Hello Canada (World)

Can dropping everything on the spur of the moment be the best solution to life’s dirty problems? When, fueled by anger, frustration, and depression, one realizes it’s either that or explode?  I wasn’t sure, but I was counting on it.

Let me back up.

I’ve been putting the finishing touches on a book I’ve been writing over the last eighteen months when the subject of the book suddenly decided she wanted me to sign a document that would, in essence, give her final approval.  I refused, and the next thing I knew I was dealing with lawyers, a very frustrating (and costly) ordeal.

My daughter, who has been living with her boyfriend for nearly five years, decided to ask for a commitment, which took her boyfriend by surprise and he balked. He needed more time, he said. She moved out of their apartment and back into our lives.

My long-time friend and confidante decided that he could no longer live in a country that had such unscrupulous leaders as Bush and Cheney, so he brought over all his treasured belongings, told me to do with them whatever I wanted, and left the country promising never to return.

When our other daughter came to visit for the weekend and we had to be somewhere on one of those days, we arranged with another couple to drive with them, so we could leave our car with our daughter; but when it came to their coming to pick us up, they asked if we would take a taxi down to their house, about three miles away, and in the opposite direction of where we were all going. I told them we’d meet them there and rented a car.

That last was the most trivial, but it was the icing on what had become a bitter week. When life gets so trivial and so exasperating at the same time, there is only one thing to do: Run.  Get away physically. Get away mentally. Put your problems on the back burner and open yourself to something new and adventurous.  For my wife and me, it only took about two minutes to remember where we always found joy and new experiences.

“We’re going to Canada.”

Why Canada?  Let me count the ways.

It’s convenient.

It’s reasonable.

There’s no language problem.

The air is clean and fresh.

It’s incredibly scenic: lakes, rivers, forests, mountains, glaciers, national parks, wildlife.

The people are friendly and unpretentious.

The food is diverse and of a high quality.

They produce some excellent wine and beer.

The golf courses are challenging and spectacular.

There’s a healthy devotion to the outdoors: kayaking, canoeing, bicycling, roller blading, hang gliding, snorkeling, scuba diving, mountain and rock climbing, salt and freshwater fishing, bear watching, and all those winter sports for the snow-minded.

There’s a heady sense of adventure—running the gamut from helicoptering onto glaciers to cave exploration.

They’ve become spa-conscious.

They’ve got wonderful museums.

Their First Nation exhibits and artifacts provide an exciting introduction to the country’s history.

There’s a comfortable hotel, lodge or B&B to fit any budget.

They’ve often got good sales of quality products.

It’s the home of Tilley’s hats (they float, they’re durable, they’re resistant to UV light, they’re water-resistant, they have a secret compartment in the crown, they allow for friendly conversation with fellow wearers).

A few years ago we took a two-day first class train ride through the Rocky Mountains, from Banff to Vancouver and really enjoyed it. A year ago the Rocky Mountaineer inaugurated a new two-day route through the Rockies, from Whistler to Jasper.  I’ve always wanted to go to Jasper and to Lake Louise.

So, we started making plans, and within days we flew to Vancouver to put all our troubles and woes behind us.  We figured if we packed in enough activities and good dinners, it would be like hitting the refresh button on the computer.  And there was no better place to start than dining at our favorite restaurant.

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