Cycling across Canada has been a dream I’ve had for a while and now that I’m no longer a virgin bike-tourist, this trip will be less of a single adventure and really signify a lifestyle, offering a release from the self-perceptions and expectations I’ve been building by being stable. This experience is not so much about seeing all of Canada but more about reclaiming a country that I really know nothing about and uniting myself with the idea of what it means to be ‘Canadian’.
It’s easy to forget that there’s a whole other country out there when you’re living in Vancouver: the mountains, the Pacific and the coffee never let you leave. But, as much as I’m a city-girl by the ocean, my roots resonate in a lowly city in central Canada: Regina. It’s as far east as I’ve gone and it’s where I can proudly say my heart and soul feel at peace. It’s also the place where my Great Great Aunt Edna Jacques was inspired by the beauty of the prairies to write. She was the epitome of a wayfarer: from living in the smallest towns all across Canada, working on a cruise ship in Vancouver to smuggling herself into Alaska and, from there, hitchhiking herself onto a plane out of it.
I would like to say that I’m following in my Aunt’s footsteps, experiencing life by moving. There’s something spectacular about quitting your job and following your feet (or pedals). And there’s something beautiful that happens in that state of the unknown, when you’re completely vulnerable: you are open and accepting of much more than you thought you were capable of. You start to realize that there’s so much you don’t know and just how small you are. And that’s a good thing.