I thought I would have written something long before now but to be honest, I haven’t had a lot of down time and the down time I have had has consisted of me drugging myself to sleep.
First things first. Happy Thanksgiving. I know it’s late, but I mean it so much; more than you will ever know.
My journey started off in Medicine Hat, and I can tell you my heart was full. My friends and family gathered Friday evening for a nice little send-off, and it was so comforting. My favorite part was watching all of my friends and family, many who hadn’t met, come together and make what could have been such a difficult time, much easier.
Saying goodbye to my parents, aunt, and nephew Saturday morning was much harder than I expected. I was holding it together until my Dad told me he was proud of me. Those words have never meant so much, and I lost all control of my emotions from there. So did everyone else. Sending off your daughter on a trip, by herself, when she is “supposed” to be getting married in less than a week has got to be fucking hard. Sorry for the swear, but seriously, I can’t even imagine. I have said it before, and I will say it again, my parents are amazing and so are the rest of the people in my family. This is a journey for all of us and don’t ever think I underestimate how hard this is for all of you.
I stopped in Swift Current for a visit with my Uncle and my Grandma, and I have to say, my Grandma thinks I am nuts. She said she really loved Nashville when she was there, but then she said, “but I had friends with me.” My Grandma really just wants me to have a blast, and she said, “you can do it, you’re tough.” I said no Grandma, “I am just stubborn.”
Next came Regina where I spent the evening with two of my sister cousins and my Aunt. I had a great time watching UFC and eating poutine with you ladies. I can’t think of a better way to spend my last night in Canada. You guys truly are some of my favorite women in this world, and I am so glad I got to see you before I left. Tammy, the bath was romantic, emotional, and a memory I will never forget. We were in there so long we wrinkled and then de-wrinkled.
We were in bathing suits of course ;).
Melissa and Auntie Karen, you both totally could have fit, but someone has to be the adults and take care of the children. Melissa, I read your letter and your words gave me the encouragement and love I needed to make my way on this journey. Thank you.
My next stop was Fargo. I didn’t arrive until just before midnight, and I was nursing a pretty good hangover, so my patience were running slim. Thank God I was by myself. I had Pringles for dinner, and I took a couple of Ativan to help me calm my brain. It was at that moment I realized; I am alone.
I am in this for the long haul, and I can do it but wow was I feeling alone and a little regretful for planning this trip. Thank you, Trish, for reminding me I am bad ass and this trip will kick the shit out of my anxiety. I really hope you’re right.
Monday morning I was about to leave Fargo, and I decided I would take a drive downtown just to check it out. It is historic you know. 😉 I was drawn to this park, and it was the strangest feeling. I walked towards the thick green trees, and it was absolutely beautiful. I could see a statue in the distance, and I walked toward it. As I got closer, I realized it was an angel. The statue was an angel of hope.
I felt Nick, and my entire mood changed. I felt safe, and I felt less alone.
I continued down the streets of downtown Fargo and an antique store caught my eye. It was called Red Silo. I went inside and walked around while I sipped on my coffee. I found this cool piece that you hang on your wall, and it’s a bottle opener. It was one of the coolest rustic pieces I have seen, and it said Fargo, even better.
While I was purchasing this item the man behind the counter asked me if I was just out for the day. I said ya and proceeded to tell him I am actually not from Fargo. I told him I was from Calgary, Alberta. He asked me what brought me to Fargo and I told him I was on my way to Nashville. He asked me what was in Nashville and I realized in that moment that I hadn’t really come up with a plan to answer that question.
So I told him the truth.
His reaction at first was a usual one, and he said he was very sorry to hear that but what happened next was something I never expected. I went to give him a $50 American bill, as it cost $49 American. He looked at me and said, “No” and he passed me the item. I said no way and argued with him for a couple of seconds, and he then said something along the lines of, “please take it and keep it as a memory.” I asked him his name, and he said, Todd. He is the owner of Red Silo. I shook his hand, and I left the store in tears.
Todd, I don’t know if you will ever read this, but if you do, know that you set the tone for my trip. Just as I was feeling alone and scared about the days to come, I was given a bit of hope and love from a complete stranger. I am so excited to hang this piece on my wall as a reminder of how many good people there actually are in this world. If you are ever in Fargo, please stop at Red Silo, it really is a cool store.
I hit the highway again and made my way to Minneapolis. When I arrived, I was exhausted. For anyone who plans a solo soul-searching trip, DO NOT, book your hotel at a Casino. It was a beautiful hotel, but the people, and the smoke were not exactly a crowd I was in the mood for. I ordered some room service and watched CNN.
OMG, I realized I am in the country that has Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton running for president. Oh boy. No wonder I have anxiety.
This morning I got a coffee and took a walk on the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis. I had a moment of sadness while I was walking up and down the bridge. Nick would have absolutely loved it. He would have truly appreciated the masonry work and the history behind the bridge because of what his Grandpa did for a living. I want to believe Nick and his Grandpa Norm were with me while I was taking it all in and enjoying the Mississippi River.
I wasn’t quite ready to leave Minneapolis yet and decided to check out Minnehaha Park. I am so glad I did, it was stunning. The waterfalls and fall colors were truly breathtaking, and it really gave me an amazing opportunity to reflect on what I was doing.
I am in Madison, Wisconsin now and I am enjoying a delicious dinner. This is the best I have eaten in two days. I plan to hit up the hot tub afterward and then try my best to get some sleep tonight because tomorrow; MUSIC CITY.
Nashville, here I come, and you better be ready.
I am five days, 22hrs, and 2345.8km in and I am only now feeling a little bit inspired. Hence why I haven’t written anything. I am not going to lie, the last few days have been a complete mess of emotions, and I had a lot of insecurity about all of this, but I am so excited to get to Nashville tomorrow and take in all the country music.
The one thing I have learned so far is I CAN do anything. I have also learned there is a Mcdonalds on this route every 30miles. Unreal.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone and I miss you all. As we get closer to the 14th, remember that this trip is in honor of me and Nick and Friday is going to be a good day. We have to make it a good day. My heart is full, and I know we can get through this.
For those of you at the Edmonton Snow Show this weekend. Please have the conversations of safety. The snow is falling and the season is starting, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about everyone getting ready to head out in the backcountry. I know the mindsets are starting to change and for that I am Thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone and thank you so very much for all of the messages. Those messages mean more than you all know and it is what gets me through this time. Sorry if I haven’t responded to a lot of them.
I love you all. <3
P.S Jennie and Charlotte, you were right. My packing is horrendous, and I should have used a suitcase 😉 My car is still strategically packed, but it’s not quite as convenient as I thought it would be.