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July 7, 2005

In memoriam: Dan Hickman - Explorer of Provence
Life is short, so let's appreciate every day

Less than 2 weeks ago I completed an interview with Dan and Judith, the couple who spent 2 amazing years in Provence, house-swapping their Toronto home for a country house in the south of France, who had just recently returned from another trip back to France.

Just 2 days ago I had a chance to include Dan and Judith's beautiful photos into the interview and I re-uploaded the interview with the photos onto the site and also sent the link to Judith.

5 minutes ago I received an email from Judith saying that she could only respond briefly since she had to get ready for Dan's funeral who had passed away unexpectedly on Monday from a heart attack. In all her grief, Judith managed to say that she was glad that Dan's words and photos will live on in this website.

I am in a total state of shock right now because when I met Dan and Judith they both seemed so vital, so full of energy, and his sudden death has taken me aback. I didn't know either one of them very well since they are friends of friends, but both Dan and Judith showed me tremendous hospitality, inviting me into their home and sharing with me personal stories about one of the most exciting periods in their lives.

This news today, combined with the tragic news of the London subway bombings, brings me back to the harsh reality that we never know which day will be our last on this planet. As much as we have figured everything out, made plans, strategized for our lives - something completely unforeseen could happen, an illness, an accident, even a terrorist attack, that could turn our lives upside down and shoot all our plans to pieces.

Today more so than ever, let's enjoy, treasure and appreciate life; let's enjoy, treasure and appreciate the people around us; let's live every day to the fullest and not get hung up in minor squabbles or discontent. Let's not waste our time with feelings of resentment, or even hatred.

Time, health and our families and friends are our most precious commodities on this planet, and events like these hit home that we need to appreciate and value them for the indispensable resources that they are. Life is too short and precious to be filled with negative stuff.

My heart goes out to Judith in these difficult times, and I thank both of them once again for having shared their exciting stories with us. And to Dan: wherever you are, I hope you have a bit of Provence with you.........




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