Life is supposedly about the journey, not the destination.
Or at least that’s what travel clichés will tell you.
But at 24, who else am I going to listen to?
This week I embarked on a two-month adventure across Europe, made possible by my incredibly accommodating editor and publisher (thank-you, you’ll get postcards I promise!).
The first step was getting off Vancouver Island, which is a melodramatic departure in itself — standing on the top deck grasping the familiar railing I felt myself getting swept away with the wind blowing through my hair watching as the Island got smaller and smaller until finally it was out of sight, out of mind. I said goodbye to my boyfriend the day after our one year anniversary and set sail for the summer with tears of separation anxiety and excitement of the unknown welling in my eyes.
After 22-hours of travel, including every mode of transportation and a few time zones, I arrived in Dublin. Sleep deprived, hungry and confused about what time and day it was I couldn’t help but wonder what I was even doing in the Irish capitol.
My longtime friend, Grace, who I hadn’t seen in nearly three years picked me up at the airport and through our initial conversation catching up on the past I remembered why I came — because, simply, why not?
I moved to Parksville Qualicum Beach almost two years ago with the intention of gathering work experience, buffing up my barren resume and putting years of university to use before moving onto greener pastures.
At the time, the community didn’t seem to have much to offer a 20-something girl fresh out of school with ambitions to change the world through the written word. For the most part, I felt like a fragment of an alien generation that got lost in translation and wound up where I was supposed to be at the end of my life, instead of the beginning.
But the most important lessons come when you least expect it.
I’ve met some exceptionally kind people in the last few years. I’ve had the opportunity to interview and write stories about issues I’m passionate about. And, I’ve thought about the prospect of aging — and taking advantage of health and mobility — more seriously than ever.
People often call Parksville Qualicum Beach “God’s waiting room.”
It’s a joke and tourists who have heard the phrase less than ten times usually laugh, but it always leaves me feeling a little nervous; like time is fleeting and there’s nothing we can do to stall it anymore. We’re all in the queue, waiting.
So I guess in a way this trip is all about the journey because in 20 years I’ll be more disappointed about the things I didn’t do than the things I did.
And if nothing else, I’m sure I’ll learn enough from travel clichés alone this summer.
— Candace Wu is on leave from her position as a reporter with The NEWS. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.