Travel is home, travel has always been home

After exploring over ten countries in the past 2 ½ years, I’ve come to look at my home country, Canada, with additional dimensionality. It’s difficult not to wonder how foreigners perceive Canada when they choose to explore the diverse expanse that is this incredible nation. Most of where I’ve travelled recently has been relatively small in landmass. I once took for granted that Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam put together aren’t even the size of Ontario. To explore Canada would be a daunting task for any traveller, an endeavour one could spend months on.

I’ve lived in numerous segments of Canada. I was born out West and lived there for the first 7 or so years of my life. Moving away felt like the hardest thing at the time. Everyone I loved and everything I knew was there. I don’t think it took me too long to get over it, though. It was upsetting at the time, but I grew into Winnipeg quickly. It became an irreplaceable part of my life and one that still greatly influences so much of who I am today, over a decade after leaving it behind.

Winnipeg is in the middle of Canada. There’s even a sign a few dozen kilometres east of the city that marks that particular longitudinal point. We used to drive by it, going in and out of the city on my family’s numerous camping trips throughout many humid Winnipeg summers. In fact, our camping routes stretched out in all directions, to the middle of Manitoba, across the plains of Saskatchewan, and deep into the rolling hills that are characteristic of the Canadian Shield. Looking back, it isn’t much of a surprise that I got a taste for travel, even if, at the time, I was a kid who couldn’t ignore the discomforts and just take in how incredible my surroundings were. A seed was planted and I hadn’t known it.

Now I live in Toronto, the largest city in Canada and an epicentre for multiculturalism. I meet people every single day who hail from countries all over the world, many of which I’ve been privileged enough to visit. I notice a sense of appreciation when I’m having a discussion with someone and I’m able to relate with them on their home nation, or even the particular locale from which they grew up. Sometimes, I find that I’ve been to places in their homeland that they’ve only dreamed of visiting. Other times, they have a thing or two to teach me, whether intentionally or not, about my homeland of Canada.

These engagements have become home. These interactions, whether I’m having them here in Toronto, Canada where I live, or on the other side of the world in places that I continually yearn for, have become a home for me. The cheesy line that we all know proclaims that “Home is where the heart is”. For me, home is where the heart strengthens, and where the mind grows. That’s here in Canada where I get to meet local Canadians as well as people from all over the world, that’s with my incredible family who live spread out across this great nation, that’s in Peru where I hiked through a massive canyon surrounded by everything natural and epically proportioned, that’s in the jungles of Borneo where I gazed into the eyes of a wild orang-utan and realized she was as human as I am, that will be in cobbled streets of Amsterdam where I’ll be in a few months’ time.

Even when I’m home, I’m travelling, and when I’m travelling, I am at home. That is who I am and that is what I want to bring to you.

Canada home

 

56 thoughts on “Travel is home, travel has always been home

  1. “It’s difficult not to wonder how foreigners perceive Canada…”

    I’ve only been in Canada proper (meaning not Niagara Falls) once, and it left quite an impression on me. I spent a week in a remote fishing camp in Quebec, and it was the first time I’d experienced real wilderness. I was impressed with the people too. Before leaving for my trip I’d heard many times that Quebecois are rude, but I didn’t find that to be true: the rural Quebecois I met were as friendly as can be. I’d love to spend more time exploring Canada, but I think my future will lie farther south.

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    • I’m glad you had a positive experience in Canada. I’ve heard different things about different demographics of people as well and whenever it’s negative, I tend to notice only a select and small group of stereotypes exist amongst a broader group of truly good people. Wherever your future takes you, I hope you continue to have these kinds of positive experiences. Canadians will always be welcoming if you choose to join us again!

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  2. Beautiful written, Darcy:) We love your country. Last year when we left my mother’s in northern NY and drove across the Thousand Island bridge heading to Alberta, our intention was to travel through Canada on the Yellowhead Hwy. But so many Canadians told us we were crazy and there wasn’t anything to see, so we came back into the US and travels close to the border in the US on route 2. I’m sorry we didn’t stay in Canada just to see the landscape…next time! Toronto and Ottawa are such fun cities. We LOVED our time in Alberta. But so far my favorite are the Maritime Provinces:)

    Happy 2016! Looking forward to your new adventures:) Maybe publish that book!!

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    • There really is so much to see in Canada. A lot of Canadians think the Yellow Yellowhead is a boring route because it’s flat prairie land as far as the eye can see. Growing up in the prairies i sort of thought the same, but having lived in Toronto for over a decade now and being unable to escape urbanity for scores of kilometers, the thought of the prairies draws me. Also, many Canadians would agree with you about the Maritime as well, but I haven’t been that far East yet. Teresa and I did a road trip to Boston earlier this year which I’ll be writing about very soon and we got to drive through Vermont and New Hampshire. We absolutely loved it. As of now, that’s as far East in North America I’ve been.

