walkabout has been defined as an ‘absence from work’
(but also
 refers to the Australian Aborigines rite of passage
where an adolescent takes a journey into the wilderness for up to six months)

April 1st was Frank’s first day of his 5-month ‘walkabout’ [as mentioned here]
…and now we’re preparing to move to Australia for 3+ years!

Frank announced this big life-change in less than 140 characters yesterday – but here I’ll share more details and pictures 🙂

Frank decided to take some extra time this year to re-connect with family and friends and to travel with me to various research conference locations. He left his successful position at Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (RBA) knowing that he would be welcomed back in the fall.

Frank learned a lot from Ritchie Bros. here in Edmonton – especially when working the April 2012 record-breaking sale (108 million in 3 days) !

To see the excitement behind an Edmonton sale, stay tuned for Episode 3 on “Selling Big” (Click on the image below for a preview)

New show on Cottage Life!

New show on Cottage Life!

After an enjoyable walkabout, he is re-joining RBA – and looking forward to his new position: in Sydney, Australia!

Since I have completed my residency (2 years of my Ph.D. program) 
at the University of Alberta,
and moved from “courses to passing candidacy,”
I now have the freedom to work on my dissertation off-campus!

Amazing to think that 3 years ago, Frank and I were preparing our move to Edmonton. Now we’re preparing for our next move (which will find us in the land of sand instead of snow in December)!

In an attempt to sum up our travels over the past 5 months, here’s…

Walkabout 101:
The top 10 route markers of a successful walkabout

1. A walkabout is a good way to re-connect with your family and involves time to pause and learn the stories of those who walked before you
Frank’s walkabout started with quality mom and sister time on Vancouver Island and included re-visiting his yacht-selling days when he spent time with his dad at a boat show.  Our summer walkabout included several opportunities to connect with family across Canada and in England [click here for my related post: Connections]

Celebrating his sister’s progress!

2. A walkabout changes your scenery and changes your perspective
April marked the end of my coursework as a student [see related post here] and also included my first trip to the UK [see previous post]. At the end of April, we headed to San Francisco where I presented at an educational research conference while Frank enjoyed touring the bay city.

Frank enjoyed a boat ride while I was conferencing :)

Frank enjoyed a boat ride while I was conferencing 🙂

3. A lot of teaching and learning happens on a walkabout – when crossing paths with new people and familiar faces.
Frank’s walkabout found him spending more quality time on Vancouver Island with his mom and sister in May. While I was teaching pre-service teachers at the university, I enjoyed a wonderful visit from my aunt!

Auntie Lori at the University of Alberta :)

Auntie Lori at the University of Alberta

4. A walkabout isn’t complete without encountering relational and natural beauty – and the joy of walking with a canine companion 🙂
We also had some quality time with my brother, his lovely partner Jungmi and their sweet lab Ruby at their home near Qualicum Beach. We even went on a wonderful dog-walkabout in the rain 🙂

Rainy day walkabout :)

Rainy day walkabout

5. A walkabout becomes richer with time – and can take you across provinces.
We enjoyed pre-fathers day/pre-birthday visits with our dads and then started June by visiting our dear friends in Airdrie, AB. It has been a real treat to have this fantastic family of five close by! Such a joy to see them grow from the days we knew each other on Vancouver Island [I posted about their journey to becoming 5 here: Emotion]. We are also very thankful for other long-time friends like Wes – another connection that started out on Vancouver Island and continued in Alberta 🙂

6. A walkabout can be a reward – and can be about the journey and the destination.
In June, I passed my candidacy exam (YAY!) and then we headed east!
Our walkabout involved traveling from Edmonton through Canada and the US with Ontario as our final destination. It was so wonderful to visit with extended family, and our sweet friend Lisa and her family! [You can see a few photos from our road trip in my last post]

In July, we travelled to the UK together! While I attended sessions at the University of York, Frank enjoyed his first time driving on the left side of the road …little did we know this practice would come in handy sooner than later…!

7. While in the walkabout wilderness, it is important to take time to embrace the beauty of all things great and small.
Our walkabout wilderness consisted of English seaside-spanning towns, awe-inspiring cathedrals, commanding palaces and castles, and historically and architecturally divine colleges (…and we even came upon the largest coloured pencil in the world). We took 100s of photos…and ate lots of ice cream 🙂

We walked the River Thames and walked in the footsteps of Oxford scholars like C. S. Lewis, J. R. Tolkien, Lewis Carroll, Dr. Seuss…and yes, we walked the path of Harry Potter too.

We even arrived at the Buckingham Palace gates when the birth of the royal baby was announced (…and although we’re not avid royal watchers, it was easy to get caught up in the excitement). Then we watched the 62-gun salute in honour of ‘Prince George’ from our first time up the London Tower Bridge.

8. Consider all the possible routes and always pay attention to the signs of change that may lay ahead
…while in London, Frank learned of a potential job in Sydney, Australia! We talked and walked (and ate more ice-cream) while seriously considering this and other job options he had for the fall. Saw a lot of literal signs along the way:

9. Remember to celebrate the milestones along the way (and check the weather reports too!)
 After a quick stop in Edmonton to re-pack for the next leg of our walkabout journey, we flew to Honolulu, Hawaii (…2 days late due to the threat of a hurricane…).

"3800 miles to Australia" Sign at the top of Diamond Head (Honolulu, HI)

“3800 miles to Australia” Sign at the top of Diamond Head (Honolulu, HI)

This was our first trip to Hawaii and my first APA conference – as a presenter and attendee! (I was also awarded the opportunity to take part in the APA Div 15 Doctoral Student Seminar – if you want to read about my experience,
lick here for a few highlights)

We also stayed for a few days after the conference to celebrate our
19th anniversary 🙂

10. A walkabout may occur at different times in our lives, and take many forms, but I imagine most involve a return to family roots.
We finished off the ‘summer sabbatical’ or ‘the walkabout’ with a recent trip back home to Vancouver Island where we spent time with our families again.

  • I even witnessed a momentous Canadian rite of passage – I watched my nephew drive away in his first car for the first time!
  • We also met the 6-day old granddaughter of one cousin
  • Rejoiced with another cousin and her 6-month old baby bump
  • I laughed until I cried and cried until I laughed while my aunt read out 60 years of memories at her surprise birthday party!

Each with different experiences at different stages of growth.
Each on their own unique walkabout.

We are grateful for the gift of time – for our walkabout – and the chances we had to catch up with as many loved ones as possible. [We look forward to more visits before we leave too!]

View from Castle Howard (York, UK)

View from Castle Howard (York, UK)

We are VERY excited about our upcoming Australian adventure! 

Have you ever been to Australia?! If so, what was your favourite memory?

If not, what comes to mind when you think of that part of the world?