Crossing the Canadian border gave me a familiar, rushing sense of accomplishment.
Until I was routinely stopped at the border and subsequently asked to “come inside for further questioning by an officer.” Here I am feeling like a marathoner that’s crossed the finish line, and this officer thinks I may be some threat to his country…I was completely confused, and where’s my medal?
Once I stepped inside for “further questioning” it all became more clear. The officer inside cut-to-the-chase…
Officer Inside: “Why do you have so much stuff?”
Kimi: “I’m on the road for two months.”
Officer Inside: “What do you do?”
Kimi: “I go hiking.”
Officer Inside (semi-perturbed): “…for a living…”
Kimi (nonplussed): “I don’t have a job anymore.”
Officer Inside: “So, you got money in the bank?”
This went on for some time… So basically, I looked like I was driving a mobile meth lab and perhaps I looked a little worse for wear too (I’ve now completely quit brushing my hair). During the line of questioning I also couldn’t help thinking, does Canada have a problem with impoverished Americans squatting in the Canadian Rockies?
After running “some checks” while I sat in the waiting room, the Officer Inside said she’d like to see my vehicle. Misunderstanding this for thinking she wanted to see my gear, I excitedly escorted her out to my car, to show her my tent, organization system for my clothing – in my plastic containers, food storage system with my YETI and so on. Ultimately she realized I was a total ditz and told me to have a safe trip.
So I’m on the road again, feeling like a finisher (again)! Crossing the Canadian border gave me the exact same feeling of endless pride and joy with myself that I have after a race. There was a lot of training, preparation, mental preparedness and endless planning – exactly like a runner does before a race – that was implemented in order to get me to Canada. And now here I am, and I’ve done it!
While it feels totally different, everything looks about the same, except for the speed limit signs. Such a pretty, new font and Holy Toledo…110! It’s like the Autobahn in Canada. Before I knew it, my car was going as fast as I felt.
Until I looked down to check my speedometer, to make sure I wasn’t speeding, and I see these tiny, little, gray numbers next to “km/h”.
It was at that moment that the realization hit me to slow down and that while I may feel like I’ve crossed some invisible finish line, the best is yet to come. I earned my medal the minute I left home and have gained a million medals in the number of experiences I’ve had while on this trip.
Banff has been like no place on Earth and it’s made the sweet, thrilling ride, flying past all the Albertans to get here, even that more rewarding.