Travels and travails

Travel. How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year?

They say it’s about the journey, not the destination, but I would beg to differ when it comes to late night, bag lugging, are-we-there-yet travel. The journey through airports, on cramped trains and in customs line-ups really doesn’t measure up to the joy of finally arriving.

Travel seems to come up in a lot of my ramblings, so it’s quite fitting that this should be the topic of a post. HOW did I travel? Well…by train, by plane, by automobile, by boat, by foot. I traveled with headaches, traveled with bags of candy, traveled with a good book, and a few articles, traveled with my mom, traveled with friends new and old, traveled on my own. Waited in airports, waited in cancellation lines, fell asleep against windows, wheeled an injured friend in a trolley, ate greasy food, drank beers in airport bars.

I traveled with my heart, sometimes joyful and sometimes heavy. Looking forward to new things but missing connections left behind. I traveled to new places, to places I had been but that had changed, and most importantly, I traveled home.

In 2010, I traveled to London, twice, to Barcelona once (but had to go to Gatwick airport twice, since the first flight was cancelled), to Paris once, and home twice. To New York once to visit family, and to Vancouver Island once for my thesis. Every voyage brought something unexpected, a new idea, a new bruise, a new friend. I have to say the most fulfilling trip was the one closest to home – to Tofino, where I stayed just four days to interview local First Nations and environmentalists about their experiences of forest policy.

Highway from Port Alberni to Tofino

Despite growing up in Vancouver, I had never been to Tofino before. Having gone through a tough time in the weeks beforehand, I was hesitant about having to ferry and drive up there by myself, spending four days with only my own mind for company between research. But as I arrived, and the notorious fog rolled in, I felt at peace. Alone in my little bed and breakfast room, I spent hours reading, stretching, and simply contemplating, all with a light heart. Between interviews, I sat by the waters edge and thought about what I had learned. Such fortitude from the First Nations people I met, working to protect their traditions and their lands, but also working to live in this world as we all are. There is respect for the environment, but the trees have never been simply for “nature’s sake” – they are a valuable resource, and should be treated as such. Used, but not destroyed.

In 2010, I traveled with purpose, I traveled to learn, and learn I did. In 2011, I can only hope for more of the same, though less time spent in airports would be ideal. I’m happy to stay here for awhile, enjoying the beauty that BC is known for around the world – there is so much to learn and see in our own backyards.

But if, say, I were to get a plane ticket to anywhere? Well….Nepal and Tibet are first up on the list.

Where will you go in 2011, and with what intention?