Monthly Archives: October 2009

Dancing with scarecrows and thinking about what I need

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I have been home for some time now and am starting to feel like I really am here. It is funny how ‘life as usual’ was sitting here waiting for me, ready to fold me into it’s comfortable arms. I resisted. I guess I still am. I find myself not wanting to step back into “as usual.”

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Last Sunday I took a short trip from here to Collingwood where I stayed with Sue, John and their furry family. Sue and I talked so much that there must be a word shortage in the Collingwood area. I picture people opening their mouths and nothing coming out. Word rationing is in effect until the word banks are topped up. After a great couple of days I headed out to Owen Sound to see my brother and family. I haven’t seen any of them since Christmas so it was great to be there.

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The fall weather was in full swing and being on Georgian Bay was wonderful. I walked on the shore, got apples at a local orchard and enjoyed being behind the wheel again. Vincent was like a kid getting out of school, skipping and racing when ever I would let him. I passed through the tiny town of Meaford Ontario and found myself captivated by the scarecrows that have invaded the main street. What an amazing community effort. I wish I could have gone to the festival that brought all of those straw people out to frolic. Maybe next year.

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I got home yesterday, had a good nights sleep and then woke up suddenly ready for work. What does that mean? Well, I have decided that I must have a plan for next summer that allows me to do more public speaking. That means that I would like to be a little more ‘focused’ than I was this past summer. So I am spreading maps and checking the internet.

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I also need some ‘gas’ money for the road. I had talked about getting a ‘real’ job, maybe working at the local Foodland and getting a regular pay cheque but some soul searching has me thinking that I shouldn’t be hiding my talents under a bushel. I am a good coach/writer and motivational speaker so here I am asking once again for your help.

Here are things I want to help with my winter quest:

Someone to help me write a good resume that will highlight my skills and abilities. Yes, I do have a regular resume that lists my education/skills and past jobs but someone told me that there is a resume format called a creative resume usually for people who have been out of the workforce for a time. It highlights skills and talents have rather than past places of employment. I have google searched and asked people and have had no luck finding such a thing. Maybe it doesn’t exist but then I want someone to work with me to create one.

Ideas of places I can speak on any number of topics from community to realization of dreams. I think my talks would be of interest to schools, local politicians, non-profits and maybe places of worship (I do an amazing demonstration of the effects of positive and negative thinking that will blast their socks off) I will be putting a list of things on the website that I can see myself doing. You can suggest other ones.

Ideas of magazines, newspapers, newsletters and groups who would might appreciate my brand of good news articles. Someone suggested the women’s magazine “More.” I had never heard of it. I have checked on its requirements for submission and have several ideas. Your suggestions are welcome

Coaching Clients: I am looking for 5 clients who can afford to pay my full monthly price and 3 who would be bursary clients. I will journey with these people as they discover and create their life quest. Please pass this info or my website at www.lifelinescoaching.org around to people who might be interested.

I am also looking for art, music and laughter to surround me as I enjoy this winter and the things that I will find in it. When I traveled I decided not to spend money on things that I could get free. I think I will continue to try to find the fun and education that way.

I will continue to think about this and post post to the “Things I need page of my website. I will also add a page talking about workshops and talks I might do. Please pass it on.

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Still on a journey…just not driving as much. Talk soon.

Oct 13 Thanksgiving

The back field in the fall

The back field in the fall

All of the time that I traveled and tried to get an idea of the communities of others, I remained very aware of my own, the people who supported me and kept me going in so many ways. Most I tried to thank on the different pages of the website but I am not sure who  was reading that. I know that my blog page was definitely the most popular but as I think of the immensity of what you did as my community of support I just wanted to acknowledge you. This is in no particular order but as things occur to me.

First I would like to thank everyone who invited me to stay in your home where you made me feel welcome. You shared your children and your pets with me so that I wouldn’t miss my own too much and you shared your food and resources with me too. At the time I was in awe of your contribution to  my adventure. Now thinking back I can’t believe the blessings that I received. Thank you thank you.

Rainy summer = lush back yard

Rainy summer = lush back yard

Many of the people who invited me to stay lived lives that I found to be very similar to mine and were comfortable to me. Some people stretched me to see that my life is very privelged and takes up many of the earths resources. Several of you allowed me to see that life can be very different and yet still encompase all of the comforts that I have come to expect with little of the lingering effect on our planet and our resouces.  For that I would especially like to thank Mary in Tofino, Alexander in Queen Charlotte, Kate in Powell River and Shawn in Thunder Bay. Also to my friend Darlene in Toronto who turned my eyes to appreciating the joy of frugality many years ago.

I had fun learning your stories and adding to mine. I also want to thank my family members in western Canada for putting up with my constant appearances at the door as the road doubled back on itself, for always making me welcome and for letting me help where ever I could. I wish I could fold the country and see all of you more often.

