Monday, May 24, 2010

Fort St. John weekend

Driving over the 90 km/h speed limit between Fort St. John and Chetwynd through Hudson's Hope would be cheating yourself. The mighty Peace River accompanied me nearly all the way back to Chetwynd through the gorgeous valley framed by mountains and studded with lakes after a weekend of phenomenal food, excess adult beverages and friends old and new.

A uni roommate housed me, her parents once again opened their house and set their kitchen table for me and former co-workers with some delightful additions organized all-you-can-eat sushi and fondue meals.

While living in Fort St. John again for any length of time appeals to be like a hole in the head, I was glad to be back there among part of my extended forestry family partly for a good time but mostly for the people I happily and quickly call friends.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


It's a long and rugged road
and we don't know where it's headed
But we know it's going to get us where we're going
And when we find what we're looking for
we'll drop these bags and search no more
'cause it's going to feel like heaven when we're home
It's going to feel like heaven when we're home.

Chorus from the Wailing Jenny’s “Heaven When We’re Home”

As I nurture my wanderlust, I’m continually confronted with what and where home is. Bouncing between travel, work and play, I look forward to going home – even though home is very loosely defined in my mind.

Going home from my current summer home of Chetwynd is going back to my hometown, Red Deer, Alberta, where my possessions are stored in an attic where my mother lives with a family. I don’t have the luxury of going back to the house I grew up in or a house that is even truly my mother’s. While I am more than welcome at that house, it doesn’t truly feel like home and there’s always a residual feeling that I’m a guest there.

More than geographic location, home is about feeling for me. Feeling welcome, secure and like I belong and am accepted there. I have been fortunate to have experienced that numerous times in a handful of countries. At the Sharklab on South Bimini, I felt valued and my presence welcomed and even occasionally sought after. In Mackenzie, B.C. my Canfor coworkers quickly enveloped me into their lives even though they all knew my time there was temporary. At the Ranch, where despite its now-condemned-for-health-reasons status, we relished passing the time together over beers, crib, campfires and conversation. When I was working my first field season in forestry in northern Alberta and it pissed rain all day, I anticipated being home from the moment my boots hit the gravel road where we parked the pickups – even if home meant crawling into a soggy tent. In all, I was deeply embedded in the comfortable ease of daily life with the people and environment around me.

Home then, is not one solitary location for me even as I am increasingly being surrounded by friends committing to life partners, offspring, mortgages and therefore their version of home. Just as Alice Sebold suggests varying views of heaven in “The Lovely Bones,” home is many things to many people.

For me, the pursuit of home is destined to be moving target as settling and being content in having made a home would mark the end of my passport stamps.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Peace in

After 10 days of catching up with family and friends, changing my ocean kit for forest gear, finally graduating uni and celebrating a birthday, I am set up in my very own room in Chetwynd, B.C. and sharing a house with three other working "professionals."