Thirsty for a first of something?
Us too! That’s why we can only ask ourselves the question of “Why not?” rather then the excuse of “Not now.” Our writings will warmly and chillingly introduce many moments of our life that have unfolded and that are yet to unfold as we continue our thirst for life while taking a year off travelling around the world. This “gap year,” as some may call it, is our way of taking the plunge to stop the norm of our routine life and societal expectations and explore our authentic selves, the world around us and why we stopped being curious like children.
So the trigger was pulled to purchase our flight away from the oil patch in Alberta and on our way to new lands to explore with the following foundational questions in mind:
1. Can we, as a couple, survive and flourish through a year of traveling together? Do we have what it takes to make a lasting partnership?
2. What kind of life do we want to live after this trip and what will it take to make that happen? Can we find somewhere we truly love and want to move to live?
3. At the most basic level, when all our luxuries and comforts are taken away, what makes us genuinely happy individually and together?
As we progress through these questions we are coming across lots of growing pains, comedy, excitement, confusion and when all else doesn’t make sense, BOOM!, it all makes sense. This will be our honest attempt to share with you our little life experiment, the golden nuggets we’ve learned and what’s happening in our minds.
So we embarked on our journey to The Golden City, San Francisco, a diverse, funky and fun place to wander. Getting off the plane from lows of -40 degC back home to a nice, mild feel in SF was a refreshing way to start our trip. We had five days to explore, a healthy limit of $100 CAD a day, a map of SF and unlimited possibilities of what we could do with our time.
We had heard so much about the districts of SF: Haight, Mission, Castro, and The Golden Gate Park, so we had a clue as to where the heck we were going and started moving our feet to see these areas. We found our little feet to be a very cheap method of travel to explore these districts but in a world that has become so big we needed to cover more ground in the few days we had to take all of SF in. A bicycle became our answer and finding the next market we can grab an abundance of free sample foods from was our mission. Fueling up on local market foods, navigating using a map and really just being a kid again was a great feeling. It’s been a while since we’ve just wandered with no agenda and allowed ourselves the freedom to just let life happen. We have to say that afternoon power naps are fantastic, especially on the beach. It’s something about the soothing sounds of the ocean waves crashing and the sun kissing your face that gives you nourishment. Life is good!
The best surprises we found were the ones you think you have figured out but in the end you are so wrong. We had reached the cities end on our bicycles and to get back to our hostel we were uncomfortable biking in the late darkness, so we opted to take the city bus. It was super crowded but people watching made it worth it. The people varied from an independent and confident amputee, to an openly racist homeless man, to local families and tourists. So many different worlds and levels of disparity were going on all around us in the confinement of one bus. Our eyes were continuously drawn to this guy who seemed to be a little too friendly for comfort. We ended up chatting together as the bus emptied and came to find out that this guy had a head injury when he was younger. He had a heart of gold and for us to think this guy was being “too friendly” … well it’s a little lightbulb that went off to know that people are all different and we have to see things for what they are instead of making labels and passing judgement so quickly. What does too friendly even mean? Don’t we wish there were more people who were friendlier, smiling and spurring pleasantries while passing down the street?
We’ve realized that little life lessons will pop up along the way, in the places you least expect it. One of the most physically demanding days was on our pursuit to the top of Mount Tam and the Bonita Lighthouse Point on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge. Biking continuously uphill for an extended period, while vehicles effortlessly zipped passed us, made sitting down at the top enjoying a makeshift mustard and baguette meal with a large water, well worth the trip. If I knew a sandwich could taste that good after every time we worked that hard, we’d be inclined to do it more often. We can guarantee that the people in vehicles at the viewpoint, who drove up to snap a picture of the bridge and then move on to the next sight to see, did not enjoy the present moment as much as we did. Some moments in life are enjoyed more purely when you have to work for them because it’s not the destination, it’s the journey.