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Sunday, 30 June 2013

Life After Travel

One friend and coworker keeps asking me the same question everytime he sees me.

"How's your soul?" 

He knows a lost soul when he sees one. He also understands the slow and slightly painful recovery process of reintegrating back into society after a soul discovering journey.
Back in Canada but still on the road
It has been almost 40 days since I made my much heralded return to Canada. But, in keeping with my blog title, it has been anything but normal since I came back. I feel like I have retained my magnetism for adventure, unable to escape it, simultaneously addicted by its pull.

Here's, in chronological order, why I have still felt like a traveller in my home country: I landed in Montreal, stayed one night with a friend who I met in Barcelona, took a bus to Toronto, spent a week with family, catching up with friends where I certainly felt my newfound contrasts to society and traditions, drove five days to Saskatchewan with a 70 year old hippie artist lady and 2 dogs, a time filled with interesting stories, stimulating but sometimes irritating conversations, and yet more irritating demands, and seeing beautiful Ontarian nature and the great flat prairies and car sleeping along the way, afterwards picked up a hitchhiker and dropped her off in Calgary, worked 2 days of training for my upcoming new job, drove to Vancouver with 2 guys from Kijiji and picked up another hitchhiker, a professional hobo, saw once again my captivating Rocky Mountains unfold before my eyes, spent 3 days with my best friend in his oceanview apartment on the English Bay, then drove back to Calgary with a Canadian rapper/producer who spent 12 years in Japan and his newly married Thai wife in a car so packed I could barely shift gears with my right hand.
The Rocky Mountains - soothing for the soul, massaging for the mind
Okay. Let's take a short break and catch our breaths. So at this point I had ventured across much of the great landscape of Canada, meeting strangers along the way and swapping stories, experiencing shocking revelations from my interactions with family, friends and peripheral meetings. Here is where I hoped adventure would end, and a return to the predictable 9 to 5 would begin. Not quite.

Upon my return to Calgary I stayed with a friend while getting back to work and reacquainting myself with friends, and dropping check marks on my massive to do list on the way to achieving full resettlement. Some big check marks included finding a new tenant for my condo, finding a roommate and a new place to rent, all which provided several headaches. After awhile I moved in with a friend who also owns in my building, Union Square, but in a few days the massive flood hit and I was evacuated, returning to my first friend's place. I worked several emergency midnight shifts throughout the week, then did some odd jobs with the City including volunteer work. During the city's flood recovery, I also managed to move into two more friend's places. Meanwhile my condo, which I have decided to move back into, and my place of work, City Hall, have both sustained heavy damage from the flood and I am not allowed back into either yet.
The flood - the Saddledome, where the Flames play, turned into a big soup bowl
In 40 days back in Canada I have still not yet stayed more than 10 days in one place, living out of a couple of duffle bags and my worldy possessions are spread out in 3 different places. I've remained nomadic in my home country, but how can I complain? I'm still living like a traveller. I've experienced the best and the worst that nature has thrown at me, and I'm surviving. Although it's hard living out of a backpack while holding a job, I guess I am not quite ready to be normal yet anyway. If anything, it has been a nice, slow transition out of my traveller's skin.

I've learned a few more things about myself along the way. I love my mountains! And Calgary (sorry Toronto, you will never have enough nature to compete with the wonderful West). But I will never ever fully shed my traveller's skin. And one day it will grow back so thick until I become the same unrecognizable Andrew, ready to get out into the world again.

Lost the last part of my traveller identity a few days ago - my hair  *tear*
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