Wir gehen (we’re going).
Just not very far.
After enjoying 2+ years of being nomadic (“homeless”, Ted jokingly calls it), COVID travel restrictions have meant that I have had to forgo my favourite pastimes of researching destinations, choosing accommodations, planning itineraries, making lists, packing, and unpacking in new places. I miss those things more than most sane people can imagine. I love the challenge of an empty suitcase. I love the anticipation of a new locale. I love exploring unfamiliar places. I love finding my way around new kitchens. I even love the excitement of watching the departures board at the airport or train station. Ted loves the fact that I’m not moping around when we’re involved in a new adventure.
We’ve been stationary for 7 months, since our premature return to Ontario from San Antonio, Texas, near the end of March. It’s a symptom of that forced inactivity that I almost spelled the word “stationery” – I actually feel a bit like a ream of paper stuck on a shelf, just waiting for someone to use a page to write their next great story.
Anyway, our stay in Helen’s lovely little condo is at an end. We’re very grateful that she was able to allow us to take occupancy early when we had to return to Canada in a rush, and extremely grateful that COVID cases locally have remained under control enough that the condo complex pool was able to re-open during the hottest part of the summer (albeit with a very reduced capacity). We’d have been content – well, as content as possible under the circumstances – to continue our stay here, but Collingwood is a ski destination, and the condo has annual winter occupants, so the suitcases and bins are open and will once again be packed and loaded into our car for the short trip to our next “home”.
In anticipation of a crack-down on short-term rentals like AirBNB – which has in fact happened – we started looking for a place to stay way back in the late spring, once we decided to cancel this winter’s travel plans. Actually, we’re deferring ALL travel until January of 2022, when, if all goes well, we embark (healthy and vaccinated) on a 4 month world cruise. We were fortunate to find, using the resources of local realtors, VRBO, Kijiji … and AirBNB’s monthly offerings … a furnished condo in one of Collingwood’s waterfront communities that was available for a long term rental, and signed a lease for the full 14-1/2 months until our cruise.
In a spur-of-the-moment decision, the condo’s owner decided to take advantage of the hot real estate market here in vacation country and, with less than 2 weeks to go until our move-in date, called to let us know that she had sold the unit (without its tenants, i.e. us) with a closing date in the spring. So, 5 months from now we’ll need to move again.
Being nomadic means needing to be able to change plans quickly, and five months would normally be lots of notice, but it’s a function of these unsettling times that more people are buying vacation homes, or staying in their own, and thus fewer people are offering furnished rentals up here near our kids. We suddenly felt a level of “homeless stress” that we haven’t experienced before.
Fortunately, the nomad deities smiled on us. We’re going to be able to return to a townhouse that we’ve rented and enjoyed in previous summers here. (Thank you, thank you, thank you Carm!) That means that 2021 is now taken care of. I can sleep again, and dream of a time when we can once again resume travelling the world.
In the meantime, off we go… just 2 km down the road, across the 2-lane highway, to the southern shore of Nottawasaga Bay (a sub-bay within Georgian Bay, off Lake Huron), from which vantage point we will be able to watch from our deck as the ice builds along the shoreline. Were we so inclined – and we are definitely NOT – this is an area where we could go ice-fishing, snow-shoeing, and skiing. Instead, we will spend our first winter in Canada since retirement watching the waves freeze into spectacular shapes along the shore, while the fireplace glows and BritBox streams, being grateful that we won’t have to do our own snow shovelling.
So, for now, it’s goodbye to Collingwood….. and hello to Collingwood!