Road Tripping Across the Prairies!

We meet again, Pacific Grace!

"When I was young my family and I would go through Prince George during the summer. We would be on our way to see family in Alberta. I loved stopping there as it meant lots of shopping, camping and swimming pools. There were the interesting drunks, homeless people, Hutterites and tree planters. I found them all intriguing, but it was the tree planters who inspired me the most. 

With their dirty vehicles, long messy hair or dreadlocks, and bare feet, I longed to be part of the crew. In them I saw community, freedom, and a down to earth nature. I was about 10 years old. 

Fast forward 13 years later and I think I’ve come as close as I could to that dream. 

I’ve found a friend. A beautiful friend. Together we’re travelling across Canada. From the coast of British Columbia to the hip metropolis of Montreal. 

Her little car is decorated with an array of bumper stickers from adventures near and far. On top there is a surfboard. Inside, in front of a backseat full of colourful luggage and peaches, we sit. She’s doing the driving, as the car is a standard, and hers. I’m often propped with my feet up high, asleep. I can’t say I’m the best passenger, but we’re moving, and having adventures along the way, so must be doing something right. 

We began our journey in Prince Rupert, hopped on BC Ferries to Vancouver Island, where I went to Bamfield, camping, and she went climbing in Squamish. We met up once again in Tofino, a place that means a lot to both of us. I camped and stayed at two hostels, and she stayed at a guesthouse. We surfed and caught up on sleep and old friends. I searched for clarity, as per usual and found some. 

We left Tofino as the rain and large swells came. We stayed the night in Victoria and continued on, full of fish and chips, to the Okanagan, to Osoyoos. I have a cousin there and she has a new baby. We traded our developing road diet of chips, chips and chips, for fresh smoothies, eggs and salmon. We ate well, hung out with babies and I felt refreshed once again, after a long swim in the chilly lake. So far we’ve listened to a number of Quebecois and BC albums. 

After spending a full day in Osoyoos we moved up to Penticton. We  found a hostel there and ventured out to Naramata, to visit Jane's old friends. We found them in a basement, in a field just before Naramata. There must have been around 7 people lying on a few mattresses, smoking, drinking, laughing and basking in each others company. 

They were fruit pickers. From Quebec, France and South Africa. 

Not only was I travelling like the tree planters I had seen as a child, but was hanging out with them too. Sometimes I have moments where I feel “I am the person I’ve always wanted to be”. And I suppose that was one of those moments. 

I admired there vulnerability, their down to earth nature, there attitudes and camaraderie. I was also glad that we had a clean place to go sleep of our own.

Jane and I both had long discussions with different people we had met that night. The young woman I spoke to explained to me that she had just finished 3 years of Cegep, had worked and saved for a number of months as a waitress in Montreal and decided she craved adventure. I had stared out by asking what inspired there to come out west and work as a picker. She continued to explain that she had savings and a comfortable (clean) life back home in Quebec. Coming out west to work is known for its adventures and awesome vibes. She wanted to experience it and travel and be able to not touch her savings. I thought it was cool, and could relate, that she seemed to be intentionally be placing herself in a situation of apparent poverty. She did not consider herself poor, or a hippy, or even a picker, but a traveller. She also reminded me that, everyone had different stories of how they came to be in this setting. The stories were vast. 

Jane’s friend lived this lifestyle more permanently. He had come out for work, but found it hard to find, and instead spent more money than initially hoping, all the while, having a good time. While we admired his adventurous spirit- being able to change plans at any moment, and having little to no money while still being able to continue the adventure- he said he admired what Jane was doing. The grass was greener on the other side, for each sides! 

By 10:30, we were getting tired. We left the barnyard basement while music grew louder with drums, voices and guitars. We backed out of the field and drove into town. We woke up early this morning and hit the road. We’re just entering the rockies now. We’ve found the mountains and escaped the rain. Between us I think there’s an internal body temperature difference of about 2 degrees, as I’m often warmer than her *air conditioning*. 

We hope to sleep at my grandparents tonight and will continue across the prairies in the morning. 

Oh Canada, how hard you are on my tailbone." - Written along the drive. 

Leaving my grandparent's place- peach in mouth!

Searching for swells~


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