Once, I drove across Canada. My tailbone sat perched upon the passenger seat of a Toyota Echo for 7,000 kms. Beside the salt and vinegar chips and iced coffee mugs, in front of a mountain of backpacks, and right next to me, sat Jane. 

In the months leading up to this trip Jane had worked in the mountains as a snowboard instructor and on the sea, for BC Ferries. Jane had found her way into our families heart like few others. She quietly observed, over a number of months, our own unique structure and found her place in it. She took part in the simplest livings as well as the most epic this place has to offer. 

There were the walks at Butze Rapids, pancake breakfasts, long Skype conversations, and silences covered by rain pounding on the roof. There were family dinners and “swing dances”. I went skiing with her once and she flew down the mountain on her board like I’ve never seen before.

When Jane dressed up for a night on the town, she stood out. Maybe it was the way she styled her hair, or picked her dresses, or just an elegance that had been passed down at birth. It was always fun riding in her car as people would stop to stare at the hundreds of bumper stickers collected from an array of epic places. People would pause, point and smile. 

I have travelled a lot but am in awe of her style of journeying. Prince Rupert is the end of the road and one must make it here with a story. Jane explained her accent and why she was here countless times, I’m sure. She drove the road along the Skeena more times than I may in my entire life, surely more than I have already. She’s also now covered, in one season, more sea time and trips along the coast than most that live here. 

Jane made it out to Oona River. That was the moment when I realized this woman was an epic, epic traveller. To make it out there, one must truly have won the heart of someone in the community. For unless you arrive by kayak and with a tent in hand, connections are fairly essential.

I don’t remember eating one dinner at our place there. I gained a few pounds from the coffee times and neighbours cooking in those 5 days, probably one pound per day… We travelled as a group, which was exhausting at times, but experienced most of the adventures that place has to offer. We were all tired for a long time afterwards. 

Oona River is remote and raw. It is a feat and accomplishment to experience. In my eyes. 

Just as it would be nearly impossible for a person from the coast to feel at home inland, Jane always felt the beacon of Quebec. The language, seasons, culture, politics, music, friends, family, dance and unity. Food was another mystery to me. These French folk can eat so much poutine and maple syrup. Perhaps it’s their passionate lifestyles that keep them looking so strong. 

I am in awe of her voyaging style because Jane had the ability to deeply root herself in a new culture and community, and still completely own hers. 

When Jane and I drove across to Montreal, we began in Tofino. We drove East, visiting friends and family along the way. I didn’t allow myself to consider what it would be like when we stopped driving. 

I am back in Prince Rupert now. After living in the same home for 23 years, I’ve moved. I spent my first night in a new place last night and feel shaken. I hope I just need time and that it will be a place that will seed an amazing life transition. 

Jane is no longer Jane. She has gone home to the people who can say her real name with grace. 

We’ve both gone home and completely uprooted our lives. It is terrifying and heartbreaking. I know the pendulum will swing the other way- just as far. Gravity, right? 

I wish this woman allllllllllllll the best. She is a being of an epic, peaceful, and graceful passion. Her vision, strength, honesty, capabilities and humble vulnerability are all incredible too. I like to think that once we reroot ourselves again, we’ll both be able to soar. 

Thank you Jane! 

Here we were in Saskatchewan, looking for prairie swells! 


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