Greetings from Bayeux, France!
We've had a lovely few days exploring Normandy, diving into the history and indulging on all the fabulous cuisine of the region. It has been many years since my last visit here, and I am declaring I will return much sooner the next time.
I think it's fair to say that overall Normandy is underrated; the heavy historical energy is the first thing that comes to mind for most of us, and people don't know enough about all the charms of the region to get the whole picture in their minds.
Certainly exploring the war memorials and landing beaches is a sobering experience, one that doesn't really jive with the 'vacation' part of travelling. To my mind however these sorts of experiences are essential for developing greater empathy and understanding for the totality of the human condition.
For all the darkness here there were also acts of great bravery, love and moral courage; also the worst crisis was averted, albeit at an extraordinary cost. With the drums of war beating again in Europe it was a powerful reminder of how destructive war is, and the dangers of being complacent in the face of evil.
It also crossed my mind one of the reasons that our little group of Canadian travellers is able to explore Europe is in large part due to the sacrifices of these Canadian "travellers", many only teenagers and young men.
In fact there are many times when travelling that we benefit from the Canadian travellers who've come before us. For most of us being Canadian is a lucky accident of birth, and for reasons most of us had little directly to do with, Canadians have a favourable reputation in most places around the globe.
We've all heard stories of travellers from other countries putting Canadian flags on their bags to receive the warmer reception that it very well might provide. Certainly this has been the case in my travels! Our passport gets us arrival visas and other benefits, tangible and intangible, that people born in other places do not get, through no fault of their own.
So, we have much to be grateful for as Canadian travellers, and I think the way to live that is to affirm that when we travel as Wheel & Anchor, we will conduct ourselves in such a way that the Canadian travellers who follow us, will benefit from our having gone before them.
This is what I was trying to capture in the Traveller's Creed; it's about how we travel. How we interact with one another, the people we meet; the presence, compassion, and generosity we bring and resonate with while we are out there exploring.
I am extremely proud to travel with my fellow Canadians, and I think there is something special about the energy we bring as a group of likeminded Canadians. It's an honour to do it and visits to places like Normandy remind me the values Canada represents are deeply important. And, on the doorstep of Thanksgiving back home, it was all a very appropriate reminder of the many things we have to be grateful for.
Briefly, on trips - next up in the trip pipeline includes Scandinavia & the Baltics, yachting in Turkey, a new Croatia program, and more. I've also nearly finished the 2024 Trip Planning Calendar which we will release in short order so you can see what's in the cards for 2024.
By the time this reaches you, we'll already be on our way to Lyon for the second leg of our France trip, where the focus will turn to discovering the culinary excellence of the region...stay tuned 🙂