This morning was the saddest one I’ve had in weeks. Today marks the official end of my Moose Travel Network tour and the departure of my tour mates, who are now on their way back to Vancouver. This tour has only lasted five days but it feels like I’ve known these people for years. I’ll be doing a few separate posts to show you all the highlights of our trip, but I decided to first share with you my new friends. I could do a separate post for each one of them, they’re all that awesome. I wanted to write this post now instead of later while the memory of their smiles and good-bye hugs are still fresh. Aww…
I have to admit that it was a bit awkward the first morning we were together. We were all in that weird introductory stage, sitting quietly on the bus and minding our manners. It didn’t take long for that to change though. By mid-day we were all chummy and had quickly become friends. As I write this I’m thinking back to all the memories we’ve created these past few days and I can’t help but smile to myself. Actually, a few of those memories are making me chuckle (*cough* Crouching Tiger *cough*).
There’s something to be said about the quality of people you meet while travelling. I’ll give you an unrelated-Moose tour example. Try to follow along, it’s a bit winded: I met my friend Devon this summer through my best friend Lauren’s boyfriend, Peter (still following?). Peter and Devon had met randomly one night in Prague years ago and have been friends since. Devon even joined Peter back in Australia after their European tour and ended up living with him for a year. Lauren and Peter came to Canada for a visit this past June and to celebrate a group of nine of us went on a trip to Cuba (yes, they travelled tens of thousands of kilometres from Australia just to take another trip to Cuba. That’s how we do things.). Devon came along to Cuba and since that trip has become one of my best mates. I have Peter, Prague and the random, seedy bar they met in to thank for my new friend. The moral of this story is that the best of friends can be made when you’re away from home.
When you travel you meet like-minded people who have set off from their everyday lives to see the world and gain new experiences. Although each of us had different reasons for coming on this tour, we all somehow fit together like a puzzle that had been missing a few pieces. With their departure this morning that puzzle has now started to come apart once again, but I know our pieces will always fit together from here on out.
And now I’d like to finally introduce you to my missing puzzle pieces:
Glen: The only Brit on our tour, hailing from Kent, England. Glen works on a cruise ship and had a two and a half month break, so he jumped overboard in Halifax and slowly made his way out west. He’s going to hate me for telling you this, but Glen snores like a bear in a deep hibernation. I fell asleep with the giggles last night because I was in the bunk above him. Glen made me crack up the entire trip with his dry British humour. I didn’t tell him this, but it’s been a long time since I’ve laughed so hard. I will forever be grateful for the happiness he unknowingly gave me.
Verena: She’s actually sitting right beside me as I write this with no idea what I’m writing 😉 Verena is from Utrecht, Holland. This smart lady is actually a doctor, having finished her MD two years ago. She is in Canada for three weeks, taking a break from having to look after sick people all day. Verena has probably been the most polite tour mate we’ve had (we all swear like truckers), but every now and then she’d let something slip or reveal her wry sense of humour. By the end of the trip I learned that Verena exposes her true personality in layers and you have to peel her away like an onion. She’ll be heading back to Vancouver this evening on the bus by herself, then making her way over to Vancouver Island. Safe travels, V.
Sarah M. : From Mackay, Australia (“it’s ma-kai, not mac-kay”), Sarah is actually in Canada on a working holiday. She’ll be working in Whistler, but decided to do some travelling before her contract began. Remember how I mentioned we all swore like truckers? Sarah’s a sneaky trucker. She’ll nonchalantly slip in a bomb here and there and pass it off like casual conversation. It’s quite hilarious. This girl is genuine with a huge heart, despite her cursing problem 😉 I wish her the best of luck in BC. I may just have to take a little trip in the spring to see her before she goes back to Oz.
James: Our token ranga, James is from Sydney, Australia. He might have been the baby of our trip, but this kid has an old soul. He’s bloody hilarious, too. James ended up in Mississauga for an internship at an animal hospital and has since then travelled more of this country than I have. Kind, thoughtful and witty, I know this gentleman is going to make it far. Oh, and he’s the biggest photo bomber I’ve ever met. He has a perfectly timed creep which is showcased in at least a dozen of my trip pictures.
Lin: I had to use a group shot for Lin’s picture because she’s quite elusive. Lin (on the very left in the pink toque) is from Taipei, Taiwan. She had her first drink while on tour with us — we’re quite the bad influences. English wasn’t her first language, so we did face some communication barriers. However, it was obvious that she was enjoying herself and that’s all that matters.
Diana: The self-coined “grandma of the group”, Diana’s from Brisbane, Australia. This woman is so cute. There’s an expression in Barbados that is used whenever something is really sweet or endearing: “cadear” (there’s a few different variations in spelling). Every time I’d watch her that’s all I could think to myself. Newly retired, Diana has been travelling for the past four and half months and is due to go back to Australia in just a few days. Unfortunately we didn’t have a proper good-bye, so Di, if you read this, I hope you enjoyed your time in Canada, it was an honour to have you on the tour and I hope you have a safe flight home.
Matt: From Sydney, Australia, Matt was with us for only part of the tour. As you can tell from the picture, Matt is on the national broomball team of Australia. He’s actually in Canada for the broomball world championships in Ottawa, which is hosting sixty teams for the duration of the tournament. Because we didn’t have too much time together I wasn’t able to form as much of a connection with Matt as I did the others, but Matt is definitely good people.
Sarah D. : From Dampier, Western Australia, Sarah (aka “the boss lady”), is a fixed plant operator at an iron ore mine in the desert. Sarah was able to cross off two items from her bucket list with this trip: seeing the Rockies and travelling solo. This chick is absolutely awesome. You know when you meet someone for the first time and it feels like you’ve known them forever? Ya, that was the case with her. She has just about talked me into applying for a working holiday visa to Australia to work with her at the mine. I actually think I might take up her offer. Honestly, how often do you get the chance to say you’ve worked at a mine in the desert?!
John: My only other Canadian companion on the tour, John (aka “boss man”, aka our tour guide) is originally from Tsawwassen, BC, and is now living in Vancouver. John has been working with Moose for about three years now, but has a degree in Anthropology and Archaeology from SFU. John is a BC boy to the bone and according to him has to live near the ocean. This man made our trip, not only because it’s his job but because of his character. Funny (although he likes to pull out the “dad jokes”), informative and down-to-earth, I’m thankful that our motley crew ended up on his van (that’s right John, it’s a VAN, not a BUS). Thank you, John, for providing us with memories that are going to last a lifetime.
I’m going to desperately miss these crazy kids. I woke up this morning feeling grumpy, knowing what I was going to be facing today. Sending them off was incredibly hard to do. I tried not to cry, but obviously I did. This especially made me break down:
Just looking at this picture makes me teary-eyed. I ❤ U too. We’ll all see each other soon.