At the dawn of the new year, I am reflecting on the journey I am about to embark on.
On January 3rd, I am departing from Calgary, with my final destination being Tunisia.
The northernmost country in Africa, Tunisia not only sits on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, but also touches the sands of the Sahara Desert. My stepsister Anika lives there with her husband Nolan, with an open invitation to visit for as long as I like. So I’m going until the end of February. At least. I don’t really have an itinerary, and I don’t have a fixed return date (or a plane ticket).
I have never gone traveling abroad. Before attending UBC, my friend Michelle and I had entertained the idea of going to Europe, but it sadly never came to fruition. During school, I had thought that I might go abroad, but then I was accepted into the Film Production program. And after graduation, I was concerned about landing a job in Vancouver.
In the past 3 years, however, I have had some amazing opportunities to see this continent. In 2008, I toured across Canada with the Painted Birds. 5 weeks in a van with 4 musicians, to Montreal and back. Each kilometer east of Saskatchewan was new territory for me. It was a wonderful way to see our great country, and really appreciate its vastness (especially when you make the Ottawa – Winnipeg run in 24 hours, across the forested tundra of Ontario, in the middle of the night).
In 2009, my brother Darren was married near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. That was the first time I stepped onto foreign soil that wasnt the United States. It was also the first time I jumped into the Pacific Ocean when the water was warm. I don’t know the temperature of the water in Vancouver during the summer, but it’s not even close.
And early in 2010, I was fortunate enough to film an expedition into Canada’s north, where members of the Vancouver Olympic Committee, Nike, and the Canadian Forces teamed up to deliver boxes of new sports equipment to 15 communities. I saw the frozen shores of the Arctic Ocean, walked upon the icy surface of Hudson Bay, and was mesmerized by the shimmer of the Northern Lights.
I am extremely lucky to say that I have been south of the Tropic of Cancer (to 20˚ N), and north of the Arctic Circle (to 69˚N). Such astonishing differences for one continent.
My first extended stop will be in London, England, where I will be staying with my UBC Film classmate Alex. I am extremely excited to visit him, and take in some of experiences of one of the world’s great cities. From there, I will be planning my route south through Europe, intending to cross the Mediterranean via ferry from Italy, and landing in Tunis, the capital of Tunisia.
I will be sharing my adventure through this blog. It is my hope that this experience will help give me new direction in my life, personally and professionally. As I approach the age of 30, I have felt that I am missing something, or a sense of emptiness within has begun alerting my conscious self about it’s presence. At the dawn of 2011, my desire to occupy that space begins.
I am calling this journey “TR’11P.”