All Good Things Must Come to an End

May 28, 2011 at 4:34 pm 3 comments

Nearly a year later, it’s still difficult to sum up what this trip meant to me, and what it felt like to check this trip off my bucket list. I’m still struggling to answer all kinds of questions as I near the end of the first draft of my book about the experience. Every time I meet with my thesis adviser, she has more questions, of course.

One of the concerns that I had, pre-trip, was that I would finish the trip and feel like I’d conquered Canada. I love Canada, and I love travelling in Canada. I didn’t want Canada to be over. This was a silly worry, because this trip was such a whirlwind that it only gave me a taste of what the country has to offer. I want to spend two weeks driving around Newfoundland, I want to see Alberta’s Rockies when they’re not buried in rainclouds, I want to spend more than half a day in Halifax and Québec City and Winnipeg. I want to eat pancakes at The Hoito in Thunder Bay again, I want another banana almond smoothie in Port Carling, I want to get lost under a huge bright sky on back roads in Saskatchewan, and I want to sail around 10,000 islands in Georgian Bay. Canada still has plenty of nooks for me to explore and re-explore, and I hope that I’ll have plenty of opportunities to do so.

I’m a great plan-maker, an out-of-control list-compiler, a terrific goal-setter, but I have follow-through demons. It’s why my first four attempts at books are forgotten and unfinished, why I ran away from a music education degree after seven semesters, why I find comfort in managing a figure skating results website that will never, ever, ever be complete. Once this trip moved from the theoretical to actual realm, though, there was no turning back. I had 30 days’ worth of itinerary plans and hotel reservations and ferry bookings and an agreement to return my rental car on the opposite side of the country. I had to finish.

As I drove through U.S. customs in Houlton, Maine, I remember feeling so sad that it was over—I’m not one of those travellers that is ever excited to go home at the end of the trip—but at the same time, I was exhilarated because I’d done this trip. I could cross it off. I’d finished something.

Of course, this trip would not have been possible without an enormous number of people, including:

everyone who gave me a place to sleep & plenty of laughs and encouragement to keep truckin’;
the Edwards family (Kat, Mark, Maddie, Chris), Tori + Cam + Austin, Erin + Kyle, Phil + Rhonda + Cate, Sarah, Christina, Laura, Lynne + Leo Sears

everyone who shared recommendations or met up with me on the road;
Meg, Raul, Aaron, Jenny & Sam & the rest of the Posts and Birches that I saw in BC, Janice, Karen, Kimberly, the Minto crew, Amber, Jen, the people who gave Christina restaurant recommendations for Moncton and Halifax, and anyone I might have missed listing

and everyone who has read the blog or offered encouragement as I continue to work on this project.

Most importantly, I am a lucky, lucky girl because I am blessed to have the best road trip buddies in the world. I don’t think I could have crossed Canada with anyone else and even if I could have, I wouldn’t have wanted to.

Chele and me
Chele, who was crazy enough to want to take on the “boring” part of Canada with me. I would have gone insane driving across all of that open space, if it weren’t for your wonderful company! Here’s to many more roadside attractions and parking lots in front of welcome signs!

J, me, and C
Jules and Christina, who traveled the Eastern half of the trip with me—Jules from Toronto on, and Christina joining us in Charlottetown. I wouldn’t have had half as much fun laughing my way across Atlantic Canada if hadn’t been for you. Here’s to southern accents on a hundred more epic road trips, at the very least.

Mom and me
And finally, to my mama, my original road trip buddy and my life’s biggest sponsor. Thanks for driving me around the Midwest before I was old enough to decide that road trips weren’t fun and for teaching me how to read an atlas at age 5. This trip only became a possibility because of you, and I can’t thank you enough.

Thanks for reading, everyone! The Canadian road trip blog might (finally) be over, but I have a few spots in the States to blog about, and then I’ll be leaving for a month-long trip to the UK and northern France in less than 3 weeks! So I’ve decided to adapt this blog a bit and make it an ongoing blog for my travels. I’d love for you to keep reading.

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Entry filed under: Lessons Learned, Post-Trip.

Fun @ Fundy New England 2010

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Chele  |  May 28, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    I am so thankful that you opened your trip and plans to outsiders who wanted to be a part of it!!! The timing worked out perfectly (well except for the fact that school ended on the same day you were in EDMONTON and the 129308012983912 hour delay getting me to Regina) for me to join you on the “boring” part of the trip. But I was so excited for it because I got to go to two different provinces that I most likely would NEVER get to on my own accord!!!

    Thank you for letting me be a small part of your great adventure!! And I am totally down with a road trip for Finnish pancakes at any time!!! 🙂

    Reply
  • 2. Michelle  |  February 8, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    I just spent the past hour reading over your blog and looking at your pictures. SO amazing, I want to do something like this as well. How long was your trip in total from start to finish?

    Reply
    • 3. Mel  |  February 9, 2012 at 11:50 am

      I spent 30 days on the trip, but could have taken longer, and would have, if I could have afforded any more days on the road. I would have loved more time in PEI, Nova Scotia, & Newfoundland, especially.

      I’m glad to know that you enjoyed my entries! How did you find me?

      Reply

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A serial road tripper chronicles her adventures.

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