1 Aug 2012
I can't believe it's August! We've had many hot days in July in Toronto, so, it actually feels like summer!
A couple weeks ago, one of my best friends, Tracy, came to town with her friends. It was Tracy's fourth crossing. We reminisced about our 2003 journey from Toronto to Victoria, B.C. THAT WAS AN UNFORGETTABLE TRIP!!! I have also travelled with Tracy to New Brunswick back in 1999 -- but, that's only a 18 hour drive, which is like crossing the street compared to heading out west. We remembered that we accidentally exited the Canadian border and we squealed like crazy school girls. All we knew was, we saw a sign that said that we were about to enter the United States! Tracy said, she still thinks about that, and technically, we did not enter into the U.S., so, why did Canadian customs say we were re-entering Canada? And, what is that strip of land between Canadian and U.S. customs -- was it some kind of "no man's land"? All we did was turn the car around the Canadian customs booth. Fortunately, we had travel documents, as well, it was prior to the requirement to have a passport or enhanced driver's licence. We nervously answered questions of the Canadian customs officer, only because of all of Tracy's belongings in her car, since she was moving to B.C. She told me later, she was afraid we would be asked to remove all the contents from the car -- it took a lot of planning to get everything in -- including fitting myself into the car! As we were about to depart again, the Canadian Customs officer happened to mention that other drivers have made similar errors. We were relieved to be on our way, even though we would have felt at greater ease if he had told us from the start!
I have not travelled cross country with Tracy again, nor on my own, but, I would encourage anyone and everyone to do so. Whether you travel by car, bus, train or fly, you can experience such great beauty in the Canadian landscape. How many of the five Great Lakes have you seen? I have recall seeing Lake Superior (and a lot of it!), Lake Huron (when I went to Sauble Beach), Lake Michigan (when I was in Chicago), and of course, Lake Ontario. As you head across the Prairies, it is astounding to look as far as the eye can see, straight across, without anything blocking your view. It is flat, with just a few dips here and there, but, with short trees in the Prairies and open fields, it is a unique part of the Canadian landscape. We stayed for about a week in Calgary back in 2003, at her friends' house (the ones Tracy travelled back to the east coast with this time). Heading westbound from Calgary, Alberta, I remember being on the Trans Canada Highway headed towards the Rocky Mountains. The anticipation was killing me! We could see them so clearly even at a great distance away. I have flown over the Rockies in the past, but, to travel right through those beautiful mountains and blue, picturesque lakes, it left me in awe! It was a jaw dropping experience to inhale the fresh air, and to see clouds hovering over mountain tops and clean snow near the peaks. After that detour to the U.S. border to the State of Washington, Tracy and I headed back to the highway and waited for a B.C. Ferry to take us across to Vancouver Island. I love travelling on the water and I wondered, how lovely it would be to travel across water every day, and not just any body of water, but, the Pacific Ocean. Finally, we arrived in Victoria, BC, on a rainy night. I can't remember what I was thinking that night when we finally arrived at our destination -- except, what a cheap rate at this clean hotel we found. That's another story! When we have the opportunity to take a journey with a friend, we learn about ourselves and about our friend. Our friendship was tested within a two-week period. We coped with a flat tire near Sudbury, snow storms across the Prairies, an overheated car in Calgary, questioning life's problems and crying in the car in Winnipeg, squealing right by the Canadian border and almost ending up in the US unintentionally, and still be alive and remain friends, then no doubt, Tracy is like my sister (from a different mother) and she is one of my best friends -- TIME TESTED and CROSS-CANADA TESTED! By the way, we LOVE Canada!!!
Tracy and I also travelled to the east coast in 1999. There is a wonderful French Canadian culture in Quebec, and a laid back, beautiful landscape and cultures in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. I have not been to Newfoundland and Labrador, Nunavut, Yukon and the Northwest Territories. There is so much to see and we have an incredibly vast, diverse, and tremendous country -- physically and culturally.
Speaking of trips, I remember being on a bus tour of the U.K. and Ireland in 1994. I was in London, England for a few days back then, and, it is really exciting to watch the Olympic games in London these days! It seemed like yesterday when I was glued to the Beijing Olympics four summers ago.
I have been following news programs which featured various athletes. I admire not only athletes, but, anyone who has a passion to pursue a dream. I came across a survey directed at job hunters and potential job hunters. Questions included, money, good co-workers, working for inspiring leaders and passion for a particular industry. More than 60% of those surveyed replied that they were seeking jobs in an industry which they were passionate about.
Hearing stories about athletes who have such passion is truly inspiring. Their dreams are driven by a passion and determination to excel beyond their personal best. The medals are an incentive, but, I think that the challenge to do their best is the true measure of success! The Road to London is like a road trip with obstacles - expected and unexpected. Some of the biggest obstacles can be in our minds, our emotions and attitude. I happily applaud the athletes for reaching the London Olympics, and hopefully, they will enjoy the challenge and their entire experience with their team mates, friends and family.
As a personal tribute to the Canadian athletes, I have a collection of Olympian bears from the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC). This year, I picked up a bear which I have named, Clara, named after the incredible Clara Hughes. Hughes is a Canadian cyclist and speed skater who has won multiple medals in both sports - six to be exact. She has won medals in the Summer and Winter Olympics -- a unique accomplishment. Clara Hughes retired from speed skating in 2010 and in her last bike race in this year's Olympics, she came in 5th. At the age of 39, Hughes has achieved so much! She is a great inspiration and when I look at my Clara Bear, I will be inspired too!
Back in September! Enjoy the rest of summer!
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