I’m A Travelin’ Man

Chaos in Print

It seems like everyone in my life has done some traveling as of late. There’s my sister, who spent the summer backpacking in Europe. There’s Streiff, who returned to his native Newfoundland by rail back in December. And then there’s Chuck, who spent New Years in New Orleans. All this time, I have been in my parents’ basement; landlocked, as it were. Like all these people, my heart yearns to travel; to boldly go where I’ve never gone before.

That’s what I’ve come to admire about a lot of anime. A common theme is that of the journey. While still very new to the anime world, a lot of what I’ve seen has involved people on quests. Not even quests, just traveling. Even something as mainstream as Pokémon. We’ve got Ash, who’s on his “pokémon journey.” What’s really unique about that show is how they travel. We don’t see Ash, Pikachu and Misty on a bus, or in a car. They are walking. They are out to savor every moment of the journey. It’s always been said that getting there is half the fun. So, what about those journeys where you don’t get anywhere? But I’m starting to stray off topic.

The fact is just about everyone I know has gone on a journey of some kind or another. So, I would like to lay out for you the definitive list of everywhere I’d like to travel:

Glendon, Alberta – What is the draw of this little tiny town? Why am I drawn to this place in the middle of nowhere? Simple. It is home to the world’s largest pyrogy on a fork. Ever since it was unveiled in the early 90’s, I’ve known I wanted to go there and see the pyrogy. Hell, if I had a little more money during these unemployed days, I’d go off on a road trip to see it. Drive all the way there, see the pyrogy, spend a night at the Pyrogy Motel, and come home the next morning. Yes, sir. The world’s largest pyrogy.

Toronto – I don’t know why, but the capital of Ontario has always had this strange pull on me. I just want to go there. If nothing, to see the view from the top of the CN Tower. I’m sure there’s more to do there, but that’s the main reason. That, and there’s Speaker’s Corner, where I could tell MuchMusic to bite my shiny metal ass in person.

New York City – Because if I can make it there, I can make it anywhere. But seriously. There’s a deep-rooted reason why I want to go. This goes all the way back to high school. There was this guy I knew. 85% of the time, he made fun of me. The other 15%, he tolerated me. This happened during that 15%. He was going on about how he never wanted to go anywhere. And I said “Oh really? There’s no where you want to see?” And he said “Well, where do you want to go?” The first place that popped into my head was New York, so I blurted that out. To this, he replied “Are you nuts? Haven’t you read anything about New York? You’ll get the crap kicked out of you! You’ll get mugged! And Mark, since you are such a wuss, you’d probably get raped and killed in an alley.” That’s honestly what he said. So, I’ve got to go to New York if simply to say “Screw you!” I always wonder if he was showing genuine concern for me, or if he was projecting his own fears upon myself.

The Olympics – Being a guy who doesn’t like sports in general, you might find this one odd. But you have to admit, the Olympics is more about the experience than the sports. I’d probably want to go to a Winter Olympics, because it has more sports I tolerate (hockey, ski jump, bobsled). Who knows? If the fates smile upon our country, I may not even have to leave Canada. I’ve been reading that Toronto is one of the finalists to host the summer games in 2008, and Vancouver is one of the finalists to host the winter games in 2010.

BotCon – Oh, come on, who doesn’t want to go to the annual Transformers convention? It’s held in a different American city every year. I think this year it’s being held in the capital of Iowa.

The Gathering – Oh, come on, who doesn’t want to go the biannual Gargoyles  convention? It used to be in New York (because that’s where the show takes place), but I think this year it’s in Dallas, Texas.

The Star Wars World Tour – About the only trip I’ve put any thought into. We’d start in London, England, home to the Pinewood and Leavesden Studios. Most of A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back was filmed at Pinewood, and most of Phantom Menace was filmed at Leavesden. From here, it’s up north to Norway. A glacier there doubled for Hoth. Then it’d be down south to Italy. The Naboo palace in Phantom Menace is a real palace in Italy. Farther south we’d go to Tunisia, which has always doubled for Tatooine. Time for a really long flight, as we head to Sydney, Australia. The newly opened Sydney Fox Studios is going to be the studio where most of Episode II and Episode III is to be filmed. Finally, we’d end in California, where Death Valley doubled for the Sarlac Pit, one of their nation parks was the forests of Endor, and, if possible, a trip to George Lucas’ fabled Skywalker Ranch, which is home to ILM.

Germany – Because I have relatives there, and pretty much everyone else in my family has already been.

Bungee Jumping – OK, this isn’t a trip per se. But it’s something I’ve always wanted to try, and it seemed appropriate to stick it on this list. Some day, when I have the money, I’ll head to that tower in the World Waterpark, drop my $60, and do it. I wonder if they still give you a free T-shirt.

And now, the big one:

My County By Rail – Rail travel has always had a certain mystique for me, and I’ve always wanted to see Canada, my homeland. We live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and I haven’t really seen that much. I’ve covered just about every square millimeter of Alberta, been as far east as Regina, and as far west as the Okanagan Valley. Everything else is unseen by my eyes. So, here’s the plan. I get a CanRail pass so I can travel by train as much as possible. Problem is, Via Rail really doesn’t cover that much of the country anymore. I can’t go through Banff, Calgary, and Regina. Newfoundland has no coverage whatsoever! So, I’d also get a Greyhound Bus Pass, and take the bus where the train doesn’t go. With transportation covered, I’d borrow my sister’s huge traveling backpack, hop on the Via in Edmonton, and just go where the road takes me.

Well, there you have it. To end, I’d like to quote the book The Lord of the Rings. Of course, it’s been a while since I’ve read it, so I’m really paraphrasing. Anyway, in it Bilbo turns to Frodo and says “The road is like a river. And every country road, city street, and pathway are its tributaries. It is very easy to get swept away.”