For years, I dreamt of visiting the Canadian north.
I looked for jobs in Dawson City, Whitehorse, Inuvik, Yellowknife... Applied for positions in such far off places as Hay River and Paulatuk... Yearned to to take a ferry up the inside passage to Skagway and hike the Chilkhoot pass to the Yukon...
Jobs were hard to find from the outside and I didn't have the means to get up there on my own. I did come very close to a summer job in Dawson City, but I didn't have my degree yet, so the job slipped through my fingers. Then a friend and I were going to max out our credit and savings and go spend three weeks hiking in the Yukon. Several financial crises came up that spring and I had to cancel the trip.
My father's one wish for his life was to take an Alaskan cruise. When we realised that he didn't have much time left, I scrambled to find the necessary money to take him on such a cruise. But it was too late; his doctor would not allow the trip. Dad and I did eventually make it to Alaska, in a way, but that's the subject of another post....
Finally, I decided that the north was a dream I had to let go. I never had any intention of settling there permanently and my financial situation wasn't stable enough to give up everything to relocate there for a year or two and then come back. I also didn't really want to see the north in winter. Been there, done that, after spending almost a full month in arctic Quebec in my youth.
The RV plan is allowing my dream to re-form.
I've vaguely mentioned that I'd like to wander up north come next spring and spend the summer exploring the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Alaska. But I haven't thought much about it, though, not wanting my hopes to be dashed again. It wasn't until this afternoon that I realised just how raw that wound was, how afraid I was to see the dream go up in smoke again. I've refused for four years now to do more than cursory reading on the north. Travel blogs are verboten as are travel tips and guides. The most research I did was about Alaskan cruises, and some digging into various communities hosting a job for which I applied. My step-sister spent time in the Yukon and I tuned out her stories. I wanted to hear nothing about this place that kept on eluding me.
This time, though, I actually think that the dream is going to realise itself. I firmly intend at this time in a year to be wending my way through northern British Columbia, testing the weather, and plotting my route across the Yukon border. I am making a promise to myself to celebrate Litha next year right at the arctic circle, pulling off from the Dempster to to celebrate a sunny Esbat.
Intend so much, in fact, that today I finally allowed myself to spend several hours reading blogs and articles about RVing north of the arctic circle. Tears were shed, sites were bookmarked, and new dreams sprang forth from broken promises, not unlike the proverbial phoenix.
How then am I so different from
The first men through this way?
Like them I left a settled life,
I threw it all away,
To seek a northwest passage
At the call of many men,
To find there but the road back home again. (Stan Rogers, 'Northwest Passage')
It's going to be a great year that will make up for so much.
"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."