As I child I would travel with my family to British Columbia to visit my mother’s family, or to Ontario to visit my father’s family. Either trip would be done via car. B.C. was always inside a day, early to rise, breakfast in Edson, lunch at Mount Robson and dinner at where ever we were staying; typically Aldergrove.
From Edmonton to Carp would take three days of hard travel. Three days of up early, driving until mid-evening, horrible motels, decently-okay small restaurant food, across the copy/paste scenery of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and northern Ontario. We always managed to drive through Ontario during forest fire season, resulting in hazy nothingness to look at and smoke to smell for endless kilometres.
We did the Ontario drive less often than the B.C. drive, partly due to the distance and time required – you need a week just for driving – but also because we were slightly less fond of my dad’s family. A bonus of the Ontario trip was the now-closed Hershey factory on the way to Brockville, and Toronto for all of the cool shops to visit.
My parents usually take shifts driving, but even before I moved to B.C., I’ve been soloing that drive. My record time is 9 hours from Vancouver to Edmonton. My average time 11 hours. My parents now take about 14 hours, but they make more stops and drive a little slower than I do.
I’ve also traveled to other countries alone. To some of my friends, this is no big deal, but to me it was huge. First was my second-ever trip into the States: Washington for PAX ’05. I traveled to Vegas with a friend and was thankful for that; Sin City is overwhelming when you’re alone if you’re me. My non-existent Spanish skills were put to the test when my flight to Mexico was delayed due to snow. Fortunately I was meeting my at-the-time girlfriend who was studying abroad in Mexico. Universal hand gestures and helpful airport staff can salvage your day. Snow will ruin it.
Out of my three trips to Florida, two have been alone. The other was with an entire team. To run. Sometimes I want to be a Customs and Immigrations officer so I can hear the awkward attempts at explaining what you’re doing on vacation.
Officer: “Purpose of your visit?”
Devon: “With a team.”
Officer: “And how many are on this team?”
Devon: “Maybe 15? 20? Hey Kiyoshi, how many people are running the marathon with us?”
Yup, not awkward at all. Traveling solo is great life experience.
I’m on task to travel quite a bit this year, with a trip to Vernon and two to Kelowna already in the books, along with Quebec City. Another Kelowna is planned for mid-summer, and possibly Penticton and another place in the Interior. I had plans to travel to Japan in August, but those have been cancelled (with plans to reschedule) due to unseen outside forces. I might go back home and see my parents again instead.
Kiyoshi “The Prototype”
Your #1 Canadian eh?