The Canadian Experience

View from a canoe

A view from our canoe on lake Ontario with No Car, our friend from the PCT

The road trip is underway and our first stop was to visit the No-Car family in Toronto, Canada. No-Car was a hiking companion of ours for nearly 800 miles of the PCT in 2007. We spent Friday and Saturday with No-Car, his wife Yes-Car, and their lovely daughter Aaden. We had good food, good conversation, and some genuinely Canadian adventure.

We arrived Friday afternoon after about a six hour drive and an hour border crossing. The lines were long and slow but we didn’t have any issues getting in. We spent the evening catching up on stories, sharing new adventure ideas, and getting to know each other better. We also had plenty of play time with Aaden over the course of the weekend (Julie included). Julie made quite a friend on this trip with 2 year old Aaden.

We didn’t play hockey, but on Saturday, the three of us rented a canoe in the harbor and proceeded to paddle for over two hours straight crossing the inner harbor and going around Toronto Island. We are new to the water and getting out in the open water of Lake Ontario was a cool experience. The waves from boat wakes would jostle us around, get us wet, and give Julie a bit of a scare at times. But No-Car is experienced and steered the ship well keeping us afloat and going in the right direction. With our background in running, we’re not used to using our arms much and after using the arms for over two hours, I am afraid we may be quite sore. Awesome experience though and hopefully only the beginning of our time on the water.

One of the other big things to come out of this visit was a clearer vision of what it is Julie and I are looking for with our next adventure as well as with life in general. We appreciate goals and how they help us accomplish things in life. We certainly aren’t against them. However, there is also something to be said for more of a free-flowing approach to life. There is a quote from Siddhartha to this effect stating that goals can actually keep us from seeing opportunity in life because we can become too focused on our goal and miss out on life. While I see value in short term goals and am not fully against long term goals either, there is something that really resonates with me right now about the idea of seeking excellence in all that I do without a major focus on specific goals. We are not looking to check things off a life list right now. Whether it’s achievable or not, I’m looking for something with deeper meaning and greater impact on my life and others.

With this in mind, we began to talk about lives we are interested in. For example, I’d love to get really into yoga, meditation, sailing, kayaking, cooking, baking, language learning, gardening, and so many others. There are opportunities to taste these lives all around the world and focus my attention on them as I have with work or running in the past. Only with these, we don’t have to go all in and commit massive amounts of time. We can dabble and experiment while it’s only the two of us and see what we are interested in. There are also other ways of doing things that I’d like to see in action if possible. I love the idea of the extended family for example and while not popularly practiced in North America, it is common in many other parts of the world. If we could experience this way of living more first hand, it may help strengthen my views or drastically change them.

So we got a lot out of stop number one on the East Coast road trip. We really enjoyed the company and the city. As visiting often does, this leg of the journey produced constructive and intimate conversation that helped me think differently and see the world in new ways. This is one of the things I value most in life and we’re off to a good start on the new adventure. Thank you No-Car, Yes-Car, and Aaden for the experience.

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