A Travellerspoint blog

Thinking

and travelling

sunny 18 °C

When you have broken out of the routine of daily life, no longer commuting into work, nor leaping from one weekend to the next, you find that your mind starts to wander and you think a lot.

To start with, it's not difficult to strike up conversations with those around you, because the excitement of travel gives you an immediate and easy topic to discuss. But you find that quite quickly the conversation sets its own pattern. You talk about the weather, where you have been, where you are going, where you come from and the exciting things you have done and seen. Beyond that, most people you meet tend to drift off into their own world and you move on to the next person.

As a result, you tend to find you become a little bit insular, in that your mind starts to self analyse your own unusual world and the things that drive you along from moment to moment. Basic needs are at the top of the priority in the mind. Namely, where and when will I next eat and sleep (and poo I guess! they never talk about poo in the management motivational theory books do they?). After that, what will be the next interesting thing I can do and place to go to, where is my next beer coming from etc?

Once those needs have been met, there is still plenty of time to ponder the wider issues, and the mind starts to analyse your own immediate world in particular the relationships with your family and friends. Self esteem is a very important factor, and you find yourself seeking acceptance from others in what you are doing, trying to win praise and buy in for your situation.

You end up doing a lot of people watching too. Wondering what it is that drives people to live in certain places, what it is they do, and what kind of lives they lead. Why do they go to work in some places, what motivates them to keep going in harsh environments.

The reason why I have carried on the odyssey that Lois and I started last year, was to help me clear my mind of the stresses that the last year brought, and to distance myself from the sad events of Lois's illness. Travelling with Lois was fantastic, she was an inspiration to us all, but it took a huge effort from me and the task for me was both mentally and physically exhausting. SO now I need to spend the next few months recuperating and getting my life back on track.

One thing I have already figured out in the relatively short time since Lois passed away is that I am not a loner. As hard as some people may find it to understand, I am already trying to develop a social network of people that may end up with friendships that go somewhere. I don't mind my own company, but I also seem to get on well with everyone I meet, and I feel much happier when there is someone else there to experience the good times with.

Recently quite a few people have said "you're a lovely man, you should get on and be with someone else". I suppose I have not made things easy for myself by continuing my travels, because I am never in one place long enough to actually strike up a relationship, always moving on every few days. So I intend to alter my travel plans when I return from Canada and do less of the longer trips, and focus on short term hops, motorbike tours here and there during the week, the odd sailing trip (still looking for crew) but socialising closer to home when "normal" 9 to 5 people are around at weekends.

I'm not sure at this point whether I am in the market for a long term relationship, or just going with the flow with whoever I meet. It's difficult to say, so I will just see how it goes for now. I know right now, after the year I have had, I want to relax, have some fun, do some exciting things and generally be good to other people around me. It's a very selfish thing, but by being good to others, it immediately reflects back on me and I will feel better for it. And whoever that next person is, I have soooo many things to talk about, share experiences with and have fun with. Life is too short not to make the most of every day.

Some day, a fairy might come along, sprinkle some magic dust my way and brighten up my future. I am sure there is one out there, it's just a case of reaching out for it.

Posted by ackers888 22:22 Archived in Canada Tagged round_the_world Comments (2)

Drumheller to Edmonton

revenge is sweet

semi-overcast 18 °C

Today a short drive , only 4 hours, from Drumheller to Edmonton, it went by in a flash, I put my head down to read my book and before I knew it we were there.

On the way I started noticing that there is quite a diverse set of animals out there on the prairies. Today I saw, Llamas, Bison, Cows, Goats, a donkey, horses, eagles and numerous other bird. Strangely no pigs or sheep though. The weather today was quite dramatic..storms rolling across the skyline:
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Oh I nearly forgot to show you this, and it explains the Albertan mentality I think...

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It was on the back of a truck parked outside the motel last night.

We finally reached Edmonton, which pops up out of the horizon quite quickly:

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and are resting at Tom and Wendy's house for a couple of days, taking in the city and playing golf.

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The weather for golf tomorrow is supposed to be perfect, sunny and 19 degrees. But by Tuesday they are forecasting 15 to 20 cms of snow, just as we arrive in the mountains..we have no snow chains. Maybe a tactical error. I'll be OK though because I've brought my mountain gear that I normally wear skiing. I just feel sorry for the others who may succumb to hypothermia..oh well.

The highlight of today was being told that I had spelled prairy wrong all this way, and in fact it's spelt prairie. I also forced my ipod to be connected to the car stereo and introduced the others to the delights of, Muse, Metallica, REM, Erasure, Goldfrapp to name a few non country and Western artists. There was much hand tapping and head nodding to be had, not a razor blade in sight :o)

Posted by ackers888 17:07 Archived in Canada Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Drumheller

and the dinosaurs

overcast 16 °C

Today we had a rest day in Drumheller. Where the hell is that I can hear you all say. Well, it's officially in the middle of nowhere. All directions from here are across flat prairies for about a week. It is a quaint place, and the Greek restaurant in town is a great place to eat and chat with the locals.

