March 13, 2010

people, places, things.

“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” - Tim Cahill, Travel Writer

Sometimes I think that the best things about traveling to new places are not necessarily the sites you see or the things you do but the people you meet along the way. I have met some pretty remarkable people throughout my years of travel. Most of them I remember fondly in fading photographs preserved in scrapbooks while a handful of these strangers have become some of my closest friends.

A recent travel adventure took my family on a search for long lost relatives of my great grandfather who grew up in Myanmar (or Burma back then) before moving to the UK. After several failed attempts in taxis and on foot we finally tracked down the house that my father had visited thirty years ago. Not only did I get to meet the much talked about Great Aunt Iris, who incidentally has now become a nun, (pictured at the top with my grandmother) but we connected with a number of distant cousins who were all wonderful and welcoming and miraculously fluent in English. We shared our black and white photos while sipping on watermelon juice and the world never felt so small.

Throughout the weekend I went on to meet many of the friendly faces of Myanmar. From the kind ladies who helped dress me for the temples (my wardrobe of summer dresses has become seriously problematic in the modesty department) to the taxi driver who, despite the painful language barrier, understood sign language for 'beer by the water' there were countless moments with unforgettable people. My favourite incident might have been this hilarious gang of cigar smoking ten year old boys who rushed to help me collect sand by Inya lake.


  1. well, everything about this is lovely.
    third photograph is my favourite (and of course the one of your dear grandmother and great aunt).

  2. I guess you can say this is the trip of a lifetime eh?

    So cool. I'm very jealous and can't wait to hear more about this when you get home...

    Amazing pictures! Perhaps you can write a story about your travels and searches for your long-lost relatives and sell it to a Mag? maybe toronto life???

  3. perhaps if they renamed Toronto Life "Jessica's Life"

  4. A-mazing. I have been dying to visit Burma for a long, long time and your trip looks incredible.