Here we are at the end of 2012. Yes, we made it and all the doomsayers were wrong. No one has said anything about the Mayans since December 22.
With 2013 just around the corner, it’s really been an incredible year, with many ups and downs for me, and plenty of personal growth. Mostly it’s been a really positive year and travel has been a consistent theme, especially in the last half of the year.
The highlights include travelling to Seattle where I saw Will Allen and Joel Salatin speak; backpacking around Mt. Robson; going to B.C. for my cousin’s wedding; travelling to Belgium and France, in the process meeting my father, a sister and a variety of cousins.
In September and October I travelled to Belgium with my mom and my daughter. We flew into Paris, took the high-speed train to Brussels and into southern Belgium where we stayed with cousins.
The trip was nothing short of amazing! I first met my sister in Mons, which was a surreal experience, and later my dad. My daughter was with me when we met him and my step-mother (I’d never considered I’d have one). It was another surreal experience and just the fact that I was in Belgium caused a lot of drama prior to the meeting.
The meeting was relatively short and awkward, in a train station. No hugs; a shaking of hands; no photos. Not what I had expected, but then I hadn’t expected anything to begin with. The meeting was pleasant and my French was surprisingly passable by that point. It’s a good thing my daughter was there to translate (and meet her grandfather and grandmother for the first time).
It was great to meet my father and sister (though there is still one I have not met), and many of my relatives there. I do want to go back, as there is still so much to see and people to meet. I miss Belgium. I do have a post to put up here about the things I miss about Belgium.
What was funny about the whole trip is that it was only going to be my mom and my daughter going. I had waffled and debated whether or not to go. Two weeks prior to the date they were going to go I had a dream about it and the next day a thought popped into my head that I needed to go. So, I went. No regrets at all.
Backpacking Mt. Robson
My wife and I have wanted to backpack around Mt. Robson on the Berg Lake Trail almost since we’ve been together. We’ve slowly accumulated all the backpacking gear but never did the hike. In 2011 we did do a day hike in about nine kilometers in and then back out, just to see how that was. No problem! We camped in Robson Meadows just to test out our gear.
So, we made the reservation and the trip nearly didn’t happen. On our way to Seattle in late May we hit road debris, which resulted in my wife getting whiplash. We got advice from doctors, our lawyer, chiropractor and massage therapist about it and decided to go. We extended the trip to make it easier on my wife, with massage and chiropractic sessions on either side of the trip.
We were on the trail for five nights and the trip was incredible. My wife couldn’t do all that she wanted and we didn’t hike around the area as much as we’d have liked, but it was more than worthwhile! The trip was 46 kilometres round trip and our day hikes added another 15 or so kilometres.
It was a great learning experience for us! My wife’s pack wasn’t so heavy but mine was brutal! We had left a number of items behind in our car, but not enough. Next time we’ll be packing much lighter. The first day just about killed me as my pack wasn’t adjusted properly, but it was a great lesson in persevering through pain and exhaustion.
The weather was amazing for the whole trip and we got a lot of great photos. We’re looking forward to more long backpacking trips such as the Chilkoot Pass, Westcoast Trail and Skyline Trail. Eventually I wouldn’t mind going on the Pacific Crest Trail.
Travel to Seattle
Prior to these trips my wife and I headed down to Seattle where we attended the Mother Earth News Fair in Puyallup. The trip almost didn’t happen, as we hit road debris that took out our car while we were in BC, west of Jasper. We went to the hospital, got a rental car and debated whether or not to continue.
I’m glad we decided to go on, though it was a bit uncomfortable and we ended up finding hotels with hot tubs to ease the aches and pains from the accident.
We saw Will Allen and Joel Salatin speak there and the whole experience was great. We’ll definitely be back.
We’re interested in buying some land and moving outside of the city so we can raise some of our own food and enjoy the country life. This trip tied nicely into that. (You can see two of the videos we took while there, one of Joel Salatin’s speech and the other is Will Allen’s.
Looking forward to 2013
This year really has been a good one overall. It also marks a change for my wife and I in that we’ve been moving towards a focus on experiences and much less on “stuff.” This year we’ve really tried to do that and have been fairly successful. In 2013 we’re going to go further down that road in being less burdened by our possessions and focusing more on having great experiences in our lives.
I don’t know what 2013 will hold and I’m sure it will be tough to top 2012, but we are going to try! I hope your 2013 is a great one too!