“It’s not a habit, it’s cool I feel alive, if you don’t have it you’re on the other side”
— K’s Choice: Not an Addict”
Like most, I didn’t come out of the womb with a backpack strapped to my torso. I had to be introduced to it. Someone gave me the push. Or was it a dare? In any case, it was what I now call a Gateway Trip. It gave me my first taste of that travel high, and I’ve been looking for the next great fix ever since.
My first real trip was to Quebec City when I was still in high school. No one in my family had ever left the province before (except my uncle, but that’s a whole other blog entirely). My Dad did claim to have been to Labrador once, but became flustered when we cornered him for specifics likes dates and routes and why, so we never really put much credence into that one.
Newfoundland, for the uninitated, is for all intents and purposes in the middle of the North Atlantic. That makes is expensive to get to, and to get out of. I thought I would never be able to afford it.
In order to fund this school trip of ours, we had to sell novelty items. One of these was a ridiculously overpriced hairbrush that had a hairspray dispenser ingeniously built into it. This was the 80’s mind you, so there was a huge market for anything that would even remotely “Bonnie Tyler” your flat locks. We made a killing. I could hardly believe I was going somewhere. And on a plane no less.
Well, Quebec City had it all. French culture, baquettes, European-inspired streets, and of course, those lovable Quebecois. The best travel is always one part unknown, one part drama, and Quebec did not disappoint. We had beer thrown over us during a hockey game (we were routing for the Canadiens, not a good idea on Nordiques turf) and a knife pulled on us afterwards. I think it was then that I was hooked.
I knew I could never go back to my paper route and my 10-speed bike and the school bullies and ever be the same.