Open & Flexible

Our trip has officialy started. Yesterday evening we ended up in a place called Autieule where we found a camping on the parc4night app. This was one of the few campsites that was open almost the entire year round. Most campsites open at the first of April, which is in a few days. This campsite was nice, clean and quiet. Apart from some residents in their vacation homes we were the only campers. We ordered some bagette for the morning and the lady of the campsite was super nice for me. It was my first time wearing my French Service Dog Vest: Chien d’assistance! Mom took a quick picture of me and the lady said I was very handsome. Because she now recognised I was a service dog, Mom and Dad did not have to pay for my stay. Only Nesto was charged because he is a house-garden-kitchen dog (hehehehe mean little evil brother laugh). That was super nice and she totally didn’t have to do so, but she insisted. So thank you lady from campsite … in Authieule, France!

It is always a bit chaotic when Mom and Dad kick off their travel. They both have to find a new rythm from getting up, to feeding and walking Neso and me, getting themselves clean, dressed and ready, Mom and Dad should eat and everything has to be placed back in its place such as the tent, used kitchen stuff, dirty clothing etc. Who does what in the morning…What is the most efficient way to do things, where do we place things back etc. They will figure it out, but the first few days we bump into each other and checking or doing things double. So a double meal or coockie is always a more then welcome mistake!

Also the first few days we now that we spend a little more hours in the car then we would want to. Because we want to get most of the far distance traveling over with and get to the warmer south to make the nights a bit more comfortable too. But this time Mom and Dad were able to slow a bit more down. The first evening we landed in the Northern part of france, close to Ambient above Paris. We all agreed that the next night we would love to visit our Auntie and Uncle in Liege. They invited us to stay the night and join them for dinner. I got to meet their furr pooches for the first time and I couldn’t be more excited. I almost literally jump them in the arms! They have never met me before, but I knew from the start that I LOVED them! I was sooooooo happy to see Luc and Doortje. They are beautiful furr friends. And they have these big pets called horses. As I am a city boy I have no clue what to do with them, but they were interesting. Their smell was interesting too. Must investigate further…

Almost at the end of dinner I signaled Mom. I jumped on her lap TWICE and she cuddled me, which is great but not realy what I was looking for. Cute, but no thank you. So I decided to pull my special cord on her belt. Only then she had to get the message, right??? Well… she second guessed a bit because auntie Tina was not ready eating yet and Mom did not want to disturb her as this is very VERY impolite. So she grabt all her courage and mentioned my signalling to Kaj (scared that maybe someone would get offended or angry). But actually everyone responded realy understanding. So she explained what I just did and that it was time for her to go to bed. YES!!! She listened to me… F.I.N.A.L.L.Y you Woman! It’s for your own good!! So Dad guided us back to the car and we went to bed with a nice hot cup of tea.

This was a great first experience for Mom to learn what this trip is all about for her. She talked with her therapists about her nervousness for this trip, because we are now a family of four with a senior dog and a service dog (ME!) which is the first time. Mom is worried about anything happening to Nesto or the traveling being too much for him and me not being allowed into stores or places where Mom and Dad are going. Moms therapist explained that it would be good to let those thoughts go, because Mom cannot influence and control everything during the trip. If someone decides we cannot enter together, then we have to accept it and find another solution whether we like it or not…
But Mom is a bit scared of the word: Letting go. Because she doesn’t understand what it takes to get to that state of mind. What should she actively do or not do to ‘let it go’. It hasn’t worked for her before… So her therapist made it smaller for us. We just ‘have to’ make the best of the situation by having an open attitude towards everything that comes towards us. If we can’t control the situation then it helps us better to try and deal with the situation with flexibility. If Mom is not allowed into the store together with me then she could leave me and Nesto in the car with AC. But that gives Mom anxiety and is not her preferred solution. Being flexible could also mean to make a short list of the needed groceries and ask Kaj to bring those back ‘home’ if he doesn’t mind going by himself (which Dad doesn’t :)) And if Dad then comes back with a cucumber instead of a zuchini then it is up to Moms flexibility to think again what we could prepare for dinner with the cucumber. It is a way to worry less (being OPEN to anything that comes towards us) and to deal with the situation by being flexible. Does it realy matter if we eat a cucumber instead of a zuchini? Does is realy matter or taste THAT different? Are you trying to tell us that there is NO WAY that we could fix something else up for dinner? NOTHING else we could thing off? Is this worth worrying, stressing and panicking about?

Are these the basics or so called actions Mom was asking about to learn to ‘Let it go’? Maybe…
The only thing we know is that this is what Mom is going to work on during this four month trip. Maybe it even sticks…Wouldn’t life be way more easy and relaxed that way?
This is what her and my trip is going to be about! And we are going to try to enjoy the journey! Because we always hear that it is not so much about the destination, just try to enjoy your road and journey to get there…

So Let’s go…and sleep tight!

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