The day to go North came so very quickly and before I knew it, I was on a bus filled with strange faces, on my way to a place I honestly didn’t really feel like going to. However, I was determined to organize my stuff in storage and bring back as much as I could manage. This was not the way I had thought my trip would be, but since my car broke down not long before I was planning to go up, I decided not to let that deter me and bought myself a greyhound ticket instead.
The bus ride was long, but not longer than I was used to travelling. It had been a long time since I had traveled by the route that we ended up taking, since I had become accustomed to the Cassiar, so taking the Alaska was very nostalgic for me. When I was a child, my mum and I usually drove this way when we would go South to go visit the family.
Since I was travelling alone, I was forced to step out of my comfort zone and talk to strangers more than usual. That being said, “more than usual” still wasn’t a whole lot. I slept most of the way no matter what time it was, and that made the trip pass quite quickly. I didn’t interact with my busmates much on the way up but I did meet a group of tree planters who were really nice. There was one girl travelling with them who was really into yoga and she would do her routine sometimes between bus changes. She gave me such yoga envy and it made me wish that I had my yoga mat with me. She was really nice and showed me some techniques for some different positions and I have to say that she actually really inspired me to really get back into my yoga again. So thank you wonderful bus stranger!
I would also like to mention that if you are ever travelling up that way, make sure to drive through Toad River during the day. It is my favourite part of the whole road. I can’t say that I’ve seen a beauty quite like it and hopefully one day, I will take my time and stop there for a while to hike around in that magnificent wilderness and explore all of the amazing geological formations!
When I arrived in Whitehorse, it was pretty chilly and dark still. I didn’t want to spend money on a cab and planned to walk up the hill and across town (with my suitcases and heavy backpack), but before I did that, I did what needed to be done… I walked over to Tim Horton’s (a block away) and ordered a good old breakfast sandwich 🙂 I also charged my phone while I was there since there are no plugins on those northern greyhounds.
That walk to my storage unit honestly did me in. I had way too much weight on my back and pulling my suitcases didn’t help, but I made it. I managed to get a few hours in (organizing) before it started to rain, and I decided that I could come back the next day after catching up with friends a bit, picking up some grub and resting.
I left my suitcases behind and went to pick up some veggies and sardines. I proceeded to eat whole tomatoes and sardines with my fingers down by the river which got me a lot of weird looks. In the past, this is something that would not have happened. People staring or being bothered by something I was doing, used to make me feel very self-concious. However, the many weird looks I received while I was there didn’t bother me at all. My perspective had changed quite drastically and now the uncomfortable looks on those people’s faces made me laugh inside. My indifference to such miniscule social standards really bothered them and I was happy to provide them with that feeling. I was happy to do so because I realized that none of it really matters. If I want to eat with my fingers and enjoy tomato juice dripping down my chin while I sit in a public place, who cares?
It was nice to be able to go for coffee and catch up with the people I had grown up with. I also stayed with one of my oldest friends which was nice. However, I really didn’t do a whole lot of visiting. Most of my time was put into organizing my things. The trip was painfully exerting from all the walking and heavy lifting so I began doing my yoga right away. Nothing eases that pain like some good stretching and I am proud to say that thanks to my determination, I did that job by myself. It was very eye opening to see how much physical labour I could endure.
Once I mailed my parcels and filled my suitcases, it was once again time to get back on the road. There were a lot of things I wasn’t able to pick up, but I did manage to get a good amount of things I needed. It felt good to have made some progress and when I go back, it’ll be much easier to pick up the rest.
I didn’t socialize much with people on the bus when I left the Yukon. I found that the crowd was much different and I wasn’t feeling as positive as I had on the way up. My northern trip had drained me and other than making progress with my storage, I was overall disappointed in how my trip had been. All my good Kootenay vibes had left me and a darkness sat with me. All I could think of, was how much I longed to be back at the boat with Dad. I longed to be somewhere where I didn’t have to tell my story and have people question what I was choosing to do with my life and I longed to be in the sun without the unavoidable burden of society on my shoulders. I was terribly overwhelmed by the life I had left behind and going back there was a good thing in a way. I learned even more of what I do not want in my life and more what I want my life to be about.
When I reached Prince George, BC, I was so thankful. To me that had always been the mark of being half way to my family. I had quite a long layover of about three hours or so and went outside and sat in the rain. This is when I really started to feel better and push my negative thoughts aside. I am the hero of my story, I am in charge and I am doing what I damn well want to. There was no reason to be upset about the things I have no control over and I realized that I should be happy about the things I do have control over, which have made my life so much more meaningful in this past year.
When I went back inside, feeling much better, I pulled out my journal and got writing to pass the time. That was when my trip really picked up and I reached a new level of comfort with myself. I had noticed a guy sit down across from me and I felt very drawn to ask him where he was headed. It took me a little bit to push myself to strike up a conversation with this stranger but I did it. To lots of people this doesn’t seem like such a big step, but for me, it was huge.
He was headed to Nelson and so we got to talking about many things and ended up talking all the rest of the way to Kamloops, BC, where we went our separate ways. I never expected to make a friend on the bus, especially by then but it had happened.
When it came time to catch my bus to Vernon from Kamloops, I wasn’t feeling the least bit shy at all anymore. I got talking with another traveler from Whales and learned so much from them as well. All negativity I had been feeling was gone and when I got off of the bus, I finally knew what it was all for. I was so filled with confidence and happiness, just from something so simple as good human conversation and I felt brand new. I couldn’t wait to tell my fiancé and my family of how far I had come in such a short time.
I was now down to my last week at the boat and it went by way too quickly but I did manage to get out into the mountains for a day, thanks to my cousin and her partner before I left. I found it very difficult to leave but I also felt more open to the unknown that was now expanding before me. I visited with all sorts of people on my short trip to Red Deer, AB, and when I arrived, it felt good to know that I didn’t have to worry about moving around anymore for a while. I will admit that the first week ended up being very overwhelming but, once I managed to settle down and open my eyes, I saw what a great opportunity it was.
Being apart from my fiancé was hard but now that we are back together, I feel that things are even better than before. I appreciate even more of what I have here with him, down to the littlest of things. I am so thankful for all that I have learned about myself and my relationships over the course of this whole trip. I also found that during this time, there were a lot of things that I stopped worrying about. I stopped worrying about trying to look good and really, truly just started feeling like I looked good as I was. My worries for my future, my funds and my plans decreased significantly… for once in my life, I realized that it’s not worth the stress. Plans are good and I’m still into planning and organizing but I’m no longer worried about it. I’m happy for right now and I can finally say that I am fully present in this moment.
I can happily say that these past five months have definitely changed me and I can happily say that I am so very thankful for the unexpected events that have led up to now and I am happy knowing that neither me nor my life will ever be the same again.
To everyone that helped me get here, the good, the bad, and the short-lived, thank you all. ❤
And to finish this off, here’s a good feel nostalgic mix 🙂