Thursday, February 24, 2011


I'm feeling restless...I get this way once in a while. I attribute it to my "wandering" gene. The desire - that has been passed down to me from my grandmother, then my father - to pick up, pack up and head out on the road.

I love to travel; in my early 20s I thought that I would spend my days as a world traveller, perhaps working towards a career where frequent trips would be a necessity. I pictured myself as a single woman, childless, a nomad. Fast forward 6 or 7 years, and I couldn't be in a more different place!

I'm not complaining at all - I love my life, and wouldn't change a thing. But that doesn't stop the restless feelings, and the hour I spent yesterday surfing travel websites (JourneyWoman is a great example). I furtively began budgeting to see if there would be enough for me to take off on an adventure next year (there probably isn't).

I don't really agree with couples taking separate vacations all the time; after all, family vacations are wonderful ways to learn more about each other and create lasting memories for children. BUT, I think the occasional journey on one's own helps build confidence, renew energy and give some perspective.

Huffing and puffing my way through a hike in late pregnancy

And I've married a man who is quite comfortable using his vacation time to head out into the Ontario wilderness on canoe or hiking trips. He even enjoys tenting in the dead of winter! Isn't that what cabins and yurts were built for? So you didn't have to freeze your ass off in a tiny slip of a tent?

Now, I like my share of adventure, and have no problem travelling to places where the comforts of home are hard to find. But I could do without long camping trips in the wild, when I don't see a single other living soul for days at a time. I spend the nights shaking with terror in my tent, picturing a wandering black bear using me as his next meal.

If I'm not worrying about bears, I'm worrying about serial killers dumping the dead bodies of their victims in nearby woods. On one memorable portage trip with my hubby, I was woken in the night by the sound of a motorboat. I got out of the tent, and saw lights flashing across the lake, near a camping site we had checked out the day before. I crawled back into the tent, and shook Tom as hard as I could. He grunted and moaned (this was probably the third time I had woken him; once because I had heard a racoon which I was positive was a bear, and another time to ask him to accompany me while I peed).

"Someone's dumping a dead body," I whispered in quiet desperation.

"What??" he said, rubbing his eyes.

"A motorboat just pulled up to the shore, and I'm positive that they're doing something illegal! Drug running! Dead bodies!" I began sweating and shaking.

"Go back to sleep, he said. You're being ridiculous."

Well, needless to say, I didn't go back to sleep, and spent the rest of the night plotting how I would save our lives if the thugs came across the lake to dispose of the witnesses. So you can see why camping just isn't my thing.

My thing is people and places. I want to know how people live, where they eat, what they eat, and where they go for fun. I want to chat with people, visit their museums, and walk their streets. I want to use their toilets, even when they're missing the toilet bowl and I'm expected to squat over a hole. I want to get a sense of the country as a whole, and find out what makes a culture "tick." This usually involves visiting larger cities, although I also enjoy the quiet of the rural areas. So these are the types of trips I will need to do on my own, as Tom is more interested in sawing logs (literally) than navigating the crowds of a foreign city.

For now I will have to satisfy myself by browsing travel sites and living vicariously through friends who are on their own adventures.

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