Monday, July 30, 2012


I have been meaning to write this post for a couple of weeks now but it is a difficult one to write. I am facing a lot of endings right now and it's been difficult.

The first ending was the one to my trip.  It ended way too soon and I really wish we could have gone for longer and further. Right now I am back in BC and missing the tent.  The outdoors, the freedom and the family time that we are no longer having is what I am missing (not the bugs)  I fully plan on making that trip to NFLD next year and really hope it happens.

The second ending I will face is on August 14th when my cherished daughter (now 16) goes back to live with her father in Ontario.  It rips my heart out every time this happens.  I don't talk about it much but it hurt SO much when she chose to go across the country to live there instead of here with me.  I miss her everyday and wish things had turned out differently.

The third ending I will face is the day after when I leave BC and head for Nunavut.  Normally I would be excited about this but because of recent circumstances I am finding this hard.  I will talk about those circumstances in a moment.  The ending to southern life is bitter sweet.  On one hand, I am leaving the rat race, the rude people that I encounter here in BC who are reacting to being afraid of other people all the time, the consumerism that I have been caught up in, the high price of living and low wages (comparitively speaking), THE RAIN, and the lack of quiet and solitude.  On the other hand, I am also leaving a place where I can: use my cell phone, buy a coffee at a coffee shop, pay less for almost everything (compared to Nunavut), buy almost anything I want, go for a run at any time of year, spend time with family, and go skiing and swimming in the ocean on the same day(not that I ever actually DID that but I COULD). So leaving is bitter sweet when it comes to things I am giving up vs things I wont miss.  I am excited about Nunavut because I know how peaceful it is in the far north. I know I will encounter people who are more like me, adventurous, brave, and with a different life view. I will also be around Inuit again and I really miss them.  I kind of regret not going to Nunavik (northern Quebec) for several reasons too although by the time I decided to go north again they had already done their hiring for the year.

Ok, now for the final ending that I am having the most time talking about: my father.  He is very very ill.  When I decided to go north again he seemed to be getting better but now it is quite clear that he is going to die. Soon.  I cannot even begin to express how bereft, guilty, sad, and desperate I feel about this.  I wish with all my heart I had chosen to wait another year so I could be here for the final days and then for my mother afterwards.  In two weeks when I get on the airplane I will be saying goodbye to my father for the final time and I cannot bear even talking about it.  Not only will I never see him again, I will also not be present for his funeral because when it happens I will likely just have arrived in Nunavut and will be unable to leave.  I am staying in my parent's house right now and the sadness here is palpable.  It is a weight.  My father has begun to give his possessions away because he now accepts that he is dying. (he was denying it for a long time, hanging onto hope that he could beat the cancer).  Last night he gave his only winter hat to my son so that Brogan could be warm.  The symbolic nature of this gift was heart breaking because it means he doesnt think he will be here for the winter.  My mother is trying to be brave about it and doesnt really talk about how she feels but I see the pain in her eyes and the weight of sadness on her and I wish I could stay and help her after he passes.  My brother is leaving as well (moving to northern BC) and she is going to lose everyone at the same time.  It seems so cruel.

I don't know what else to say about all of these endings.  I would be so excited for my new adventure if things were different right now.  As it stands today, I wish I had made different choices in the last few months because this is very painful.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Winnipeg-Moose Jaw-Swift Current-Golden

My goodness, what a long day. I feel a little bad about not writing until now. The last time I wrote is when I was in Saskatoon! Since then we have been to the set of Corner Gas in Saskatchewan, Moosimim, Saskatchewan, Winnipeg, Grand beach in Manitoba, Regina, Moose Jaw, Swift Current and now we are in Golden, BC. We should be home tomorrow.
Today was a long day because my daughter decided she would like to be back in BC by Sunday (her birthday) and I thought today was friday instead of thursday. So I drove for 10 hours today instead of our usual 5.
I should mention our trip so far: We saw the set of Corner gas, one of my favourite Canadian TV shows. It was neat to see it in real life. After that we spent over night in a small Saskatchewan town called Moosimim and since it was pouring rain, we decided to hotel it again. Worst. Hotel. Ever. So stinky!
After Moosimim we travelled to a small farm outside Winnipeg, Manitoba. We were there for a week because my best friend lives there. While visiting we went shopping in Winnipeg, went to the Forks (famous place) and Grand Beach (the only white sand beach in Canada)
By the time the week was done we had to turn around and come back because my sister's wedding is August 3rd and we need to be back in BC by then. On the first day we made it to Regina and stayed there overnight. Then we went to Moose Jaw (just because of the name), walked around there for awhile, went for lunch and then moved on to Swift Current, Saskatchewan where we tented for the night in a campground. (Ponderosa is a GREAT campground by the way). Now we are in Golden, BC and because of a ridiculous rain storm we are again in a hotel.
I am sad our trip is ending so soon. It seems too short by far. Hopefully next year we will get to go to Newfoundland like i originally planned for this year.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Travel camping across Canada-from Saskatoon

Well we have made it to Saskatoon. Since the Calgary Stampede I have mainly been in places where finding wifi is difficult and I am sort of regretting not buying the data plan for this trip. However, maybe it's best to hold off on that until I know that people are actually reading and MAYBE enjoying my writings.

