Eight weeks ago I sat alone in hot humid fourth floor hotel room in Vietnam. Monsoon rains beat down on my panoramic view balcony, a view in which I never bothered to enjoy. The sounds of laughter and clinking bottles rung out above the thud of the rainstorm against the tin roof next door, laughter I had no ambition to contribute with. I had a motorbike and a camera to roam freely around the countryside, a photo album which was never documented. No budget, no timeline, no responsibilities. I had everything most people in the world strive for except for except for the most important thing of all, happiness and family. Living the dream as many call it and that dream has become my reality and when I found myself unsatisfied while living a life most of the world want but will never get to experience, I knew there was something wrong. Not all who wander are lost but I was. I was lost, lonely, and directionless, a bad place to be after nearly three years of unplanned journey’s and uncharted maps. I was a lone traveler wandering aimlessly around the globe, without direction we have no structure, and without structure we have no ambition. I realized then that it was the first time in my life I was without a goal; I had nothing to aim for. I needed a new challenge, a new horizon to set my sights on. It came to me suddenly and clearly, there was no mistaking the happiness growing inside my gut. It was time to go home…….. but not before a good challenge.
I’ve never ridden a bicycle further than 30km before. I don’t even know how to sit down to peddle as the only bikes I have ever owned where either a bmx or downhill mountain bike. Taking this into serious consideration, I saw no better way to return to my small home town of Halifax Nova Scotia than to cycle across the second largest country in the world from ocean to ocean, crossing 8 provinces, 5 time zones, 3 months, and 7000 kilometers. What I do know is perseverance is stronger than fear, will power is stronger than defeat, and the satisfaction of conquering a challenge will give me strength to overcome any obstacle that gets between me and my dreams.
Ever since leaving Canada I’ve felt guilty for not exploring what is said to be one of the most beautiful countries in the world, a statement in which I can shed no opinion. Whenever asked about my country while abroad, I was lost for words as I’ve never been a tourist in my own backyard. It usually ended up in a pessimistic opinion on shitty weather, low wages, high taxes, and a corrupt government, an opinion in which I’m not proud of. I’ve never given my country a chance to be that safe haven in which immigrants are so thankful for, to sip hot chocolate amongst that picturesque snow capped mountain, to accept the overwhelming friendly hospitality the rest of the world knows us for. I want to scream my white and red painted face off at a hockey game, I want eat maple syrup off snow cones, I want to be proud of my country and I want to know why and cycling from one side to the other is the best way to find out.
I’ve spent the past three weeks meeting new family, seeing old friends, and testing my new bike and gear on the most western side of Canada. My confidence is up and my spirits are high. The weather looks good and the east awaits. Tomorrow I hit the road and journey into the unknown, this is going to be one hell of a ride.