Title photo by Asad Chishti.
There is a community of people that I didn’t even know existed in Canada, and they really only come out in the spring, summer, and fall: the cross country cyclers, hitch hikers, walkers, and I even heard a story of a unicycler one year. I call this group of people the Trans-Canada Highway community. They line the highway during the day, and with each peddle, footstep, or ride they jump into, they get closer to their goal.
Not that this needs needs to be said, but the undertaking of a cross-country journey, especially when doing it solo, results in a common experience that others and myself have witnessed: the highs and lows as time passes throughout the day. Sometimes it feels like an emotional rollercoaster, as if you are experiencing all the emotions you would normally experience once a week in your normal life, but now experience it once or twice a day. Eventually, a low will hit you, triggered by the ususal suspects: head winds, discourteous vehicles, insects, rain, boredom, homesick, monotony, and everything else that one experiences when on the road or trail each day. For the most part — thankfully, you are riding or walking on a high, or just existing in the great space you travel across.
The best moments out here is when you interact with people on a similar journey. Regardless of the journey they are undertaking, they are a welcoming bunch, and when you have the opportunity to either pass them on the road, or meet them at a common camp location, the conversations are never lacking content as we circle a fire, or gather around the luxury of a picnic table. One palpable feeling is the comradary that is always present when a great story is being told as food and drink is being shared amongst us.
The conversations are varied, but if work is mentioned, it is about quitting or taking a break, then how great the journey has been thus far. The conversations out here are different, and never circle around to the trivial and punitive nature of work complaints we are all guilty of discussing among friends and family, which I regretfully participated in too often. I am begining to think that complaints about work is rooted in a lack of purpose, meaning, and fufillment. We are all over worked, under paid, under valued, etc. I cannot count the numbers of people that hate the work they do, or the neutral life they fell into.
Out here on the road there is purpose, meaning, and great fulfillment when you look back on where you began and the obstacles you have overcome to get to this point. In all, we are all doing something meaningful out here, and our spirits are sky high for the most part, since we are either pursuing a dream, or raising awareness for something we are passionate about.
Eventhough the vast majority of participants out here are out here for adventure, self-fulfilment, or to raise awareness, the odd handout (money, food, materials, or good words) and help bestowed upon us by onlookers helps us move forward on those days when going forward seems difficult. Whenever these encounters of kindness occur, which occur at such random times and places, they give you such a lasting feeling that makes you realize how great it is out here. The kindness I have witnessed, and that others along my path have discussed with me is unbelievable. I already have a dozen or so stories, and they seem to occur more frequently now; however, everytime still feels like the first time!
I have been asking myself the question of why everyone is so kind and giving, and I have yet to focus in on the reason; however, I have flushed some ideas out, and will list them lazily below:
– People think what I am doing is interesting, and want to do something to help me achieve my goal.
– Since I am living very small and have such a small amount of resources with me I am more open to kindness from strangers?
– I have changed? My mind is now relatively free from the daily stress of waking up early to ‘get ahead’; deadlines; money — for the most part; agenda’s; goals; dealing with unhappy people and the problems they bring to work.
– I’m in a better spot in life to be open to ask for help, and receive it.
I’m still scratching my head as to why, and would like to get some insight from the readers of my page. All comments appreciated.