Re-Thinking The Plan

This space has been quiet the past 3 weeks as we contemplated our disappointment from the Leamington trip in May.

We needed some time to consider how – and even if – we were going to continue this journey across the Trans-Canada Trail.

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Leamington, Ontario

My thoughts kept taking me back to one of our key objectives.  It’s what Helen called exploring the *underbelly* of our country.

Whether we were on the Bruce Trail, the Oak Ridges Moraine Trail, or now on the Trans-Canada, one of our greatest pleasures has been in the simple discoveries we’ve made along the way … the tiny communities and the small country roads where we wouldn’t otherwise have a reason to be.

When I looked back on our Leamington trip and the photos I had taken, there were just so many interesting and unexpected things we saw.

Like the US flag flying proudly along the Tecumseh Parkway.  I came to a screeching halt thinking ‘what the hell?’

If I had known my history better, I wouldn’t have been surprised.

It marks a historic battlefield during our only armed conflict with the US during the War of 1812.

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This marker was at Drake’s Farm where the British army – with a First Nations army under the leadership of famous Native Chief, Tecumseh – was under retreat from the American army.

An astute American observer may note that the flag has only 15 stars – representing the US flag from 1812.  We had to read the historic plaque to learn that interesting detail.

Grande Pointe-3

Or discovering the small French communities of Grande Pointe and Pain Court.  I had no idea there was such a significant French population in this part of the province.

Both communities can trace their origins to the late 1700s when the first French settlers arrived from the Detroit area – and since then these communities have incredibly retained their French language and heritage.

Eventually I came to ask myself the question, does it really matter if we’re travelling by bicycle, on foot, or in a car?  We would still feel the same spirit of discovery while experiencing this vast country of our’s.

When I shared my thoughts with Helen, I wasn’t surprised to hear that she felt the same way.

Leamington-2

Last week I was telling a new acquaintance about our goal to journey across the Trans-Canada Trail.  She literally scoffed.

“You’ll never finish”, she declared.

To be so abruptly dismissed by someone who barely knew me rocked me back quite a bit.  Upon reflection however, I’ve come to realize that this was a true cliché moment.

It’s not about the ultimate destination.  This really is about the journey.

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Mitchell’s Bay

… and we are now ready to continue on it.

42 comments

  1. I never really appreciated the truth behind that old cliché about the journey vs the destination until Cheryl and I started the Bruce Trail! It’s also about great journey companions isn’t it😊

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    • As in life, the quality of our friendships makes all the difference. I’m pretty sure that without the calm steadiness of Helen, I wouldn’t have ever completed the Bruce. She talked me down off the ceiling more than a few times.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Don’t listen to the scoffer. Pish posh, I say to her. Do what you want in your own way. And then write all about it here. Success is how you define it.

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    • Yeah – I’ve already decided she needs to be given a wide berth. Thanks for the reminder that success is how you define it. That’s why it’s so important to define it at the beginning of a project!!

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  3. Building the trail is a far greater task than anyone realized. They are now saying the completion of a fully segregated trail away from roads and highways appears to be years or even decades away! That gives you plenty of time to complete the journey – or a good reason not to complete it because the trail isn’t finished!

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    • Now that we’ve changed our expectations of journeying the Trans-Canada, we’re ok knowing that a chunk of our journey will be by car. It does not take away from our objectives and in some ways I think it will make it more enjoyable because we were putting a lot of stress on ourselves.

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  4. So glad you have found a way to continue your challenge, in a way that suits you both. I definitely enjoy your travels, the photos and history of a country that I’ve never visited in person. Keep on exploring 🙂

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  5. I am so glad to hear that you and Helen have decided to continue this adventure. By foot, bike, car…or whatever mode of transportation you choose, I will be happily following along!

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  6. The destination may be great but for me it is always all about the journey! Joanne–you are a better person than I to give that person ‘ a wide berth.’ WTH???! Looking forward to your travels, wherever they may lead.

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  7. I love that carving, and yes, it is really all about discovery in the end. Doesn’t matter how you get there, bike, car, foot, ferry, what is important is the journey and what you might discover along the way. Whether or not you complete the trail is immaterial. What you find along the trail is. I am going to enjoy the adventure. As for your new acquaintance I hope you have dumped her.

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    • Yes, I thought she was rather *different* … let’s just say I’ll be giving her a wide berth going forward.

      I feel a little foolish for not having come to this conclusion earlier that the mode of travel wasn’t the important part. I got caught up in my own preconceived expectations … but I feel so much better about this journey now.

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      • No need to feel foolish, you had a dream and wanted to fulfil it. Not your fault the trail isn’t quite what you had expected. And now you still can and no doubt will, in time. No rush is there? I’d love to do the coastal path walk but know I can’t manage the steep parts and the rough scree, so the only way I can do it is to drive to certain areas and walk a bit. Not quite the same, but in the end I hope to see most of it.

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        • Which brings me to another one of my favourite sayings … take what works and leave the rest.
          Your approach to the coastal path works for you. It’s WAY BETTER than saying oh, I can’t do the whole thing, so why bother doing any of it.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Flexibility is the key to successful travel. You are so right that it doesn’t matter how you get from A to B as long as you enjoy your journey along the way. Your acquaintance’s scoff alone would have spurred me on. Good for both of you… and lucky us for getting to travel with you, if only virtually.

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    • It’s funny how it was so obvious once I reached the conclusion that it didn’t matter if we chose to drive – or take a dogsled, or anything else.
      What really mattered was experiencing our country up close and personal. Duh! Sometimes we get so caught up in our preconceived expectations.

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      • I don’t know if you recall one of the mandates of the Young Voyageurs – it was to include as many modes of transportation as possible – at least, that’s how I recall it.

        So, my dear, tell your scoffing acquaintance to “watch this space” as you, the Young-ish Voyageur mounts up and crosses the country!

        I certainly will be. Now that I THINK I’m following your blog properly.

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        • Actually I don’t remember that detail from the Young Voyageurs, but then again, I’ve killed a lot of brain cells since then 😉

          I don’t really have a lot of time for naysayers. … but it’s given me an unexpected boost in the arm of renewed enthusiasm.

          I’m perverse like that 🙂

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  9. However you travel, I’ll be looking forward to the images and information you share. I know very little about Canada, and I welcome the chance to discover more through your journey, Joanne.

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