From the front window. So glad I washed it.

From the front window. So glad I washed it.

What of the people I left behind. Well, thanks for reading my blog and sending me constant comments and letters from home. It helped me to feel connected and like I was doing something worth while. Thanks to Fred, Lynden and Austin for not saying…”What’s taking you so long…come home now” I always knew they missed me but I missed them too.

I also want to thank some of my business networking friends:

Doug at Dr. Tech computer services for his long distance help when Adelle was not working as she should.

Celeste Frenette of the Mahalo Naturopathic Centre in Holland Landing for literally feeding me with sustaining teas and healthful raw snacks. She helped me with motion sickness and perimenopausal symptoms that would have been very hard to manage as I was driving.

Lisa Martynuik at MSVA for keeping my reciepts current and making sure that my business accounts didn’t fall apart completely while I was gone. When I need to untangle the net of expenses, credits and debits she will have it all there for me.

Maureen Munsie at Imagine It for here help in taking those first few pictures and showing me some techniques that helped me get in the picture.

Angella Wills at Marketing Mojo for getting me up and running with my Blog and keeping me there. I can’t believe that she didn’t just block my email because I was constantly sending questions and work for her to do.

I also want to thank the whole Henderson Family for their generous support and to Holly for noticing that my trusty net book computer didn’t have a name and christianing her Adelle. She has appreciated having a monicer and the trip would not have been the same without it.

Also, the WCDR (Writers Circle of Durham Region) who made me their Canadian ambassedor and particularly to Sue Reynolds at www.goforwords.com and Kevin Craig whose unfailing support have staightened my back when I need it.

Thanks too to Clare Bolton and Faith Dentay who made my going away party so memorable… (I’m back…maybe we could do it all again.)

As for the rest of you…oh yes there are so many more, I am starting to feel the pressure of my word space but your names are in the Friends of the Quest portion of the website and written on my heart.

Enough of the sappy stuff already. I have taken and tucked your energy away to take me through the rest of my trip as it reconstitutes itself in June. I am rethinking a few things but am still basically looking for people who will tell me the stories of their areas and themselves so I can restory this great country for myself and hopefully for those of you who are reading my notes.

I have been very moved (literally) by your contributions to my dream. It has also given me a much broader look at community than I had before I left and is giving me lots more area to explore. Thank you to everyone named here and to the countless people who supported me before I left and on the road, those people who keep reminding me that the next few months are part of the journey too.
Thanks again.

Saw this huge Canadian flag flying by the 401 on my way to Thanksgiving with my extended family. A symbol of my community? or is that pushing it too hard.

Saw this huge Canadian flag flying by the 401 on my way to Thanksgiving with my extended family. A symbol of my community? or is that pushing it too hard.

Doing the math

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Anyone who knows me knows that ‘doing the math’ is not something I usually come to voluntarily but here I am so you have to know that It is not too complex.

I was gone 149 days. Sitting here at my computer looking at my life I have to say it doesn’t seem that long but when I look at Austin, who was 3 weeks old when I left, just a cute lump of baby, pulling himself up to stand against the couch I realize that it was a long time.

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Vincent carried me 22,482 km over mountains, prairies and water (ably assisted by ferries) and we spent $2336.00 on gas which was priced from $.86 all the way up to $1.46. If I had been travelling last summer I think I would have paid more than that.

Ferries cost me much more than I had anticipated. I actually hadn’t thought about them at all but as people on the coast know, they are a fact of life. I probably spent about $600 on them and could have spent much more. I will certainly work them into my plans when I am on the east coast.

I paid about $600 for lodging and campgrounds paying anywhere from $10 – $25/night but spent most of my time in homes of amazing people who I  met on my website, through friends, couchsurfing.org or through someone that I stayed with.

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I met one woman at a museum tea and stayed with 4 friends from my past. Reconnecting with them was just great.

I also reconnected with La Leche League, my love of horses, rekindled my love of doing Therapeutic Touch, listening to music and hiking. I went for my first motorcycle ride, went sailing and went dumpster diving for food for the first time (more on that later). I met a baby bear on the road, but didn’t have the pleasure of meeting her Mom, I saw a forest fire in its infancy and I danced to the sound of the wind on the Dempster Highway.  I made new friends, people I hope I can keep in touch with for a long time. I was inspired and inspiring as I met people on the road. I began to come to some concept of how big this country is. I appreciated it all….and maybe appreciate it more now looking back.

More to follow.

