“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”
– Saint Augustine
Who’d have ever thought I’d define myself, even partly, as a traveller?? Certainly nobody that knew me before 2004 ish. As I said in The Basics, I grew up in Kelowna and was convinced I’d live there until I died. I even had intentions of buying the property upon which my childhood home sits to mow it down and build my own adult home.
I adored the idea of HOME and my own space so strongly that I didn’t even love the idea of sleepovers as a kid – I always wanted them at my house, in my room, in my bed. Occassionally I’d be okay with setting up in the play room downstairs. Despite excitement for our trips to White Rock and Burnaby to visit my grandparents and cousins (mom’s side) I was always aching for home by the end of it.
I didn’t possess that desire, as so many do, to travel after high school – or ever. I wanted to get to unversity immediately – the sooner to start teaching! But, alas, a life without travel was not to be. A few momentous incidences prevented that.
First, Calgary happened. The autumn that I began my teaching degree I flew to Calgary to spend the weekend with a friend who’d moved there a few years before. It was like some magic filled me that weekend. The sun never stopped shining, the autumn leaves were brilliant. I didn’t notice that I was living out of a suitcase or that I was in a strange bed, shower, house, couch, and so on. I felt comfortable. At home. Like I was somehow in the right place. I belonged. And most shocking of all… I did not want to go home. I wanted to keep digging through my disheveled suitcase on the floor. HOME was not calling me back.
It was the same each time I returned to Calgary throughout the next two years. So, when the Calgary Board of Education recruiters came to OUC/UBC-O to tout the wonders of Calgary two years in a row you can bet I was there absorbing every word of it! At the conclusion of my university career (…well, so far), I applied to just one board for employment and was DYING to make Calgary my new home as soon as I possibly could. And I did in August of 2006. So, that was one significant push to redefine home.
Second came Italy. Namely, Venice. In May, 2006 Dad and Donna got married and decided to take half the family on the honeymoon! Not long before the trip I’d discovered the inexplicable joy of Cornelia Funke (see the Recommended Reading pages for more!) and The Thief Lord – set in Venice. I desperately wanted to see this dynamic city through which these vivid characters were running. So, despite Dad’s entreaties that, “We are not choosing a destination based on a children’s book you read!” I absolutely insisted. I do believe that of all of the Italian cities and villages and monuments that we visited, stepping out of the train station to look upon Venice sparked just a little extra enchantment in us all.
Admittedly, I was beyond eager to return home after over three weeks of traipsing through Italy even though I loved every minute of it. Despite my sheer joy at being back in Canada, Kelowna, my house, the seed that visiting Calgary had planted was pushing through the soil and had fully seen the light of the travelling day!
In 2008, Courtney’s birthday present of a round trip flight to Europe (on the condition that she come with me!) sent us on a whirlwind backpacking tour of Europe. We hit at least one city, for at least one night in England, France, Spain, Italy, Croatia, and Greece. We travelled by plane, ferry, sailboat, train, bus, and foot. We camped, hostelled, hotelled, and … whatever you call sleeping on the aforementioned sailboat and overnight ferries! We made instant friends from all over the world and learned probably more than we ever wanted to know about each other and ourselves. After nearly eight weeks of living in a terribly designed backpack that by then was bigger than me, I had never wanted to be home (by now, Calgary) more than I did that August. But again, I was already mentally formulating the list of the next places I wanted to see.
Over the next four years I did a small amount of exploring closer to home in BC and AB with a couple of spring break trips to Vegas and Hawaii with my teaching partner, Bev.
In January, 2012, I landed in Australia. For a year. To work in one place, one house, one job. Seems more my style of travel, right? I’d have a “home” and so on. But let me tell you – living and working a job where you’re accountable to 50 + people and organizations is a LOT different than travelling around from place to place with the biggest concern of the day being the next meal or next train. Through that year, I managed to check off at least a few cities, tours, and natural monuments in each state and territory of the country.
Since returning to Calgary and Canada, my travel has been limited to BC, AB, and an Alaskan cruise, but I am eager to increase my Canadian travel over the next few years to say I have at least been east of the fourth province of my own nation!
Visit my other blog, at CaveDownUnder.wordpress.com to read about my travel adventures, near and far. (Unfortunately, I wasn’t very forward thinking when I named it, believing it would be strictly for my one year away! Oops!)