Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Road Trip

My sister Tiina was visiting from Toronto this past week. A different sister from the one who visited a few posts down. There’s a small army of my siblings scattered around. We’re like the Osmonds, but not as cute and only this one (Karin) can sing.

Tiina and I planned to go to Salt Spring Island this past weekend, but discovered the ferry back was full, so we had to change our plans. We thought of just getting in the car and driving, no plan, no idea of where we were headed, just GO and... BE. The spirit of Jack Kerouac was flowing through our veins for about 10 minutes. Every sentence after that began with ‘but...’

“But we should at least know if we’re going north, south, east or west”
“But we should know how far we want to drive”
“But we should go somewhere where the weather isn’t bad”
“But what if we get somewhere and it sucks and there’s nothing to do?”

24 hours later we were in Whistler, our chosen destination after long, painstaking, careful research and thought. After sitting down at a lovely restaurant, also chosen after careful research and much discussion, we were about to order a bottle of wine. Tiina wanted to ask more about a certain wine but I said, “STOP, don’t ask, let THAT be our spontaneous moment, just...order it” So from our initial intention of acting out Easy Rider (in a minivan), our risk taking amounted to refraining ourselves from gathering more information about our beverage. That’s when I really got it... I am NOT 20 anymore.

But Whistler is beautiful and I had a fantastic time. Being there makes me want to get insanely fit, ski, snowboard and mountain climb and wear $600 gortex jackets and be everything I’m not. Being in mountains and surrounded by so much wilderness also makes me feel small (in a good, humbling way) and connected to something deeper. While I was there we were able to catch the last hour and a half of Pangea Day in Whistler Village. Pangea Day is “is a global event bringing the world together through film. On May 10, locations in Cairo, Kigali, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, and Rio de Janeiro will be linked for a live program of powerful films, live music, and visionary speakers. The entire program will be broadcast – in seven languages – to millions of people worldwide through the internet, television, and mobile phones.” The turnout for Whistler was small, but the films and speakers were inspiring. This little animated film is worth a watch and is about a man who transforms his world through origami. A particularly moving moment was when an Israeli mother recited the letter she wrote to the snipers' family who killed her son. All the films can be watched on the website, so if you have some time to spare, it's worth browsing. I managed to snap a picture (below) of the several moments when the world was joined in forced laughter as a part of the laughter clubs that began in India in an effort to promote happiness worldwide. Even though most of us reserved Canadians were laughing out of pure embarrassment, I have to say it did feel good and I noticed a lingering smile on the audience afterward. Here’s a few more snapshots of my trip

In the spirit of Pangea day, three powerful words that I'm determined to keep with me - understanding, forgiveness, peace.


Melody said...

Beautifully written Ellen. It sounds like an absolutely wonderful trip. Let me know the next time you decide to be spontaneous and set out.....I could use a little of that in my life right about now. Thanks for the post, it was pure inspiration.

dinahmow said...

"For spontaneity to work, it needs careful planning..." Don't know who said it; your sister, perhaps?
Great trip, Ellen.

Ellen said...

Melody- I wish I could afford to be more spontaneous more often. And just get in the car and drive west sometime, my door is always open to my blogger friends.

Dinah - Ha! I love that line, and so true you are.