After being home for some time now and having a chance to crunch some numbers from the trip receipts, I found that Vince and I:
- drove 2,589 kilometers in Alberta within a 2-week span
- stayed in 7 different hotels
- caught 3 flights
- walked countless steps
- ate 54 meals
- took over 1700 photos
… not bad, all told.
This truly was a great trip for us; except for getting lost a couple of times while driving (thanks for the confusing directions, Google Maps), every day was filled with interesting, fulfilling and relaxing activities. We had no major travel catastrophes and emerged from the trip unscathed. We talked to so many kind, friendly and down-to-earth people in our travels through Alberta, and we were greeted and treated with absolute respect and acceptance everywhere we went.
It was such a big thrill for me to show Vince the beauty of the west. For years I’ve dreamed of making this trip together and showing him Alberta, the province of my birth and of my family. Although this was a whirlwind trip (or “primer” as I like to call it), it gave Vince a sense of what the province holds. Unfortunately our time was brief with some locations or activities, but those are the things and places we’ll come back to at a future date – the mountains, of course, being high on that list.
Alberta has such diversity in its landscape. We saw so many aspects of that in our two-week tour through central and southern Alberta – from the flat wheat fields, to the rolling foothills, to the Badlands around Drumheller, to big, cosmopolitan cities, and the mountains.
What a change it was to vacation in our own country! When we travel, Vince and I usually go to some part of Europe or the U.K. It was so nice this trip to not have to worry about things like passports, currency exchange, customs entry, getting a local SIM card for our cell phones, power plug adapters and struggling with a foreign language. Staying in one’s own country there is comfort in the familiar: you know which stores to go to if you’re in urgent need of something – from coast to coast there’s always a Shopper’s Drug Mart or a Tim Hortons, for example.
We have such a wonderful country, one of the most beautiful in the world. Yet we as Canadians tend to not explore our own land, frequently choosing to travel to Europe, the U.K., the U.S., or sunshine destinations in the south. Why? I’ve posed this question to a number of people and the usual answer is that it’s just too expensive for Canadians to explore our own country. Sadly, it is much cheaper to fly to, say, the U.K. than it is to fly between many Canadian cities. This is truly a pity.
I am so proud to live in Canada and be Canadian. I know I’ve said this in my other travel blogs, but I can’t help repeating it here. No matter where in the world I travel, be it solo or with Vince, it is so comforting to come back to Canada; we have so very, very much to be proud of in our great nation.
Although I’ve lived in Toronto going on 40 years now, a big part of my life and spirit remains tied to the prairies. My body and mind is here in Toronto, but my heart and soul will always be in the west, for it is truly a magnificent part of our wonderful country.