So after leaving Calgary I made my way up to Goose Lake, Alberta where a colleague and friend has a cabin. We stayed three nights in a very rustic cabin (so cool!) where we showered with rain water, sat around the campfire in the back yard at night listening to the buzz of a billion bugs, woke in a BED which suddenly seems very luxurious to me. While camping I swore off on the sticky, sweaty air mattress and went with a sleeping pad. Sleeping pads are nicer I think. At this cabin we got to go to a northern, clean lake where my son learned to not be terrified of floating. Mind you, he needs two floating devices to feel safe so far but we are making progress. After saying goodbye to my friend, we made our way to Edmonton.

I have to say this: I never cared for Edmonton. I am not entirely sure why aside from the fact that I found it a very frustrating city to get lost in while travelling to Yellowknife a long time ago when I lived in Yellowknife. So I went into Edmonton already a little hesitant about it and it did not disappoint! In the first 10 minutes of being there I almost got arrested. We stopped for a potty break and left our dog in the car. When we got back (10 minutes!!) my car was surrounded by firemen (FOUR of them) who were discussing my arrest for abusing an animal and considering breaking the window to rescue him. Someone had called 911 and told them she had been watching the car for 20 minutes and the dog was suffering. (She lied) When I opened the door and showed them how cool it was in there from the just-turned-off air conditioner they called the police and told them not to worry about arresting me. I got a lecture about leaving a defenceless animal in a hot car and they all left. Sheesh. First ten minutes in Edmonton and my daughter is saying "Why dont we just get out of here and keep going?" However, I was determined to keep our plan intact despite the over vigilance of a lot of nosy, self appointed and self righteous Edmontonians. I refuse to believe, even now, that they are all like that woman.

So next stop was our campground. Nestled right in the heart of the city it is difficult to believe while there that it is even in a city. It is fairly quiet (especially compared to the other ones we stayed at). You could hear traffic but it was faint and the campground was clean and well maintained. The best thing was that most people there were easterners and therefore very friendly. The first few hours we had visitors from other sites just to say hi. One little guy brought the dog a bone and EVERYONE said hi in the morning (unlike the other campsites where campers mostly try to pretend everyone else is invisible). THe staff is also friendly and I let them know at the end I thought they had been the best campsite so far. Rainbow Valley for those of you interested. ;)

The next frustrating thing that happened was me having a VERY difficult time finding a dog sitter. Since now I know how much people care about dogs in Edmonton I was shocked that no one would want to dog sit him in the WHOLE city. One of the main reasons was that I didnt have proof of his shots. Why would anyone want to carry around proof of shots of their animal? I dont even carry that for my children. Ridiculous. In the end someone DID end up taking him and grooming him for me while we shopped at West Edmonton mall.

I did enjoy West Edmonton Mall. It is one of the biggest malls in North America and boasts of a full amusement park, water park with waterslides and a wave pool, and a sea animal habitat and show as well as many many stores. It is an entire city block and took us all day just to walk through it. I dont know if I would do it again but it was good that I finally got to see it. We went to many stores, window shopped at stores that sell expensive clothes and my son and I got to go on the little round boats that shoots water at people. He had a blast.

Now we are in Saskatoon. We decided, for several reasons, to book a hotel for tonight. First reason is that my son has two badly skinned knees that keep getting re-skinned everytime he falls down (at least twice a day). They are both getting infected and hurt a lot. Red inflamed skin, greenish pus...Im getting a little worried about it and wanted to soak it in a bath or something. This hotel (Travelodge) has a pool and it's already looking better. At least the dirt is gone out of the cuts! Second reason is that it was supposed to pour rain tonight and I was not looking forward to packing up the tent and equipment after a downpour. So we made an embarrassing decision to come to a hotel. Call me a wuss if you want. :P

Hopefully I have an easier time keeping this blog up to date in the near future! It's hard to cram so much experience into one blog without it being too long (too late for that I guess).

Tomorrow we are heading down to the town (Rouleau?) where they filmed my favourite Canadian show, Corner Gas. After we visit that place we want to head past Regina and camp somewhere for the night. Then we are off to Selkirk to visit my best friend, S.

