Part 1 – Who am I? But not totally.
Chapter 13: Roads Not Travelled
It’s been said that travelling makes a great leader. I believe international travel is what’s assumed here. Maybe one day I’ll leave this continent beyond ascending/descending back into somewhere North America.
Like papers, travel can also be looked at in an alternative light as well. Not that I don’t think there is great value and learning in seeing the world first hand and not via blurred faces in Google Streetview. I am not questioning world travels value. I may not have seen the world, but I have had many great adventures none the less.
I dream of seeing Denmark first. Having had a grandfather born in Odense – the home of Hans Christian Anderson as we were often reminded, and listening to his stories of home made me want to visit these roots first. England would be my second choice for both the magic in the accent, and the fact that I am not only two parts English, we have close family friends from England. Their influence has left a long-standing desire to venture to these lands.
Africa, Hawaii, Scotland (because of my paternal lineage), and Mexico are also up there. I would however, like to meet the natives while I travel like my grandfather always made a point to. He was never content to lump around a resort in a speedo downing Corona’s until he passed out in the baking hot sun. “I’ll thank you for one but not another”, was my grandfather’s alcohol modo. He made a point to explore and make connections with the locals on all of his travels. These experiences made his stories come across as a lived adventure rather than an all expense list of resorts he’d stumbled around through for a week.
I’ve seen more of the United States than I have Canada. Other than various Ontario destinations, numerous trips to Quebec or a one night adventure in Alberta, there’s so much I want to explore here at home.
I am very lucky in both my jobs to work with a very diverse group, so there has been a lot of learning about different cultures worldwide. Seeing firsthand is feeling the true spirit, struggle, and cultural differences I know, but there is so much to learn, appreciate and gain from our multicultural neighborhoods. Although historically our diversity has been very white European in our town, the past 40 years have really changed our landscape for the better.
I have walked the runway in Model search America, travelled around California for 9 days mostly on my own during a wild mid-twenties adventure, travelled a bit with sport, have worked many jobs since a child from paper boy and referee, to car polisher, warehouse hand, computer-aided designer and of course, elected official. I’ve driven to places like Boston and Montreal myself in pursuit of a good baseball game, saved an 80 year old sports tradition, been engaged, married, divorced, had children, fallen in and out of love, have had my heartbroken, cried on the floor of an emergency vet saying goodbye to a dear friend, buried friends too soon, lost a mentor, and so much more.
None of this may seem like a lot to a world traveller, but I have certainly ventured almost every road in a diverse little big city of many communities, cultures, landscapes and opportunities. I have a lot of friends and acquaintances from never having left, playing sports, working many different jobs, and being involved in my community.
There is also a lot of exploring and learning-based travelling we can do through the documentaries we watch or books we read as well of course. Whether it’s Philomena, 42, Milk, The Kite Runner, Tuesdays with Morrie, Because We Are Canadians, or Words of Peace in a Native Land. Art is a wonderful and empowering way to make world travellers of all of us all whether it’s venturing through history or taking us into the living rooms and backyards of the worlds human spirit.
I am an Explorer at Life and it’s been a wonderful adventure thus far that has left me with no regrets, although sorry for those I have hurt along the way. These are the things we will carry with us always in a lifelong pursuit of learning about ourselves and the world around us.
My grandfather often dreamed about creating one last story as he rocked in his old red chair retelling one of many travel tales, including one we were supposed to take together. I will bring his spirit with me when I cross into international borders one day but for now, I will simply enjoy life’s adventure.