Tuesday, February 17, 2009

May 2006 - My First Great Adventure Begins

May 2006. Teacher’s College was just wrapping up at Queen’s University, and most of the students were anxiously trying to apply for summer school teaching positions, or add themselves to the occasional teachers’ lists. For me, work was the last thing on my mind.

Two months prior, I had picked up a copy of Rough Guide: Canada. For a full sixty days, each moment I spent in classrooms, listening to professors ramble on and on about a profession from which they were at least a decade removed, I would flip pages and make plans.

Though I have family around the world, I had never left my province - aside from a brief stint spent in Clearwater Florida when I was eight years old. This knowledge that there was something else out there had been consuming me for years, but I was stuck on the treadmill of, “go to school, go to university, get a job, get married, have kids, send them to school.” That cycle needed to break. And this one book would lead me to that end.

While the desire to travel the world was within me, I knew that I would be remiss if I took off on a seven hour flight to some unknown country. I could not, with clear conscious, explore some foreign mystery while so many existed in my own, proverbial, back yard.

Rather than wasting away practicing my soduku skills, like so many fellow lecture hall prisoners, I looked at maps and studied towns, attractions, and camp sites. For myself the coming months would not hold work, and stress about applications. No; the coming months would see me gaining the experience of


Traveling to my Nation’s Capital;
Exploring the Northern Superior region (the greatest secret Ontario conceals);
Gazing out at the sleeping giant in Thunder Bay.

Breaking free of my province for the first time;
Coming to appreciate art at the Leo Moi Sculpture Garden;
Developing a strange affection for Winnipeg.

Seeing more cows than ever before;
Exploring the Tunnels of Moose Jaw;
Discovering Talk Radio on the TCH.

Watching the world travel 65 million years into the past in the Bad Lands;
Coming to terms with history at Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump;
Glimpsing the mountains for the first time, and driving the Icefield’s Parkway to Banff.

British Columbia:
Walking through temperate rain forests;
Discovering Victoria Harbour (the most beautiful place on Earth);
Arriving in Vancouver.

Would I have gained more money working? Obviously. Could I have landed a full time contract teaching position for the future? Without a doubt. Would any of that have meant anything without these experiences under me? Not at all.

It was the moment I arrived back in Toronto on a Grey Hound bus, despite having left in a white mini-van, that I knew my life had been altered forever; it was at that moment that I was first bitten.


  1. Though I'm older, I also read a travel book (on Europe) and fell in love with wanting to travel. I worked for a few years, obtained a passport and then headed off to Europe and have enjoyed travelling ever since.

  2. Although my parents had taken me travelling around Asia and the Americas since I was 6, I was first bitten by the travel bug at age 11. I used to flip through glossy travel magazines, Berlitz travel guides, and assorted brochures, mostly of Europe, to dream about different destinations. When I turned 16, my parents had asked me if I'd like a car (no kidding!), but I said I'd rather have a trip to Europe instead. From then on, travelling has become a passion and a priority.

    Good on you for exploring your country first! Growing up in the Philippines where there are 7,100 islands, my biggest regret is, to have only seen about a dozen of them. Now that I am in Canada, I should make it a point to explore...well, Canada!


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