Life Lessons and Big Questions

And so, a mere 410 days after we first drove away from Vancouver, we’ve finished telling our stories from the road.  

Spring Island, British Columbia.

It took us approximately…..ummm…….seven months longer than we’d anticipated to finish writing (hence the talk about Nunavut’s winter while sweating our faces off during a Vancouver heat wave), but you know what?  We’re OK with that.

YU Ranch, Ontario.

We weren’t in any rush to finish, and that’s because FEAST has been so good to us.  From the first conversations we had about it, to actually warming the car’s seats for five months, to now having over 200 posts to look back on, we’ve had an extraordinary time. 

The Yaris, goodness knows where. 

The Yaris, goodness knows where. 

We have loved and appreciated every last experience, both for the ways they’ve educated us, and the memories they’ve provided - they’re the kind that fuel the soul.  There’s genuinely nothing better than busting out a good “One time, when we were standing in the middle of a herd of bison….” story at a dinner party. 

Also, you would not believe the exercise our arms got from car dancing. 

Through writing, we’ve been able to relive every fun, weird, tasty, and/or shocking moment we’ve had, like the time we paddled across two rivers to a farm, had a laugh with Al, hiked to a shipwreck, or put on (what seemed like) 250 pounds of fishing gear

Prime Berth Fishing Centre, Newfoundland.

Prime Berth Fishing Centre, Newfoundland.

It’s also allowed us to keep in touch with so many new friends - the dozens of people who welcomed us warmly, and taught us about life in their part of Canada.

Brian Lendrum, near Whitehorse, Yukon.

The fact we had this looney idea, and then that idea turned into an even more looney reality, is something we still struggle to comprehend.  Perhaps we never will, but there’s no denying it changed our lives.  Now we approach every idea with an attitude of “Yes, this too could work.  And if it doesn’t?  Well then, we’ll just dust ourselves off/scrape off the mud and try something else.”  

On the way to so-called "Bay Street," PEI.

We also surprised everyone (including ourselves, to an extent) by getting along so well; we spent almost 24 hours a day together for five months straight, and you would not believe how much of that time was spent laughing.  There was that one incident, when we tried to put a  stamp-sized tarp over our leaky tent before a rainstorm hit in the Northwest Territories, and things got a little tense, but now it's just a good story. 

For the most part, when one of us had a meltdown (and trust me, there were definitely meltdowns), the other kept it together, and usually had the good sense to cue up Bridesmaids on one of our computers.  We came to understand the importance of patience and perspective, as well as the power of a well-timed chocolate bar purchase. 

Beyond these kind of life lessons we learned from the road trip, there are answers to *THE QUESTION* we originally set out to explore: What is Canadian food?  That question, asked casually one day from our perches on this very log near Squamish…..

Squamish Valley

……is what started the whole thing.  But the truth is, we’ll never have one definitive answer.  Ever.  We believe that in itself, however, is something to celebrate.  Canada is just too darn large, and encompasses too much diversity to be reduced to a uniform culinary identity.  Or any single identity, for that matter. 

Roberta Olsen's house, Haida Gwaii.

We agreed that after having seen parts of every province and territory consecutively, we both think of Canada as a far less unified entity. 

L'Isle-aux-Coudres, Quebec.

We may have stayed within its borders, but at times it felt like we'd visited 13 different countries.  And that's pretty damn cool.   

The Tablelands, Newfoundland.

What we did learn for certain is that the Canadian food scene is enormous and compelling; within days of starting our trip, we’d learned about dishes, ingredients, and methods of preparation we’d never seen before, and this continued the entire way across the country. 

Bannock Stand, Northern British Columbia.

There were regional specialties everywhere, and yet when asked, “What is Canadian food?” the vast majority of people still defaulted to poutine or Nanaimo Bars.  Nobody thinks to offer up their locally classic dishes as part of Canada’s culinary repertoire.  So, in the next post, we’re going to do it for them!

Supper in the Field, Kelwood, Manitoba.

Check in again soon for our list of quintessential Canadian foods, as well as some of our favourite road trip moments.  Oooooh nostalgia, what fun……