Thursday, November 25, 2010

the end (for now)

Ok ok, so I realize that it's been a while since my last post. I dunno, I guess I just couldn't figure out an appropriate way to end the story of 'nomadic cyclist from the west coast pedals across her homeland, experiencing firsthand the wonders of Canada'. There's sooo much left unsaid! But just now I realized something critical: the story doesn't have to end here. Although the final moments of my XCanada bike tour (and subsequent journey back home) have already played out, this won't be the last time Meg rides here bike across incredible expanses of terrain and is greeted by the open arms of humanity. The world is simply amazing. If you don't believe me, just get on a bike :)

So how did I make it home? Well, as I wrote last month, I hitched off Newfoundland, then took a couple of buses to Bathurst, NB. I hopped on a train to Quebec, then spent a most of my time riding greyhound buses, navigating my way westwards across Ontario and through the Prairies, visiting Austin in Montreal and landing at Toby's place in Edmonton just in time for the first snow of the season. I realized that summer was officially over, and that I would have to get on with my life now.

This is kinda where I got stuck, and thus partially to blame for my lack of posting in recent times. What now? Perhaps I'll return to school, learn Spanish and take some creative writing courses. Or, I could embrace winter, work at a ski hill, and catch snowflakes on my tongue. Alternatively, I could use my degree to get a real job, start earning a salary, and join the ranks of society who don't vacation more than two weeks a year.

But, I did non of the above. I wound up back at the roller rink, working late nights and drinking copious amounts of coffee. I've been taking my strange deer-like dog Rexy for daily adventure walks through the park and down to the ocean. Together we meander the familiar winding paths, admiring the giant golden maple leafs. I've been catching up with friends and relatives, and taking full advantage of having a fully stocked kitchen at my disposal (thank you Ma and Pa, for welcoming your vagabond daughter back home, time after time!). My current challenge is simply trying to take in all that I've learned this summer and use it to live out my own life in a way that satisfies my soul.

In December my brief stint at the rink ends, and I'm taking off for warmer climates. First I'm heading back to Edmonton-to get a taste of what the word 'cold' really means. Then I'm flying out to chill with some friends in sunny San Diego-can hardly wait to hit the surf with Sam, bake up some cookies with Karen in the kitchen, and down a few cheap American beers with Kevin. Then I'm blasting off to meet the family in Maui for Christmas. I know, you're probably thinking "hard life, kiddo", but hey, somebody's got to do it! I'll be ringing in the New Year, and the my 26th birthday, barefoot on a beach with a papaya in hand.

As I've said before, for me, travel is a transformative and life-changing experience. Bike touring all the more so. Propelling yourself forward with the strength of your own muscles, striping down your belongings to the bare minimum, constant exposure to the elements, chance encounters with folks on the road, and getting to know the entity who lives inside the body (my mind? my soul?) are all reasons that I choose to bike. I think of it this way: as a driver in a car/passenger in a train/customer on a bus, you're like a person at a museum taking a look at a painting. Now, hop onto a bike (or tie up those hiking boots) and you become much more than a mere spectator-you become part of the painting. That's why I totally dig cycling-because you get to be inside the painting-and the 360 degree view is pretty sweet.

So I plan to re-ignite my blog when I take off again on two wheels. I don't know when I'll hit the open road, let alone have the slightest inkling as to where that paved (or unpaved) expanse unfolding ahead of me will lead. But, I can feel it will be good :)

Check out and if you're still craving awesome biking stories. I met these folks in Baja California about a year ago, and they're still going. Hanna's photography totally rocks my socks.