This past weekend, I went on a whirlwind of a road trip to Banff National Park in Alberta. We left from Saskatoon, and with the stops, it took about 9 hours to get there. That, plus the time spent traveling from place to place within the park throughout the weekend, equaled way too much time for way too many young adults in a far too purple bus.
On the endless voyage to Banff, I was undeniably cranky. People were playing the ukulele, guys in the back were making bad jokes, and, worst of all, so many people simply dared to exist. (How rude of them!!) I practically ran off that bus when we got there. But after unpacking, grabbing my camera, and walking to the lake, all my bitterness disappeared.
We all have those things that make our eyes light up like a child, and, well, I’m completely mesmerized by mountains. Not pictures of mountains, no, but rather existing in a place where I can look around and at every turn there is a mountain to be seen. When I was in grade ten, I lived in Switzerland for three months. From the plane landing, to the drive to my host families house, to the days that followed, my eyes gravitated towards the mountaintops. I fell in love with being surrounded by nature; a scenic walk or a hike in the mountains was never far away. I missed it a lot when I left and being in Banff brought me back to the serene feeling I had during that period of my life. Small towns, plenty of trees, and an endless amount of trails meant an endless amount of adventures.
I love living in a city because there’s always so many events and friends and experiences. But I don’t miss it the way I miss places that are still rooted in nature. You don’t need a fast paced life or a full calendar to make you feel alive. Just breathing in the air, climbing a new trail, or simply sitting down in a secluded spot to read or write or sketch makes me feel happy and fulfilled.
This short-lived trip brought me a dose of that. It reminded me how much I love to explore and enjoy nature. I got to revel in the excitement of adventure with people who were just as happy to be there. I slept curled up in a sleeping bag in the frigid cold, I enjoyed all the touristy spots, and the closest thing to a shower I had over three days was being sprayed by a waterfall. It was amazing.
Is it possible to be both a city girl and a nature freak? Can you dream of living in New York City and living in the mountains on a goat farm at the same time? Apparently yes. I love contradictions, like constantly being busy and moving slowly through life. Small towns in the middle of nowhere and cities with subways and trains and planes at the tip of my finger. I want to live and see it all and travel the world, but I will always gravitate towards the mountains. Home doesn’t have to be the building in which you live, but a place that you fall in love with, a place where you grew, a place that makes you feel like you can do anything, and for me, home is where the mountains are.
This is getting a bit too wordy and reflective for me, so let’s sum it up and end this reflective life crisis fest. In short: Banff was cold and pretty and wonderful. I hiked and shopped and sent postcards and took pictures. I love mountains and nature and I want to live in a cabin surrounded by trees… or maybe in a tiny apartment in the middle of NYC. I don’t know yet. So I’ll just keep traveling, seeing the world, and living my life and see where I end up. Cool? Cool.