40 for 40: Day 0 – Pearson Airport, Toronto

So I’ve never been too stressed about numbers or age. I know plenty of people who are older than me who continue to live amazing lives, and plenty of people who are younger than me that are having trouble living the life they want. I strive to be somewhere closer to the former, and think I’ve done pretty well. I’ve got an amazing job, love and am loved by those closest to me, and have been fortunate enough to travel the world. I live in one of the best cities in the world, am in good physical health, and have opportunities that many people don’t. Life is good.

Still, that 3 flips to a 4 and you have to switch back to that zero in the ones column, and you realize you’ve hit an age the kids you teach can easily skip count to…

Even if you don’t feel your age, it quickly becomes apparent that others want to know how you feel about it.

So, figured since 40 is, culturally, a big thing, I would do some big things.

I’ve started going back on stage with some improv training, something I’m going to keep doing. I just ran a 5K in 25:57 which, while nowhere near an elite time, put me in the top quarter of the race and was a personal best. I finally saw Niagara Falls after having it mere hours away for most of my life. I hesitate to use the term bucket list but it’s the one that comes to mind.

With travel being a big part of my life, thought it was time to put another big check in the columns.

About twelve years ago, I had a Middle East trip planned which fell through due to me needing money to go to teacher’s college. The itinerary was to start in Turkey, go overland into Syria and Lebanon, cross into Jordan, then Israel before ending up in Egypt. In some ways, I’m glad it never happened then, because I would have done it completely wrong. For example, having been there since, I was going to give Turkey a horrifically small amount of time. In other ways, I complete regret not doing it. Mostly because of Syria.

When planning that trip, Syria started as a place to pass through and quickly became the part of the trip I was the second most excited about (and we’ll get to the first one in a few paragraphs). Two of the world’s oldest cities in Aleppo and Damascus. The majesty of Palmyra’s desert Roman ruins. Crac de Chevaliers as the best preserved castle from the Crusades. History from the most important of man’s early civilizations. I was hyped.

It didn’t happen. Years later, the Syrian Civil War did.

So, for 40, I didn’t want to hold off any longer on another major travel goal. This year, Egypt.

We’re at Pearson right now waiting on a flight to Rome. Once we get there, we’ll have a couple of days in the Eternal City before making our way to Cairo and starting our Egyptian adventure. From there, it’s pyramids, the Nile, temples, the Red Sea… All the things that make Egypt epic.

Now, since the title of the post is 40 for 40, I should note that Egypt is not the only destination this trip. There’ll be stops in Dubrovnik, Montenegro, Mostar, a bit more of Rome’s suburbs and, of all places, Fredricton. From there, we move to the 40+ range as I head home across New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario.

Figured if people are going to make 40 a big deal, who am I to argue?

Cheers!

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