Well here’s an anglo Montreal Small World Story of global proportions:The players:

  • Moi (bystander)
  • Randi (my ex)
  • Mikel (another bystander–a buddy of mine, and a former office colleague of Randi)
  • Virginia (Mikel’s ex)
  • A quadrapalegic kid in Bangladesh

It was a Monday night soireé on the Main, in honor of the upcoming Montreal Fringe Festival. I was there with Randi and we bumped into Virginia, who works for the festival. Randi and Virginia haven’t met before but have heard of each other.

A bit later, I’m talking to Virginia about international travel and Bangladesh comes up. Her parents, it turns out, are there as diplomats. I mention that in 1996 Randi had spent six weeks doing volunteer work in Bangladesh at a hospital for people with spinal cord injuries.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, Virginia has not only heard of the place where Randi volunteered, but she’s been there several times. We found Randi on the other side of the room and had her confirm we were talking about the same place. The hospital (called the “CRP”) is funded through a variety of international sources and is known to the diplomatic community, and hence to Virginia’s parents, who introduced her to it.

It gets better. When Randi was there, her favorite patient was a 14-year-old orphan who had been working and living at a factory, and one night she fell out of a window and got tangled up in a mangrove tree, rendering her quadrapalegic. Randi and some others taught her to paint with her mouth, and she’s now living somewhat independantly as a mouth-painter. Virginia not only knew who Randi was talking about, but purchased some postcards of this girl’s paintings when she was there last year.

Imagine that. Wecome to Montreal.