Memory Lane

Tomorrow I embark on the longest trip of my life so far: driving from the west coast of Canada to the east coast and back.  I have traveled a lot in my life, but never this much at once, and I’ve been unusually non-nomadic the last ten years.

I’ve been talking about doing this for a few years.  Actually, going back and looking at my painfully ’90s pre-blogosphere website, I first mentioned the idea of this trip in 2001.  At the time my friend Phloem described the idea as “Travels with Samantha Lite”.  (TwS is a good read, BTW. Go!)

So ten years I’ve been planning this.  Wow, time flies.   But while the specific route I intend to follow has meandered a bit since 2001, the goals have not changed at all.  I waited this long because now I’m eligible for my employer’s sabbatical program – I get an extra seven weeks of paid vacation this year, and that really helps; this is going to be an expensive trip.

The timing kind of works out well in other ways too – for one thing, Labrador just completed their first through road last year, which opens up the possibility of driving through that pseudo-province.  For another, I turn 40 next year, so this can count as my mid-expected-lifespan semi-crisis extravaganza.  I didn’t actually think of the trip in that context until just recently, but the intended theme does fit:

The main point of the trip is to revisit all the places I remember from my youth.  I want to rephotograph old photos, photograph places I remember but don’t currently have photos of, and generally just refresh all those old memories and steep in nostalgia for a while.

As I wrote when I first described the idea: “I don’t want to become like a goldfish, only able to remember being as I currently am.  Change is core to my life.  Forgetting who I used to be is a kind of stagnation.”  My memories are most strongly keyed by places; my hope is that revisiting old places will remind me of parts of myself that are, at present, buried.

Thinking of it from the midlife context, it will also serve to nicely summarize and cap off my life so far.  I’ve been thinking I want to change my direction, so this should help get some closure on my larval stage.

A secondary purpose of the trip is to do some tourism stuff – visit places along the way that I haven’t visited before.  That takes a definite back seat to the primary purpose though.

I will also be attempting to film a time lapse movie of the coast-to-coast drive in both directions.  I did one for the trip between Vancouver and Calgary a few years ago, and learned a bunch from it.  This one will be better, provided the equipment can take the punishment (digital camera shutters are not rated for the number of operations that will occur on this trip).


I’m very excited about this trip, and also a bit scared.  I’ve actually been having intense dreams and not a few nightmares about it for weeks now.  There is so much that could go wrong.  I could have an accident or a breakdown.  Some kind of financial setback.  I could get too sick to drive, or even just too sick to enjoy the trip.  By far the most likely problem is that I could simply get too exhausted to go on; I have sleep trouble even at home and especially tend not to sleep well in hotels.

But I’m not going to let any of that stop me.  I’ve got too much invested now, and I’d intensely regret backing down.  I’ve taken all possible precautions and my past travel history is spotless, so I tell myself my fears are unreasonable and press on.


Bloggination will be perpetrated here as time and net connectivity permit.  I do not expect to be booking any face or plussing any googles while on this trip.

Comments are closed.