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Oct 6 Tax Dollars in action

Near Washago

Near Washago

I can’t say that I have driven across Canada yet but I have gone a good long way through BC, Yukon, the tip of the North West Territories, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. While I can’t even say that I covered most of those places extensively I feel like I spent time on their roads and I have never seen anything like the police presence in Ontario. From the moment I crossed the border I felt watched. Every day I saw at least 4 black and white cruisers and on my long days, most of those were pulled over with “offenders.” I was nervous. I wasn’t sure when the speed limit was 90 if 95 or 100 would be OK. People did seem to be staying close to the line and so did I which made the distances seem very long. Today I drove just under 300km and passed through 3 radar checks. Wow! I am being good…honest. I didn’t see that many other provincial police in the whole time I was on the road. I’m not sure I have ever seen that many OPP’s all at once before. I wonder what is going on. Well, I guess it is our tax money in action.

Other than OPP anxiety I had a great drive home today. Not too long, the road was familiar and the fall colours were beautiful. Pulling into the driveway was … well weird. So familiar and yet changed. The whole yard looks lush and green. Wanda turned herself inside out, yipping, licking and wiggling she was so happy to see me. It was sad not to see Maurie standing wagging her tail with her goofy setter grom. I will miss her and home seems quiet with out her here.

My immediate plans are to sleep for a week and then pull together some of my stats to see how far I went, how much it cost and all of the little niggly stuff.  I will be working on making this one stop along the way, figuring out what I need for the next leg in the spring and going for it.

Talk soon.

rocks in fall

rocks in fall

Oct 5 Memories

Fall in Ontario

Fall in Ontario

I left Sault Ste. Marie in the pouring rain but half way to Sudbury I knew that the sun would come out. Seemed to me that the sun didn’t know it yet but at least I only needed the wipers on intermittent. Hwy 17 must have had some work done on it since Karma’s maps were installed because for a good 30 km out of the Sault, she showed me driving through fields and kept ‘recaluculating’ first with annoyance and then with resignation. She was very happy when we actually returned to what she considered appropriate roads. After that she was very quiet.

17 doesn’t go through many towns. I expected to see Wawa but missed it… and it even misses Lively and Sudbury although I could see the roof tops in the distance….oh yes, and the huge smoke stacks. Since I was going to Callendar to visit a long lost friend, Nancy, I was staying on 17 and not going by hwy 69. Taking 17 brought me through Sturgeon Falls.

Winding road

Winding road

I have not been in Sturgeon since my Grandmother died several years ago. Before that the road between there and home was very familiar. When I drove into town I had a sense of vertigo and loss. I drove along the street, past our good friend Vicki’s house. She died shortly after my grandmother and her house was changed but not too much. Across the street, Greg’s place had several large trucks and beat up cars parked in the driveway so I knew he had moved. I wondered if he was still alive. Memories washed over me as I drove toward the large , vinyl sided house on the corner, neat gardens and pretty verandas, at least that is how I think it looked. What I really saw was the weathered boards under the siding. Driving by I could smell the comfortable dusty smell of the shed and then the warm smell of grandma’s kitchen.  It was hard for me to see the little bungalow in the lot that used to be her garden and the gully, now green and landscaped. There was a monument on the corner of the gully. I should have stopped and  read what it said….but I didn’t. I had pulled myself together enough to pull in to the chip stand. I got out,  ordered fries and  stared down the street at the monument. I almost went back to take a picture or something but instead I sat on a picnic table and waited for them to call me for my order. I remembered when we would get the ‘chips’ in paper cones that would burn our fingers and we would stick wooden forks in the scalding, over salted potato strips and eat them with vinegar. That was a long time ago.

When I left I realized that although there are a few new subdivisions and the Canadian Tire is in a big new store, there are very few changes in Sturgeon and I really have no reason to be there anymore. The road to North Bay is not changed at all. I stopped at the view point to put my stomach back where it belonged. Karma and Vincent were both very quiet.

I had no trouble finding Nancy and although things have really changed for both of us, nothing had really changed and we laughed and giggled into the night. I know I have said this before but I am startled again by how much this trip into my future has brought me back into my past over and over.  When I get home I will have to take some time to really sit with myself and go over it all again. Decide what it all means and how it will fit into my present. Cool.

Well, the sun was shining when I passed through Sturgeon and it has stayed that way. What a beautiful night. Talk soon.

Lake Nippissing

Lake Nippissing

Oct 4 Superior

Hike along the way

Hike along the way

Wow! Driving around Lake Superior is….well superior. I am loving it. The day has been a patch work of rain, cloud and sun. Perfect for driving. I think Karma loves saying continue 690 km. No turns. Just stay on hwy 17.

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I just love driving along, following the road around a long wide curve and having the lake jump out at me. OOOO Maybe it would become boring if you were a long distance driver driving it once a week but once in a life time is great.

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I am making good times and making good friends. See you soon.

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Just a quick up date.

