In the end, I came home early. The weather was miserable, and it was sunny and warm back home. This means I missed some stops. But I look at travel like this: Leave something to come back for. If the potato museum is still there the next time I visit, it was meant to be.
As I drove the 10 hours home, I thought about why I do this and how to express this to you. I do this because it’s beautiful in the Maritimes, and it’s cheaper than a flight to Ireland (which is similar in beauty, rain, and humor). I do this because the people are kind and honest. I do this to prove to myself that I can–I can go with the flow, be among strangers, and follow whatever course feels right. I do this to remind myself that all of my decisions need to be right for me. Life is too short to live a sub par existence set to someone else’s expectations.
My last day on the island was a mix of weather and as much road tripping as I could stand. I didn’t want to go indoors anywhere. I just kept driving and taking pictures. Sometimes getting out to take a walk if the sun popped out.
I drove by a pack of horses that started to gallop alongside the car. I watched them, their muscles and their manes. They were beautiful. And I felt pure joy, smiling for miles afterward.
I saw lighthouses and enjoyed the undulating hillsides of quilt-like farmland. I took in red cliffs and watched children squeal while swimming in the Northumberland Strait.
Against my better judgment, I took one more heritage road. And it was super steep. And I had another uh-oh moment like I might not make it. But I did.
This is my Canada. Remote and unpretentious. Beautiful and rugged. This is where I come to turn another year older and consider all that has passed and what is to come. This stills me.
And makes me laugh.
I was happy with my decision to head home early; it wasn’t a defeat. Because how lucky am I to be alive and healthy and able to do this? How lucky am I to stand in the middle of a canola field in full blossom, only to have a car stop and a woman chat with me about how quickly the blossoms fade and how she wished she’d had her camera as well.
And how lucky am I to have so many good people in my life? People who care about me and read my words and share this experience with me. I guess it’s primarily my facebook crowd. You grew up with me or worked with me or met me along the way. And I’m stronger and more amazing for it. Thank you for coming with me. It’s good to be home.