To Write Is An Adventure (West Coast Girl, Pt 1)

Ontario

Winter 2013

My indie author journey could never be told without my traveling journey. In many ways, they go hand in hand. I never lived more than 1 hour away from home. That is, until I decided to take the next step and move across the country at age thirty. I felt so much younger than my age – mentally and physically. I had so much energy and a desire to go explore and learn more about myself. While my dream had always been to live in beautiful Vancouver where the ocean and rainforests surround a beautiful and modern city, I wasn’t brave enough to chase it when I was younger. Everything seemed to change the year that I wrote my first book, By The Sword. It was also the year that I graduated from a hotel management program, got into fitness, and started fashion modeling. It still took me a few years after that to be brave enough to leave the comfort of home and family.

I love my family and friends, but I’d outgrown the little city we lived in. I needed more – experiences, travel, nature, space, and inspiration. A family friend of mine often inspired me with his epic adventures and self-discovery experiences that he’d share on Facebook. He grew up in B.C. and lived on Vancouver Island. I wanted the freedom to do something similar to him – and now was my chance. My own time had come.

There I stood at the London International Airport with my dad. I held a plane ticket to Calgary in one hand. There was a job waiting for me in Kananaskis, Alberta that had cheap shared staff accommodation. It would allow me to save money and eventually reach my ultimate destination. I’d be working in the mountains to experience a whole new life. I could taste the fresh inspiration that would arrive once I stepped into the wild wonderland.

Good-byes are never easy. I wasn’t leaving everyone forever, but it was a true good-bye to the phase of my life where I was safe yet unable to grow. I didn’t know exactly how the new journey would go and that is what made it so exciting. I needed the challenge, the change. My Dad handed my luggage to me. It was early. Only 6 AM. I’d said good-bye to my mom, sister, and cat the last night. As I hugged my dad, the butterflies in my stomach turned it to knots. I walked into the security area. On the other side waited my new life. Looking back, I smiled at my dad watching me through the glass. I don’t recall the details of the airport security experience, but I remember looking back and seeing Dad still watching me. We waved a final time then I walked up to the gate. I wiped the tears from eyes. No matter how eager you are to grow up, move on, and travel, it’s never easy to leave family behind. They always hoped to protect me from the world, but I was born to experience everything it had to offer. You can’t develop and thrive if you’re never challenged. I’m not saying everyone should leave what is familiar, but if you want change, you need to go for it or you’ll regret it. I saw how stuck some people were in my area and I wasn’t going to let that happen to me.

When the plane took off, I gripped the arm rests. I’d always had a little anxiety when it came to flying, but I was still brave enough to look out the window and watch my home city grow smaller until it disappeared. I imagined my dad sitting in his Ford Explorer watching my plane soar off into the sky. I blinked back more tears. This was a new volume in the chronicles of my life, which always carried a little sadness along with the happiness. Nervousness mingled with excitement as I looked down at the great lake below. The fact that it took several minutes for the plane to fly over the great gulf of blue put into perspective how big it really is. Canada is a wonderful place.

Not only would I meet new people in this new life, but I’d write more stories. I published my first novel in 2012 and needed a change of scenery to write more stories. Sometimes you can’t create if you feel stuck; sometimes change is the best medicine when nothing seems to be working in the place you’ve lived for years. I thought of my parents and cried again. I think the longer you’ve lived close to home, the harder it is to travel further away, but I did it. Life is meant to be lived – and home would always be there when I was ready to visit.

Once my plane landed in Calgary, I took a shuttle that would drop me off at a hotel on the highway. From there, a bus boy from the lodge picked me up and drove me the rest of the way. No words can accurately describe the feeling of driving from the prairies outside of Calgary to the Rocky Mountains in the Bow Valley. I saw the peaks from a distance and my heart leaped. Being an Ontario girl all my life, I’d never seen majestic snow-capped mountains before. As we drove into the mountains, my jaw dropped. I had not only entered a new chapter of my life, I was in a different planet.

“They are so beautiful!” I cried probably a hundred times.

“I’m from Ontario, too,” chuckled the bell boy. “I totally get it. And they are amazing.”

“I didn’t realize they were actually this majestic.”

“Oh, they get even higher as we go deeper into the mountains.”

“Oh my God! Really?”

When we reached the lodge, I breathed a deep sigh of relief. We finally arrived. I would be living and working in the heart of the mountains. It wasn’t just a new job, but a new living space filled with new people.

“We’re here,” he said cheerily. “I’ll show you to the manager and we’ll get you settled in.”

“My head is spinning,” I breathed.

I followed him inside of the quaint little lodge. It amazed me that only a few hours ago I was still in Ontario with my Dad and now I was in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. This was it. My self-discovery adventure had begun.

That first day away from home, I kept listening to a song by Oasis called Stop Crying Your Heart Out. It was so applicable to how I felt that day. A bittersweet collage of feelings when you take a solo journey.

“Hold on

Don’t be scared

Your destiny may keep you warm”

-Oasis

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16 comments

  1. I have to admit I did not know there was a London in Ontario. There is a Paris here in Texas. Canada is a huge country. I moved from Sweden to the US when I was 25 so I’ve also made a big move. I was curious and tried to find By The Sword on Amazon but I couldn’t find it there. However, I found it elsewhere.

    Your account for your big move is captivatingly honest and beautifully written.

    • Thank you so much for reading me, Thomas. πŸ™‚ You did make a huge move from Sweden! Canada and the U.S. cover huge areas that’s for sure. It’s funny there’s a Paris in Ontario as well.
      Thank you for searching up By The Sword! I hope you like if you read it, but be aware it was written back when I was a Christian so it has a big Christian theme. I still like it though, as it shows my inspiration from that time.
      Thanks so much for readin!

  2. I’m big on stories of anyone getting out of their comfort zone and expanding their horizons. Looking forward to the next chapter.

  3. I resonate deeply with this journey, having moved from London, Ontario to Victoria in my thirties as well! I completely agree that we can’t grow and change if we are not challenged. I struggled to leave my family too, but it was worth every moment to embrace the adventure and chase dreams. πŸ˜ŠπŸ’•

    • Oh that’s so cool you’re also from London! I moved to Vancouver after a year in the Bow Valley lol that’s so awesome that we both moved to the west coast from the same city originally.
      Yes that’s true. It’s a challenge, but you grow so much (after some pains) and you really appreciate the things you learn & experience.

  4. I saw you posting this series and I had to start from part 1! ❀️ My heart, I felt the emotion in taking that first leap out of your comfort zone, into a whole new territory. I too think it’s necessary in order to grow. It will be so worth it! That season of life is coming up for me real soon. πŸ˜… Can’t wait to catch up with the other parts!

    • That’s awesome ! I really hope you enjoy your new journey. 😊
      Thank you so much for reading! ❀️ It means alot that you started from part 1. It’ll get a little dark in a couple of chapters, but it was nothing I couldn’t overcome.

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