I stayed with Lori in Winnepeg and loved her energy. Then I drove all day to meet Shawn in Thunderbay. The weather was drizzly but ok to drive in. Once I hit the Ontario border though, the speed limit hit 90 and MAN 7ookms is a long way at 90. I saw speeders stopped and the speed of traffic seemed to be about 100…so that was it. I drove from 8 to about 6:30. It was cold and wet but I managed some walk abouts just to keep my joints moving.

Nice to see...but the speed limit drops. Remember me complaining about driving too fast on windy roads? Well when long distances are involved it sure is nice.

Nice to see...but the speed limit drops. Remember me complaining about driving too fast on windy roads? Well when long distances are involved it sure is nice.

Shawn lives in a tiny house right down town Thunder Bay (the Port Arthur side) I thought I was lost as I turned down a little back alley where there seemed to be parking lots for the buildings on the street and then I found a quaint, old little building. She has taken it an made it into a beautiful little home. This evening after dinner we walked through the down town to the waterfront in the dark in the rain. I could see the sleeping giant dosing in the gloom in the distance but it was too dark to take pictures of. We both came home soaked but feeling good. I am going to bed early. Driving and another time change is making my body feel woozy so a good nights sleep will help.

Vincent loved the stops. I have been pushing him hard.

Vincent loved the stops. I have been pushing him hard.

This is the first time in my couch surfing days that I am actually on a couch in a living room but it is a pull out couch and very comfy. I am sharing it with a beautiful cat and am enjoying the purring as much as anything else. I can hear rain on the roof. It has been a good day.

Mountains and plains are wonderful but it sure was nice to drive back onto the good old Canadian Shield

Mountains and plains are wonderful but it sure was nice to drive back onto the good old Canadian Shield

I will connect tomorrow if I have internet…or not. Have a good rest of the weekend.

Mist is fabulous.

Mist is fabulous.

Oct 2 Quick update

The two of us

The two of us

Well it is official. I LOVE grasslands. I spent Tuesday and Wednesday in Airdrie where I could still see the mountains. It was great to see Carmen again and meet 4 of her 6 children. Isn’t it funny with old friends. We stepped in as if our conversation had just been interrupted. Thirty years just melted away as we got reacquainted. We poured over her photo albums of the good old days and it seemed like the people in the pictures were the strangers…not us.

Korean totem poles from Airdrie's sister city

Korean totem poles from Airdrie's sister city

Thursday morning I left Airdrie and headed for Moose Jaw. The day was bright and the driving fast. I love the trans Canada highway because it is wide, straight and fast. The speed limit is 110 so I set it on 120 and was just cruising. What I noticed was….I was passing everyone….Me, passing. People actually do the speed limit here, so, I reset the cruise for 115 and only passed a few people. I am not sure what the police find is too fast but the speed of traffic is usually a safe bet. At home a road posted 100 usually seems to guarantee that the flow of traffic will be about 125. I wonder if raising the limit would slow things down?

Sky

Sky

What I don’t like about the trans – Canada is that it by passes all of the cool little towns. Next time I pass through here I will not take this road. I will see the country side better.

Different sky

Different sky

In Moose Jaw I stayed with Jim and Jen, a couple I met through couch surfing. What a nice evening that was. Jim made pizza and we tossed around a few of my favorite political topics. Jen is a teacher so we hit on schooling and Jim is a United Church Minister who is still going to university. Wow. I could have stayed up all night talking to them. The more I couch surf, the more I am a fan. If you haven’t already, you should go to the website and check it out. You can be an arm chair traveler by hosting travelers or you can actually travel all over the world and meet the best people.

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Tonight I am in Winnipeg with an energetic woman who is about my age named Lori. She has traveled everywhere and actually lived in Georgetown and Caledon when we were were in the Erin area although we never met in Ontario. She and I have networking in common and she has invited me to a Red Hat extravaganza tomorrow night. I think I will keep driving but definately will take her up on it in the spring.

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Anyway, back to the grass lands. I have picture after picture of the sky interacting with the land and the clouds….WOW! There are not enough superlatives to describe the feelings I get driving under this big “top” into the horizon.

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I am moving fast. Too fast in one sense but it is kind of thilling to watch Vincent eat up the pavement. I am missing the interactions I had as I stopped in every community on the road but am enjoying the things that happen in my mind as I drive.

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I am having trouble getting email…so may not post again til I get home.

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Here is a quote from Gail:

If its wild in your own heart, protect it. Preserve it. Love it and fight for it, and dedicate yourself to it….It doesn’t matter if it’s wild to anyone else:  if it’s what makes your heart sing, if its what makes your days soar like a hawk in the summertime, then focus on it. Because for sure, it’s wild and if it’s wild, it’ll mean you’re still free. No matter where you are.
Rick Bass