Who’s Servicing Your Travels? A Tale from the Other Side

In the summer of 2007, I had reason to believe my life was going to end.

Okay, that’s not entirely true.

But I had just accepted an offer of admissions to complete my graduate degree in wizardry school Masters of Social Work, so really, life as I knew it was essentially over.

In my future, I would wield a briefcase (because apparently all social workers have briefcases). And I would choose to do the right thing over the fun thing (because that’s what social workers do…duh).

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The Time I Took One Big Breath….And Left with Only a Backpack

As I type this, I’m doing something all too familiar and packing up my stuff to leave. (In actuality, as I type this, I am CLEARLY procrastinating from packing up my stuff to leave. The bullshit is in the details, people!)

I’ve kind of perfected the whole packing-to-leave thing (and consequently, the procrastinating from packing-to-leave thing). I’ve got it down because it is something that has become all too common within the last year. 

Not just a place where you stay overnight, or even for a little while. But a place I refer to as “home.” (In the context of: Taxi man, I don’t think I have enough money to get home. Can you drive me there anyways?). A place where I tossed my dirty laundry on the floor and didn’t really feel bad about it. (In the context of: I don’t have to pretend around other people that I’m not a slob but in fact, a proper functioning human being). A place where I could spill oatmeal all over the floor and not feel bad about it taking me a week to clean it up because it was my home (In the context of: well nothing, really…other than the fact that I’m a self-admitted dirtball). A place where you could light stuff on fire and it would be totally cool. Because you know, it’s your home.

 

There you have it kids, the standard list of what I need for a place to be considered my “home.”

Saying good-bye to Vancouver was tough. The city held my heart hostage since the second I moved there and refused to give it up… even after I drove off on the Trans-Canada highway, watching as Grouse Mountain got tinier and tinier in my review window (this was only a short distance until my Dad harped on me to keep my eyes on the road. Talk about a mood killer!)

And then saying good-bye to Toronto was equally as hard. This was a city that placed so many of my roots firmly in the ground, then redeveloped new condos and parking lots over them, in a desperate attempt for me to stay put. This was a city that could steal my bike, make me wait in an exhausting line-up for brunch, over charge me for some mediocre draft beer, and I would still come back everyday….wanting more.

And saying good-bye to Geoje is well, none of the above. It’d be next to impossible to put any of this last year into accurate words (and I’d probably exceed this blog’s word count limit in an attempt to do so). I can’t say that this city has held my heart hostage (mainly because I do not think Koreans are an overly aggressive hostage-taking type of crowd) nor can I say that this city overcharges for mediocre beer (in fact, Korea’s quite upfront about their lackluster beer…and the price tag only proves this).

I can’t even say that I’ll miss  the island’s mascot. Two unidentifiable figures that look like tic tacs, fat people, or what some middle school students speculate to be pieces of bathroom waste.

Wait, I’ll obviously miss these overweight breath mint #2 look-a-likes.

Oh ya, and the people. Obvs.

And although I can admit that leaving Geoje will be easier than any moves prior (Yes, I’m practically running to Incheon airport right now…3 days before my flight leaves), I still feel some sort of something feeling that is making this slightly more difficult than I actually anticipated.

But that’s probably because my emotional hardware wasn’t designed for a level of intensity past the “catatonic” stage.

In the end, I am fully aware that this sprinting to the airport move is by far the easiest only because of what comes after. It’s like telling a little kid “First you clean your room, then you get the ice cream.” Instead, it’s something like “First you move away from Geoje, then you get to travel…and there will probably be moderately priced beer…and some mountains, too!”

So with that, I should probably get back to packing.

I just have to clean up that dirty oatmeal first….

What Happens When you Travel with your Dad

If my dad was my age, I think we’d be buds.

But he’s my dad. So we’re not.

Well, sort of.

Like most, I’m convinced that there’s a point in every twenty-something’s life when they start viewing their parents as human beings. It usually happens the same way, too. At some unknown moment, our parental ideologies shift with the snap of a finger. Switching from unapologetic robots to partial parent-bots to full on human beings. Our parents became people that breath and converse and sometimes even understand one’s own refusal to apply themselves.

(Granted this took a lot of “well I think things are different now” talks but I think they eventually got it.)

Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint those moments. Sometimes we don’t even realize it’s happening until after the fact.

For me, I totally anticipated this shift in paradigms. Dare I say… I even expected it?

The summer prior, I drove across Canada with my dad. And in the process, he became a human being.

And just so were clear, it’s not like we drove across Liechtstein here (one of the smallest country in the world, covering a mere 22 kms). Oh no, we’re talking about the great white north, the 51st state (oh, please), the second largest country in the world.

I’m talking about traveling across the trans-Canada highway (a whopping 8030 kms). From Vancouver, British Columbia to suburbia, Ontario. A small four-door packed with nothing else but camping gear, a bike, a jar of peanut butter, and a dad.

In the end, it was one of the best trips I’ve ever taken.

But, you knew that was coming, didn’t you?

(I mean, I’d be a pretty rotten daughter to be writing about how lame it was to travel with my dad so close to father’s day…)

My dad didn’t put up a fight when I pleaded the necessity of making the detour to Drumheller, Alberta to see the World’s Largest Dinosaur (recall my admittance of ultimately low travel standards).

And I only mildly complained when my dad insisted on stopping at EVERY SINGLE rest stop to check the oil, measure some barometer or something, or do a bunch of other car check-ups that were probably totally necessary but by no means helpful.

No exaggeration. Every. Single. Stop.

Obviously I learned a crapload about my dad from being stuck in a car with him for 2 weeks straight. (Did you know he once took a hockey puck right in the eye? And then, just to even out the score, got a knuckle puck shot right in the other eye? Ya, me neither…)

And did you know that we actually have a crapload in common?

I was surprised to learn that we both had no real issues with sneaking out of camp sites super early to avoid paying overpriced provincial-enforced site fees. We kindly labeled this as “the camp-and-dash.” It made us feel less like criminals.

When you travel with your dad, a bunch of crazy things can happen.

Obviously, a Dad will most likely foot the lunch bill, he probably knows the necessity of finding the good local brewery in Kelowna, and can definitely teach you a lot of helpful hints about setting up a tent in the dead of night.

And sometimes, even if you expect it, your dad can even morph into a human being…complete with gnarly hockey puck scars and a hankering for camping and dashing.