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How to cope with the emotional rollercoaster of change | Prime Living

 

Last updated 5/21/2020 at 5:41pm

SharonAnn Hamilton

Despite unplanned challenges brought on by the worldwide pandemic, SharonAnn and Dan find blessings everywhere they go, including making new best friends in the Lyon region of France.

At 12:01a.m., a notification arrives in Dan's email, and we see it at breakfast. Our flights from Lyon to Seattle set for June 30 are closed. Our hearts dropped. We have a series of commitments set up. Now what?

We're told the flight is canceled, refer to the website for further information. On the website they announce, "Due to the CV, we are having a hard time keeping up with changes. Please be patient." There is no help-desk phone number to be found either on the website or on the email. Now what?

We check out the internet (Google flights). The flights are 36+ hours, normally 19, and there's an obligatory overnight in Frankfurt. The price was nearly double. Now what?

I remember that I had called the airline company three weeks ago. Oh, the number is in my "recent calls." I finally get into the right phone menu, and after 27 minutes on hold, the call hung up. Big sigh, I call again. Finally, I could speak to someone, but only in French. It's a good thing my French is up to par. The agent found us tickets for five days later for the same price and the same number of hours, only 19, until arriving in Seattle. Yay!

It was an emotional rollercoaster of a morning. First the disappointment, then some fear that we'd not get back, then buckle down determination to find a way, finally vindication. We succeeded. For now.

It's a strange time in our existence. We set out on this adventure intending it to be a lifestyle for this time in our lives. Over the last eight months we've become used to visiting chateaus and museums and ancient building sites.

The virus has interrupted our explorations, and being upset is no use. In fact, we are extremely blessed. We connected and became good friends with Monique and Bernard last fall during a spontaneous visit. They live in rolling hills and vineyards about 30 minutes from Lyon. We never imagined we'd be confined together for over two months. On the eve of our arrival to pet sit, their own dream of travel to India was canceled. Despite their own disappointment, they opened their home and hearts to us.

Yes, there are more changes. The June pet-sit canceled. In subsequent discussions the four of us worked out that it was a good thing. We can pet-sit right where we are with the two cats and two chickens. Monique and Bernard can go on a trip with confidence that we are excellent caretakers. An additional change came in two days ago when the May pet-sit lady pushed us out to May 15, so we'll be here even longer than planned.

We'd scheduled a three-month pet-sit nearly a year ago that was canceled this week due to the hosts heading for Spain and feeling their dream vacation would not be as urban-rich, or back normal by then.

We are learning flexibility, and are we ever! It's like hopping from one running horse to another as the trick riders do. Dan is starting to call himself "Flexi-Dan."

The best way we know to manage our stirred-up feelings of not being in control is to walk. So off we go for a longer walk than usual. We walk up the country road, let a car go by, past the fenced area with the white horse, turn right up the hillside and step into forest.

It's magical. We smell the green of trees growing. Wildflowers of all colors are popping out, the birds are singing, and the echo of the cuckoo bird so loud we think we're in a jungle. Out comes the phone, and we video the forest serenade for our media stories.

As we walk, we talk and process the changes. The last two months have taught us much about trust. We always pray that doors will open, that we will be led to wherever we are supposed to be. Part of the journey is realizing that when our plans must change, a door is closing, and, it is good. Guess what? Every single time a door has opened into something better.

Living with uncertainty is hard. Part of our uncertainty is because we lack a home base. We decided last year to travel and pet-sit around the world, and would not need a house. Everything we wanted to keep went into storage, and we'll buy a new home eventually.

The house-sitting sites we use have been impacted. Many hosts have canceled vacation plans. Some countries have closed borders, and there is still general population lockdown. We don't have much competition for a pet-sitting assignment because of our great reviews, skills and languages, so when there is an opportunity we will reach out. We're confident the right door will open.

We're excited about the next two months here. On May 15, we'll be at the base of the Pyrenees and will have new trails to walk, and we'll be able to tour a 60-mile radius from our new home.

In June, we'll be able to explore the beautiful, Roman crossroads, city of Lyon. Hopefully, the restaurants will open as we've heard this is the gastronomy center of France.

Do you know how hard it's been to be in such a beautiful country as France with its renowned bistros and restaurants, but not be able to go? On the plus side, I am developing an excellent sourdough bread-making skill, good wine at amazing prices is sold in grocery stores, and there is no shortage of fresh fruits and vegetables, meat or anything we want.

People ask us how we are doing and how we feel about being "stuck" here. We are healthy and safe, we walk every day through the beautiful and lush land of Beaujolais vineyards and French countryside, and feel very, very blessed.

We say, "Life is good, very good."

Find out more: SharonAnn and Dan's latest www.PetSittingAroundTheWorld.com blog and Facebook by the same name. SharonAnn & Dan offer "How to" coaching services for future global travelers. Find out about her latest book "The Secret to RIGHTsizing" (a guide to redesigning your life), and register for the upcoming webinar that teaches and illustrate a major benefit of RIGHTsizing. Email is [email protected]

 

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