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“Take me home, country roads”

August 12, 2010

Hello everyone, sorry for the delay but this has honestly been my first chance to sit down in front of a computer for more than 15 minutes since I made it home.

So I’m no longer in the fly-by-night realm of South-East Asia and have since landed safe and sound back in Canada.  I nearly didn’t make it though.  The day before I left I had bought a bus ticket to the airport with a 4:45 am meeting time.  Ugh.  Irregardless, on my last night in Thailand I was out on the town and upon checking my watch I noticed I had less than 3 hours before I was to be at the bus stop with all my bags in tow.  I was afraid of this happening so I took the precaution of making sure everything was packed and ready to be hauled out of my room.  “Why sleep now?” I asked myself.  Foolishly I thought I’d ‘rest my eyes’ and next thing I knew I had overslept and missed my bus and now had approximately an hour and a half to make it to the airport and check in.  A flurry of curse words swarmed through my head as I threw on my bags and hustled out of the hotel like I was the last one left in a burning building.  This was only the second time in Thailand I opted to take a taxi cab but it was a good choice because the driver managed to drastically trim the usual 50 minute commute to the airport and I made it with time for breakfast after I checked in.  Close one.

The flights home were long and uneventful and upon arriving in Canada and walking out into the street I felt warm and proud to be back home but melancholy and wistful that my adventure was over – at least for the time being.  “Things will never be quite the same” I thought to myself.  I was to meet a newly made friend on my flight at the sky-train so I hurried along, amusing myself at the immediate differences I noticed as I walked.
Soon afterwards I had met  my buddy Chris at his work and we were catching up fast.  I didn’t stay in town long and by Wednesday afternoon we were packed and leaving for the car ride home.  Vancouver by the way is a beautiful city and much more down to Earth and progressive than any town I’ve experienced living in Ontario.  Honestly, if it weren’t for family and roots in Ontario it would be very easy to move West and make a life for myself.

But we got busy with the drive and immediately I was awestruck by the expanse and size of the mountains.  Chris’s GPS unit read we were driving at an altitude of 1500 m at some points and the trees, rivers and peaks were stunning all the way through to Calgary.  We’d stop every so often to take a few pics and stretch our legs and our first night we crashed at a friend’s place in Kamloops.  We were quite efficient with the task at hand and in preparation we stocked a cooler full of food so eating was more so a measure of lack of spills than anything else as the ‘co-pilot’ would fish items out of the back and build sandwiches, etc.  Some nights we’d find a quite parking lot somewhere and sleep in the car and another night we’d pirate an unused campsite at a provincial park.  Driving through the prairies was an interesting phenomenon.  It’s flat and boring as all hell for a staggering amount of time.  Northern Ontario was quite beautiful and the deer whistles Chris and I installed seemed to do the trick since we never saw any sign of a deer or wildlife.  We saw one guy who looked like he drove through a brick wall which shat on him upon contact.  What a mess.
I never really appreciated just how bloody massive this country is.  It’s huge.  And that was only two-thirds across the southern most part.  I can’t imagine driving to make my way up to Yellowknife or someplace like that.  Madness.  All in all it took us 4 days to drive across the country, for a total of 4400 km.  It was a good experience and I’d recommend it at least once but bring someone with you and something to do.  Chris for instance carved a watermelon inside the car one day with a knife to make Rambo look twice and it was hilarious.  You see what I mean. .

Now I’m in full throttle forward trying to get myself organized for school and catching up with family and friends and it’s been exceptionally busy.  Yesterday, Victoria and I went shopping for tools.  It’s like trying to pick only one dish a buffet – everything looks delicious and you want it all, knowing perfectly well you’ll likely never touch some of it.  “Of course I need four different flavors of marinated oysters,” You say to yourself shoveling them onto your plate.  Lee Valley is a killer.

So I’m excited to be home and have all these big plans staring at me, but at the same time I miss Thailand, I miss the uncertainty of it all, I miss my backpack and I miss my friends.  I’m certain I’m not done traveling but I think it’s time now to do something more productive with myself and make the most of my youth in Canada now.  Expats are a dodgy bunch and no one wants to be “That Guy”, like the one who lingers on campus 4 months after he graduated.  I don’t know when or where my next trip will be or who it might be with but I’m excited at the possibilities.  Travel out of your culture and society is one of the greatest favors you can do for yourself because even when it’s bad it’s good.  There really is no substitute for it.

Check back in a few days for my final official post of Bangkok Dangerous as I write the epilogue and attempt to summarize my experience and give some final thoughts towards the whole shebang.

Once I get back in touch with Chris, I’ll post a couple of pics from the drive home.  Cheers.

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