It is a rare occasion that I spend more than seventy-two hours in one location. Always a guest. Always a stranger. Introductions are too rushed and goodbyes come too soon.
It is, above all, a life of transience.
On the one hand I am blessed to meet so many generous and altruistic people in such short periods of time. Every day holds the energy of adventure and the promise of never before seen places and thrilling new experiences. On the other I am never present long enough to truly know the people or the places. A conversation over dinner or breakfast. Perhaps a beer. If you’re lucky you might talk about something that matters for a few minutes. Take a few photos and then it’s time to move on. It’s the best that you can expect on the road.
A certain class of adventurers often profess the virtues of slow travel. How rushing across the earth robs you of the ability to know any one place or it’s history. How we lose something precious in our relentless push to a self imposed finish line. There is a gigantic difference between traveling through a place and actually visiting it.
I had made my way to the base of the Canadian Rockies when the chance to house sit for ten days presented itself. I decided to seize the opportunity, take care of some bicycle repairs requiring international shipping, and put down temporarily deeper roots. I would end up being in Revelstoke, BC for three weeks when it was all said and done.
In many ways it has been a huge pleasure to spend this much time in one location. To wander it’s streets and witness the ebb and flow of life over days and weeks. I was able to actually meet the residents. I discovered which cafe was favored by the locals and which coffee shop had the most exquisite latte (aparticular weakness of mine). I got to form something more than a superficial friendship with my hosts, harvest meals from their garden, engage in some deep conversations, and care for their animals. I was even witness to a few other cycle tourists passing through their home and recognized something of myself in them as they hurried on to their next waypoint. I took long walks, swam in the Columbia River, learned my way around town, and became fond of simply sitting in a park at the base of the mountain, taking in it’s grandeur on a sunny day.
If nothing else this brief detour taught me some of the value of slowing down. That travel is not a race and that some experiences require time and patience before revealing themselves to the eyes of the adventurer. While I am pleased to be on the move again, I’ve now had the rare chance to leave a place feeling like I truly know it.
For that I am thankful. Travel, it would seem, has lessons yet to teach.
- Bob & Joan Cowden @ Kamloops, BC, CA
- Dave & Maisie Beattie @ Salmon Arm, BC, CA
- Rory Luxmoore & Sarah Newton @ Revelstoke, BC, CA