"I haven't a clue as to how my story will end. But that's all right. When you set out on a journey and night covers the road, you don't conclude that the road has vanished... and how else could we discover the stars?" - Unknown
For the majority of my life I have lived in a small town in Alberta. An 'everybody knows everybody' kind of place. I will never besmirch the farmers and working class people of small towns, nor their 'down home' sensibilites. Infact that's what I love about them. But I won't lie, when I got married in 2008 and my wife asked me to move to Grande Prairie, I was glad to leave.
Even though I hated GP immediately, I suddenly became a 'big city' person (something I have recently learned isn't entirely true). Keep in mind GP only has a population of about 60,000. Whenever I went home it was "GP this" and "GP that." I was too cool for my hometown now. I even bitched about the speed limit. "50 kph through town? you must be joking." I don't feel bad about it. Everyone changes when they move away, it's just how it is.
In the spring of 2010, my marriage failed. I'm sure most of the people who are reading this know the story. My 'best' friend, who called himself my 'bro', back-stabbed me in the worst manner you can imagine, and I'm sure you can imagine. With this I realized there was really nothing keeping me in Grande Prairie.
My childhood friend Jake has been living in Vancouver for 2 years. We'd been roommates before, and I'd come to visit him in BC a few times. I loved Vancouver, despite it's flaws, and decided thats where I wanted to be. So in June of 2011, I loaded up my car, kissed my dog one last time (on the mouth), said goodbye to my family and few remaining friends in Alberta, and headed west. ADVENTUUURE!
For some silly reason I had decided to leave GP in the afternoon, so I could avoid traffic when I hit town. It was dark before I hit Kamploops. And raining. It started to rain as soon as I crossed the border and didn't let up until I hit the outskirts of Vancouver.
The other drivers were scaring the shit out of me, though to be fair I was maybe being over cautious with my driving. They had this weird habit of getting right behind me but they wouldn't overtake, so I got to have their lights shining in my rearview the whole time. Fun stuff.
The first interaction I had with a British Columbian was a spectacularly rude gas station attendant. Normally I let shit like that slide, but it was bad enough that I went to a different gas station to fuel up.
There was road construction basically all the way from the outskirts of town to Jake's house.
By this point I was beginning to wonder why the hell I had decided to move to this godawful province. But then, at last I arrived in the city. It was getting light out. Holy shit, things in this city are actually green... I never noticed how brown GP was before. And flowers! Everywhere! Gigantic, pink effing things! And holy shit, is that a Coyote in the middle of town? And look at that huge black squirrel! And... Oh that's a dude walking around East Van with an axe at 4 in the morning... nevermind.
Right now I'm drinking cheap beer with a Mexican dude and a guy from Arizona. It's like a North America Party! And it's freakin' gorgeous out, and Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Play-offs is tonight (Go Boston! Or Vancouver, either way). I'm starting to actually enjoy it here. I feel good, and I feel good about my future.
I realize that I can't let a few bad incidents or my fear of the unknown hold me back. Am I going to have some bad experiences here? Yes. Am I going to miss my family and my friends and my dog? Yes. But I can't let that stop me from having a good time and living my life. It's up to me to make this a good experience.
“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” - Andre Gide