Monday, 30 March 2015

the road

My daughter's friend Krista recently emailed me for some information about travelling in Cuba. I have been there twice over Christmas-I'm hardly an expert. But I loved digging out information about homestays and restaurants and places to go in Cuba, one of my favourite countries in the world. As I shared email addresses and Tripadvisor reviews, I went on a journey in my own mind back to those family adventures in Havana, Trinidad, Cienfuegos, Vinales and Santa Clara. 

In my mind I revisited crumbling colonial mansions and jungle walks and pristine beaches. I thought about the true "Havana gentlemen" who helped us find accommodation and deal with the police. 

I tasted enormous fresh lobster and ropa viejo and mojitos, still mystified by reports of how terrible the food in Cuba is. I smiled to recall the little goats who pull children around the square in Santa Clara and the funny old baseball star who insisted my daughter dance with him one evening. I laughed when I thought about the bad horse who took my daughter on his own adventure in the hills of Vinales. I think of the wide empty highways we travelled in our rental car. I recall the pride of the Cuban people who stood alone against the United States after decades of embargoes. The incredible art and music in every place we visited. The burning of the effigies to the year past on New Year's Eve.  I know Krista won't love Cuba like I love Cuba, but I envy her journey. 

Tallinn, Estonia
My husband and I met at the Vancouver International Airport on Canada Day 1984. Clearly auspicious. After seven weeks in Shanghai (before people went to Shanghai) we got engaged and shortly thereafter, married. 

As my friends and relatives build up their investments, buy new vehicles every year and renovate their houses, my husband and I travel -dragging whichever of our children we can still convince to come with us. 

I don't know what it is about the road but I love it. The new experiences and foods and scenery and historic sites and art and music. The people-so different and yet so much the same wherever you go. Adventure. Wildlife. Better weather. I'm bored with routine, I know that. 

Mostly there is the feeling that I've never really belonged anywhere. I've always felt like an outsider and I wonder if maybe, just maybe, if I just travel far enough and look hard enough, I will find a place where I fit in. 

If not, the road will always beckon with its promise of something new around the bend.
Gregg Lake Alberta

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