On traveling

When we accept our limits, we go beyond them. — Einstein

I am a terrible traveler.

I haven’t always been. I am a homebody and I love routine and I hate surprises, but my memory tells me that I used to not mind traveling so much.

I think what happened is this: I had a kid who made traveling a nightmare (looking at you, Abs — the stories I could tell!) and my stomach issues got trickier. So now, when I think about going anywhere for an extended period of time, it makes me exceedingly anxious.

Blog Waterton

Very true, Waterton Starbucks!

The last week of June, our little family plus my mother-in-law rented a van and made for Canada. It was a trip that’s been in the works since at least the beginning of the year, as my in-laws wanted to take us somewhere for a once in a lifetime experience. We decided that what we really wanted to do was take the girls to Banff — Eric and I went in 1997, but the girls have never been any farther north than Washington State.

Maybe because this trip had been on my radar for so long, I had plenty of time to worry — and plenty of time to wrap my head around the fact that I could make or break this trip for everyone, just based on my overall outlook. Moms have power, yo.

So here’s what I did: I decided to look at it not as a Trisha, but as a traveler. Every day, I woke up and made the intention to be open to whatever adventures and experiences came our way. I was the designated recorder for the journey, which meant I also had my journal and my camera (or phone) with me at all times so I could keep track of everything from how much we spent on gas to what we were doing.

I enjoyed going to Mass in Kalispell, Mont., in a gym with the tabernacle underneath the basketball hoop. I enjoyed the hot tub at the hotel. I enjoyed Glacier National Park even though it was raining. (I’ve been there plenty of times and it was kind of fun to see it this way.)

I enjoyed staying at the Prince of Wales hotel in Waterton Lakes and tried not to be scared by the ghost stories we heard during the historical talk that evening. I enjoyed walking around the town of Waterton and taking in the views, seeing a black bear and a waterfall. I enjoyed my coffee the next morning in the hotel dining room (and my Lara Bar) as the family had breakfast and the discussions on whether or not we were haunted (Abby said definitely, Johanna said no way, Joni was disappointed her ghosts turned out to be the people walking around upstairs).

I enjoyed standing in line at the Lake Louise overflow parking area, waiting for an hour to board a school bus that would take us to the lake, then another half hour for the bus to fill before leaving. I enjoyed talking to the Scottish tourist who sat by Eric. I enjoyed our time at the lake, taking photos and laughing because all kids, regardless of country of origin, act the same.

I enjoyed the gorgeous scenery of Banff, our condo and the town. I enjoyed seeing all of the recycling and trash bins on the side of the road, as well as the wildlife overpasses that crossed the highway. I enjoyed a carriage ride around town and listening to Abby chatter about how awesome she felt about getting her first legal drink. (Drinking age in the US is 21. Not so in Canada. She was thrilled to be carded.)

I enjoyed our trip to Jasper National Park and walking on a glacier, then a skybridge. Okay, I did not enjoy the skybridge because I’m afraid of heights and walking on glass does not seem wise to me, regardless of how much steel is holding it up, but I DID IT. I enjoyed seeing admittedly scraggly mountain goats and a marmot.

I enjoyed looking for stickers to decorate my journal in gift shops and buying postcards. I enjoyed writing about the experience and having time to read and relax in the evenings. I enjoyed finding ketchup chips and the reactions of the family as they tried them. I enjoyed seeing everything in English and French and hearing all of the different languages being used around us. (I’m used to hearing a mix of English and Spanish, so it was at once familiar and jarring.)

I enjoyed the naps I took in the van, the chatter of my girls, my weighted blanket at night, and the fact that my reusable coffee cup was accepted everywhere. I enjoyed the look of Canadian currency and the general friendliness of the people we met. I enjoyed not looking at American newspapers or websites to see what craziness was going on back home.

When we got back, Eric said he was proud of me — he knows how hard this kind of thing is on my general constitution. I was proud of myself. This trip was super fun and I’m working on a scrapbook for our family and my mother-in-law so we can remember everything we did. The overall lesson I’ve taken away from this is that not being Trisha on vacation is genius and that accepting our limits means that we can go beyond them. (Thanks, Einstein.)

Ten out of ten stars, would go again.

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12 thoughts on “On traveling

  1. Chris N says:

    I have always wanted to go to Banff.We got to BC and the Buchart gardens back in 2002 I think. It was before my diagnosis. I loved Canada and wanted to move there.
    I think it’s great you pushed your limits and had a good time. I’m more nervous about traveling now than when I was younger. My IBS is always a concern and needing to know where bathrooms are. But I do love traveling once I’m doing it. It’s like there’s resistance to start and then boom… it’s fun:) Glad you had a great time!

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    • Trisha Walker says:

      Totally hear you — my IBS is always in the back of my mind. That’s the reason Eric found the condo, so I could have access to a kitchen. I only ate out twice the entire trip, which is definitely why I felt so good, even at the end of it.

      Banff really is gorgeous. Every view is amazing.

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  2. Diane says:

    Banff is lovely – although I haven’t been back in many years. When I was young I spent a summer at the Banff School of Fine Arts and I was awestruck by the mountains. Our little island has no mountains, only a few hills. Frequently, during class, someone would run in and yell, “Come look at the mountains” and we would drop everything and run outside to see what the mountains were doing then!

    Ketchup chips – the crack cocaine of the chip world! I rarely eat any chips or other junk food but give me a bag of those babies and you’ll have to wrestle me to get it back. I don’t know what they put in them but they are highly addictive – at least in this family.

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    • Trisha Walker says:

      Oh, how awesome to have spent a whole summer in Banff — I bet that was a really great experience! Not a bad view anywhere! Ketchup chips were a hit. No one really knew what to make of them, but they kept eating (so maybe they are made out of crack?). Jo had poutine on her list as well, but never ordered it. I guess we’ll save that one for next time!

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  3. Idgy says:

    Glad you enjoyed your trip. Agree that Banff, Jasper, Columbia Icefields and Watertown are all gorgeous. We lived in Calgary 20 years ago and would drive to the mountains every weekend for hiking or skiing.

    Ah ketchup chips – just love them and the red fingered mess. You may want to try All Dressed flavour next time….I find that Flavour even more addicting. You need to try poutine – looks yucky but super yummy. It s great at warming you up on a cold day.

    If you want to explore more areas of my home and native land, feel free to reach out.

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    • Trisha Walker says:

      Oh, what a lovely offer, thank you! Canada is so gorgeous and so awesome. I hope we will be able to come again sometime and explore some more.

      ALL DRESSED CHIPS?! This is entirely new information. I had no idea that was a thing. We saw poutine being served in a sports bar we ate at on our last night in Banff — it is, uh, interesting looking. But really, potatoes and gravy isn’t that weird. Cheese curds, maybe a little weird. 😉

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