There’s something I’ve been wanting to do ever since I moved to Alberta in 1995. I’ve flown back and forth to Montreal countless of times but never drove to my native city. When I first moved to Alberta, my friend and I took the train to Winnipeg where we were given a ride to Banff by another friend of mine. But that doesn’t count because we didn’t get to stop along the way and see much of Canada.
Next Friday I’m packing my two kids, who are seven and 10, a tent, sleeping bags into my Kia Rondo and giving myself seven days to arrive in la belle province. We’re going to stop along the way to see old friends of mine and on the return trip, my dad is helping with the driving and it will be his chance to see the country.
I’m amazed how many people have told me that I’m nuts to do this with my kids. It’s like people have forgotten that road trips used to be the qunitessential family vacation. I grew up spending summers with my sister and parents driving to Maryland, Cape Cod and Prince Edward Island. I fondly remember how my sister and I shared the back seat, stretching out our legs parallel to each other so we could nap. How my mom would always buy us red licorice as a treat and pack the cooler full of deli sandwiches and chips. I learned to love 50s and 60s music on these trips because that’s the only music my mom would play. If I heard a Dionne Warwick song right now, it would bring me back to sitting in the back seat of my parents’ car.
I want these kinds of memories for my kids. You don’t get that from hopping on a plane and arriving at your destination four hours later. I know I’m going to have to put up with a lot of bickering and hearing, “Are we there yet?” On the flip side, my kids are going to learn Canada’s geography first hand. They will learn new road trip games and meet new people along the way.
I’ll be writing blog posts, tweeting and photographing our journey. I’m not sure how the Internet connection will be and if and when I will get a chance to write. If you are on Twitter, follow #canadaquest as my hashtag, inspired by Edmonton Journal’s Paula Simons encouragement of Edmontonians to explore their city with #yegquest.
Let our journey begin!