M and M Road Trip 2019
Day 1: Victoria to Osoyoos
This month, my husband and I will take turns blogging about our RARE V trip. Michael’s turn!
By Michael Carpenter
We do love our road trips.
When Madeline and I met in May 2011, we decided we’d found “the one”, and in a fit of great confidence, agreed to travel by car to the Edmonton Folk Festival in August. Since we made this decision two weeks after we met, in retrospect I think we were pressure-testing our nascent marriage.
We listened to music, marvelled at double rainbows crossing the highway, wandered the pathways of Maligne Canyon, and talked and talked and talked.
It all went rather well.
The result has been an annual tradition of road tripping together. We have travelled to the redwoods, to southern Oregon for the Ashland Shakespeare Festival, to Four Corners Monument in the American Southwest, and up the Sunshine Coast to Lund. This is our fifth trip. Our plan is to drive to Toronto through Canada and visit family there, then return through the states, letting love and whim carry our little red Hyundai back home.
Why RARE? From the beginning of our relationship we have meditated and listened to spiritual teachers, and one of the earliest teachings we heard was from Tara Brach, about the four radiant abodes. The abodes are loving-kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity and when they are all present, they can open our hearts to all humanity. We liked this so much that we decided to name our road trips Radiant Abode Road Excursions-RARE.
We usually pick a mascot for each trip-found in a local thrift shop. We have had a donkey, a sand dollar, and a pig named Falstaff (the Shakespeare festival featured Henry V). Today we found our mascot—a kingfisher named Halcyon—who is proudly riding on our dashboard. Halycon represents peace and prosperity, something we are both celebrating in this opportunity to not work for months, and to just be present and enjoy being together. Halcyon also represents the shimmering rivers and lyrically sloping mountains that we have wandered through and wondered at all day. We love that his beak is broken, because we are all broken in one way or another.
And it’s Canada Day! At our motel the swimming pool was full of Canada flag beachballs, surrounded by flag towels, and filled with laughter and smiles as warm as the Osoyoos sun. We walked to dinner and looked at a kinetic sculpture built as homage to the indigenous peoples in this area. At dinner we talked about enjoying the celebrations and still, wondering how this must feel to Canada’s first peoples with our history of occupation, the horrors of the residential school system and all the rest. We didn’t come up with any answers, but I can’t help but feel that the four abodes can at least open our hearts to all people.
On the way back to our motel a truck passed us. Driven by a man in a turban and sporting a Mexican restaurant logo, there was a banner across the back that said, “proud to be Canadian.” I know it’s just a little thing, but it made me happy in a gentle, deep way.
Tomorrow it’s on to Nelson.