What is there to do here..we did it all, we went to the Tyrell Dinosaur museum
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and then took a walk on the wild side at horse thief canyon, the Canadian equivalent of the Grand Canyon.
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After that, we went go karting, even my mother and father drove a kart each.
look at the cheesy grin and flying hair..she drives so fast and reckless!
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Suffice to say I won the day with my skilled driving.

then we headed out to the "Hoodoo's" where the wind blows so strong it carves the rocks into pinnacles.
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Finally, Mum and Dad got eaten by a T-Rex
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whilst Des and I looked on non-plussed, thinking of how to divide the inheritence and how we were going to explain to our sister Jan back in the UK how we managed to lose both of them in one horribly bloody gory incident..On the plus side, it will mean we don't have to play any more twangy Country and Western music in the car from here on in.
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Posted by ackers888 18:12 Archived in Canada Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Prairy Driving and..

Country & Western Music

all seasons in one day 0 °C

don't combine Prairy driving and Country & Western music..not if you want to retain your sense of well being and reality. Today we left Regina in the pouring snow..0 degrees and blustery wind..yes it's May in Canada
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To say the roads out in Manitoba, Seskatchewan and Alberta are boring is an understatement. ( 9 hours we drove today, and the scenery didn't change). I felt like I was in one of those Japanese TV endurance game shows and failed miserably.

Not only are the roads soooo straight, but they disappear over the horizon into the vanishing point. Nor does it get any better if you look out of the side windows..there is flat prairy land, and nothing else in all directions. You can see the curve of the earth everywhere here and have the knowledge that if you bowled a ball any direction away from you it wouldn't stop until next Tuesday. Yesterday is just behind you, and you can see next week coming out of the front window
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and a few hours later
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I nearly lost the will to live at one point when those in control switched the music from "uplifting" Jethro Tull to "good 'ol country and western". I hate C&W nearly as much as I hate RAP. Luckily I had the antidote in my own ipod and good book to read.
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We did have a couple of incidents to report back on, namely 4 x trucks left the road (maybe one Dolly Parton track too many made them give up completely)
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and a few hours later..a train ! sorry, in the excitement I prematurely hit the camera button and missed it.

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It's a known fact that if you play a country and western record backwards, the cowboy gets his car back, his woman back, his dog back and his truck back.

In the meantime, I survived, just. And here are a couple more images for you to ponder: 9 hours we were on the road for, Des says it is worth it for what is to come (the Rockies) I hope he is right.
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On the way back I have decided to get merrily pissed in the back of the SUV to pass the time away. Apparently Canadian law prohibits alcohol to be consumed inside of vehicles, so I figure if I hold the beer bottles outside of the window, and stick my head outside to take a swig every now and again I may get away with it because that will not constitute being inside the van with alcohol. The only thing is, between swigs, I'll have to leave my arm outside the window with the bottle and would be in danger of the Albertan drive by beer snatchers, but I'm willing to risk it.

Posted by ackers888 22:04 Archived in Canada Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Rest day in Regina, Seskatchewan

before we tackle the flat plains to Drumheller

sunny 18 °C

Today we had a rest day in Regina, and another family meal at Andy and Bonnies house (thank you Andy and Bonnie!).

Yesterdays journey was a bit of a slog aross the flat plains of Manitoba and Seskatchewan. If you look really hard at the image below you can see tomorrow (or is it yesterday), I don't know, I lost the will to live at one point and started thinking of "I spy" games in my head and could only think of something beginning with "N" in the end I gave up with myself and told me it was "nothing":

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Laurie (Des's partner and my second cousin) and I went to the gym so that we could burn some calories whilst my Mum and Dad went to visit Kaye, a relative from the Ackerman side so they could catch up on who had what ailment and who wasn't here any more and then try to remember what each other was called again. Dad changed his hearing aid batteries this morning so I realised this must be a special event :o)

We sat in the garden for a while and took in the sunshine with Molly:

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In the evening, Lauries sister Marje and her children Ellen, Max and Joel popped round to say Hi. Ellen was vey cute and decided to entertain us by hanging upside down and telling us about her new French teacher called Silly Moose:

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Actually I think her name was Celia Mose but our version seemed much better.

My brother beat me resoundingly at pool, but I blame Max and Joel who kept plying me with beers from the fridge.

Tomorrow the forecast is for snow (unbelievable it is mid May isn't it?)...and we have another 6 or is it 8 hours across more flat plains to Drumheller..what a big place this country is.

Posted by ackers888 19:56 Archived in Canada Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

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