Until next time!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Calgary and the Stampede

I can't believe we only arrived here in Calgary yesterday. Right now it seems like we have been here for a long time. I actually found a campground that had a spot for our tent. I thought that was rather miraculous since the Stampede is going on and all. However, the spot we have is up at the top of the campground, making it a long walk anywhere. It's also mostly amongst RVs AND we had a few partying neighbours last night. Apparently the cheaper booze here in this place makes for a good party atmosphere.

I have been pondering a lot how it was to move to Calgary all those years ago. When I was here before I had just left my first husband and moved here to get away from everything. Parents, overly controlling relgion and husband and all the trappings of the life I was supposed to want but really didn't. I came here and experienced freedom for the first time, packing up what I could fit in my car and moving to a small house in SouthWest Calgary without a job or a clue of how to get one. I did get one, and a girl I worked with in BC decided to come with me so I had a roommate as well. It was all very exciting. We were dirt poor while I was here. Rent was high (ish) and minimum wage was only $5/hour. I remember once not being able to afford food because I needed the money for gasoline for the car if I wanted to get to work. I didnt have many coping skills for poverty. I didnt even think to visit a soup kitchen or anything like that so I just went hungry for awhile. It made me super careful not to ever let my cupboards get bare though!

So I moved here and remember feeling so HAPPY for the first time. I sat in my little living room the first week (alone because the roommate came later) and just enjoyed the feeling of not having to conform to anyone else's ideas for the very first time ever. I drove around Calgary just to experience it, got lost, met new people and life was just a huge, open highway of hope and promise. It was amazing. I vividly remember knowing that I had made the right choice, no matter what.

Last night I sat and looked out at the city lights, remembering these things and being glad I took the path I did. I understand that most people love or need that conventional life with the picket fence, the husband, the 25 year marriage. I just dont think it FIT me and even though I knew it all the way back when I was 21 and getting divorced for the first time, I didnt really realize that it would never be me until now. I have tried to fit it. I got into relationships that could have worked. I had the children (and am VERY glad I did), I bought the house and worked hard. But it doesnt fit, it just doesnt. I get this incredibly strong itch to break the mold, to become something different, to be somewhere else and I eventually have to do it no matter how much I wanted to conform so I finally decided to just be me and stop trying to be someone else. back to the Stampede. It was not what I expected at all. I can't say I was disappointed but I wasn't thrilled either. There were a lot of rides, it was very expensive, a LOT of people, VERY hot and a lot of vendors. I was hoping to taste some amazing steaks at the very least but the steak sandwiches were kinda blah and I have tasted better in Northern Ontario. So I don't know if I would come back to it again but glad I finally did it.

So tomorrow we are heading north to near Edmonton to stay at a cabin with a friend and colleague who invited us. Sounds like a peaceful little place and I am looking forward to it. For some reason, the usual gregarious Golda is not having much luck meeting new people this trip. Maybe it's the scowl on my face from tent camping at cramped and overly strict campgrounds? Or the hours of driving that leave me crabby and hard to like? I dont know but it hasn't quite clicked as much as I had hoped. However, the kids are having fun I think. I am very glad my daughter is here because I think 24/7 with the little guy with no break would have been too hard even for me.

Well...I promised to go swimming with them so I should get off of here before I have to pick up the dog. I will say one thing: Doggy daycare is an AWESOME idea. Thank you to the doggy daycares out there!!

Until the next wifi...

Friday, July 6, 2012

First day on the road!

Well we did it. We finally got to leave Chilliwack and make our way to the eastern part of Canada on our month-long camping trip. We got to Salmon Arm and decided to stop for the night. I was hoping to make it to Revelstoke but oh well.
As I set up the campsite with my soon-to-be-16 year old daughter (meanwhile struggling to keep my three year old son around the campsite where I could see him) I thought "Hey, I did it! I actually got out of my comfort zone and am doing this crazy thing, camp travelling across Canada. Yay me". Ha!
I think the most challenging thing so far has been the fact that the first campsite we stopped at was unfortunately close to the highway and I was awake for most of the night as transport trucks screamed by. The dog is also a challenge because he is SO ANNOYING with his incessant barking. The second challenge was getting all the camping equipment back in my tiny car when we had so carefully packed it for the first day. I actually didnt think we were going to do it but with some stuffing and yelling and gnashing of teeth, we did get the doors closed on the car after cramming it full.

Well...we are well into the second day and hoping to make it near Calgary for tonight. It's already 2pm so Im not sure if that is going to happen or not... We are only in Revelstoke so I think the best we can hope for is inside the Alberta border. WE really want to attend the Stampede even though we missed the parade.
Im in the process of trying to convince the 3 year old to eat instead of laying down in A&W to sleep. Hey, did you know the price of food at these places increases a LOT in small tourist towns in the mountains? I did NOT know that and am slightly annoyed.

Until tomorrow!