The task was simple: move from Ottawa to Vancouver in five days. With those instructions, it would have been easy to think of it as nothing more than A to B, and a 5500 km straight shot across the continent. And why not? A new job, a new city, and a new life were waiting out west. It could have been little more than one long ride.
Five days of the driver seat and the fast lane. An endless number of billboards, truck stops, and little white lines, blurred together by the vision of a single destination. But it also could have been a lifetime worth of opportunity, slipping through our fingers with each kilometer traveled. A world of adventure, passing by as fast as the road we traveled over.
See, if there’s one thing I’ve come to believe, it’s that the greatest experiences are not exclusive to the grandest plans. The moments we so deeply long to live are in no way reserved for only the most exotic trips. They are held for those who search for them, who step out of the everyday routine, and who take them. It was this simple belief that made those five days so much more than a long drive. It transformed them into an opportunity to explore, adventure, and connect with a world we then knew nothing about. It turned a car ride into a road trip, and turned the kilometers into opportunities to seek the unknown. The journey became a destination in and of itself.
Because of that simple shift, I don’t have to tell you what I think it could have been. I can show you.
It was taking moments to get back to the things that matter most:
and chance after chance to embrace the unknown.
It was taking time to make new friends:
and learning lessons in history, without stepping into a classroom.
It was places that looked like different planets,
peace signs and paper maps,
falling asleep in the passenger seat,
and waking up on the side of a mountain.
It was choosing to take the long route
knowing full well it would likely lead us astray.
It was landscapes that left us looking at this world differently
and moments we still can’t find the words to describe.
It was a reminder that some of the best things are not on the well-travelled path
and that sometimes you have to go where there is no path at all.
It was side-of-the-road coffee stops
And coffee just about anywhere we could get our hands on it.
It was snowstorms in the evening
And deserts by day break.
It was a reminder that the “little moments” really aren’t so little.
And that we should spend just a little more time kicking back and taking it in.
It was spontaneity
and it was therapy.
And life-long memories.
It was Ottawa, Toronto, Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison, Minnesota, Badlands, Rushmore, Black Hills, Big Horn, Yellowstone, Butte, Columbia, Seattle, home and everything in between.
We saw things we didn’t know existed and learned things we didn’t know were there to learn. Felt emotions we didn’t know we could feel and created memories that will change the way we live our lives.
It was anything but A to B.