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  3. I need to see more of Canada! I’ve spent time in the eastern cities and have crossed into Glacier National Park out west, but like the U.S., Canada offers multiple destinations in one huge package. I keep saying I’m saving parts of the U.S. and Canada for when I’m old and less open to travel difficulties, but I really should start sooner. Happy 2016 at home and away!

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  4. So glad you stopped by my blog because it led me to yours! Travel is such a gift… we learn so much about ourselves and others, whether it’s experiencing something close to home or on the other side of the world. Anything that can get us seeing and appreciating a different perspective helps us grow. I look forward to reading more of your adventures! ~Jean

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  5. Thank you for your visit. I enjoyed reading about Canada. Being Scottish and only having come to Australia a mere 27 years ago, I still think Scotland and Canada, more than any place else, have a sort of affinity.

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  6. This blog is a complete pleasure and the first truly exciting one I’ve read. I intend to live vicariously through your posts for a while till I can get something happening (sad but true) and hope you get to places I want to go but just cant right now. Have fun!

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    • I really appreciate this comment and I hope this blog will inspire you to follow your travel dreams. I don’t know what your responsibilities are like, but I know for certain that a great many people think they have too much on their plate to travel when in fact, with sacrifice, it is far more doable than they’d think. Good luck to you 🙂

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      • Aussie and life OK. Been great places before they turned to shit. Eg Afghanistan before USSR and US in ’76. Vicarious is fine for now! Must get to Cuba. Saving not option have refugee family who need to survive. My choice always. No problem. Thanks for the Bill Mitchell repost read and like. He is a legend.

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  7. Well said. I lived in Saskatchewan my first 6 years and had the good fortune to visit again and reconnect with childhood friends. I like what you said about “home is where the heart strengthens, and the mind grows.”.
    Excellent.

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  8. You are a world traveler, but my book that will be published in a few months has me traveling through time. Late 19th century Railroads carried my forebears from Ukraine to Alberta and Denmark to Seattle. I never learned their stories until after I was seventy. How thrilled i was to travel to Edmonton to meet 50 cousins and finish the trip with a drive down the ice Fields highway.

    Stories carry us from here to there, from then to now. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

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    • Good luck getting your book published Paula! It sounds like an amazing experience to have traced your heritage and familial history through the world. My aunt did something similar out in Eastern Canada, although I don’t think she ran into 50 cousins!

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  9. there is no greater joy than being humbled by the vastness of the world, the diversity of the land and its people. I am a very quiet person in the midst of my community – but it has struck me how easy it is to start a conversation with strangers in strange lands. I enjoy hearing about their country from their perspective and in the process there is more learning that happens.
    And yes, there are more places in our local community that we don’t really see until a foreigner points it out to us – it’s like we take things for granted. I have seen more of Maldives when a overseas friend visits and I am obliged to be a tour guide 🙂
    I like your take on life. Glad to have come across this blog space.
    Canada is on my list of countries that I want to visit soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope you get to visit here sometime soon. It’s good that you can appreciate my perspective. Simply opening your mind and listening to what people have to say, and what they want out of life, is a positive avenue to travel down. It’s interesting that foreign travellers can provide you with a new perspective on the Maldives where you call home. Not everyone gets that opportunity. I like how you use it to show people around and project a positive vibe from your home country that travellers can take and apply to their own approach on travel and community. Welcome to my blog 🙂

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  10. Nice bit of writing Darcy! Thanks for liking mine (https://kasuemporium.wordpress.com/). Hope you’ll make it to india one day soon – I have a feeling you’re going to like it. I’m heading back there this week to lead a private tour & to do some solo adventures as well. If you’re interesting in reading my news from the road, see kasutours.wordpress.com. Maybe Ill see you there?

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  11. Despite being born in S. California, I never considered Canada as foreign. Of course my ventures up there began in infancy and there still remains family from Vancouver up into Whistler and perhaps beyond… Canada will always be the source of some wonderful memories.
    However, it wasn’t until I first visited France that I found myself ‘Home’. In just over a year I sold my house and moved. I’ve been here for eight years and love it more each day.

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  12. Great intro! Traveling and moving was instilled in me as young as 2 years old when my dad was transferred from Wyoming, USA to Germany. Then to Colorado, USA then to Japan, then to Virginia, USA. I kept the tradition up with my family and now my husband and I travel full-time. I love that you said, “Home is where the heart strengthens and the mind grows.” I grew up with the saying, “Home is where your heart is.” I’ve left pieces of my heart all over the world! I’ve now learned in really a wanderlust!

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  13. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Looks like you are going to have a super traveling year! I am off to Germany next month and am planning a trans-Canada train trip in 2017, Have a list of countries to get to!

    Liked by 1 person

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