So this is the last post for this blog. The bike trip is over, and I am back at home facing the cruel reality of day to day life once again – haha. It’s all good, in fact I really am looking forward to some structure again, and not having to deal with flat tires, inclement weather or not knowing where I am going to sleep for the night.
It was so very nice to disconnect from the daily grind, and in this notable 150th year of confederation, find out what it is to be Canadian for me. While there are the stereotypes (you know them all well – Beavers, Maple syrup, poutine…) there are so many things that go into making up this great nation we live in. The brands that are so distinctly Canadian, the music, the diverse landscape, the people of every race and religion, and too many other things to name. I had an opportunity to live and breathe that in a way few people have, something I will always consider myself fortunate to have done.
I realized as I always do when traveling, just how much most of us take for granted in our day to day lives here in Canada. We have roofs over our heads, water comes out of the tap when we turn it on, food is everywhere in abundance, and we have family and friends around us giving us love and support. It’s easy to forget the fact that these simple things are not enjoyed by most people living in other places. They are either under dictatorship regimes, living with extreme poverty, hungry, homeless, under constant threat of natural disasters or in war-torn countries. While I have had all I’ve needed to survive on this trip, it has provided me with an interesting perspective on things, and I can easily say it has deepened my appreciation for just some of life’s basic amenities. Warm showers, a bed, clean laundry being a few that are top of mind.
The trip also provided many ancillary benefits. I got to see this amazing country that we are so lucky to be citizens of. From the impressive mountains in the west, the very flat prairies of central Canada, the massive chunk in the middle called Ontario, the cultural melting pot of Quebec, and the very welcoming Maritime Provinces – this is truly a great country to live in. I met countless people and had the most interesting conversations. Some of them lasting all day, others just mere seconds. But I value every one of them.
Moreover, it provided an opportunity to get into ridiculously good shape. I lost 15 lbs, and it feels good to say I’m probably the best shape of my life. I know, that won’t likely last…but for the moment, I’m revelling in it and trying to bottle up the feeling of being physically fit. While I was able to get into impeccable condition, this trip did take a physical toll on my body. I had issues with my left Achilles tendon, pulled muscles in my right leg, an extremely sore butt, and the occasional sunburn. Thankfully, none of these are lasting, however when they did happen, they were not fun to deal with…at all.
And then there was the emotional side of things. There was the passing of my mother – which is hard to deal with at any time – was a very big thing to have happened, however I think having all day on my bike to reflect on things helped me a lot with the mourning process, and for that I am grateful. Arriving at my destination was also very emotional. A few things that happened over the course of this 9 week period that tested my resolve. Weather, bike-related issues, fatigue all converged at various points in time that really made moving forward very difficult. But like anything good and worthy, it’s never going to be easy – and so it went for this trip.
Close to the beginning of this whole adventure, I made a promise to get back on the overall purpose of this trip. Why was I doing it again? Putting myself out there, in the elements, knowing full well that it was going to be a test of emotional and physical endurance. But why? Well, I think the answer is clear. Just because I can 🙂 That, and well for all the reasons I alluded to above. I know…that’s nothing really profound, but if nothing else it hopefully too will provide an inspiration for my kids that anything really is possible if you put your mind to it.
I’ll again take this opportunity to thank everyone who allowed me to selfishly pursue this dream. Erin, her parents, my parents, my siblings and the management team here at DFO were integral in that regard, and I am eternally grateful for your support.
I will miss writing in this blog….I really will. It has been a lot of fun to have a creative outlet to document some of my experiences. It certainly gave me something to think about on those long rides. How can I formulate things in such a way so as to make it interesting? I had time in spades to ponder that kind of thing… I could continue on just writing about life, but well let’s be honest, that would be boring 🙂
So I have to think of the next big adventure, seeing as I am prone to these kinds of things. What will it be, and when? Another bike trip perhaps? Maybe walk to the North Pole? A trip to Everest perhaps? Well, likely none of the above. I am thinking something a little more passive – maybe a boat cruise to Antarctica. Or, I’ve always wanted to do the Trans-Siberian rail trip. It would be nice too, unlike this trip, to have some company! So if that resonates with any of you we should chat! But anything like that won’t be happening anytime soon. As much as I wish I could be on vacation permanently, I do have adult responsibilities to attend to – parenting, working, etc – so will be consumed with that for the next little while.
Anyways, so as not to bore anyone any further, I’ll end things on that note. Thanks for reading, following along, and again, all the thoughtful expressions of support and colour commentary. It was nice to look forward to all of that after each riding day.
At the very least, I’ll share a favorite song with you from what is arguably one of the best Canadian bands out there, and certainly provided a nice soundtrack for me as I cycled across this great land.
Happy Fall, and until the next adventure. Take good care!