Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A love of travel fostered

Growing up, we always traveled.  Sometimes it was to visit family members. Sometimes it was because my air force father was posted to a new location.  Pretty much every summer we camped, because a Master Corporal in the air force did not have the kind of money to stay in hotels. 

When I was really small, we had a motor home which my father regretted selling until his final day on Earth.  After that, we got a more practical Chevy Suburban and trailer.  I was born in a small town in Alberta named Cold Lake because the lake was THAT cold. It was a large lake even by the Lakeland region standards and it never warmed up in the summer after being frozen over in the winter.  I spent many, many hours in that freezing cold lake when we returned to live there while I was between the ages of 8-12.  We would camp at the local Provincial Park every summer and sometimes we would just go down for the day.

When we moved to Bagotville, Quebec, we would park the trailer at the military campsite which we had to drive across the runway to access.  I didn't think about it until recent years, but camping could not have been all that fun for my mother who had to cook outside or on our gas stove and do dishes with water she heated on the stove. 

Spending most of my childhood in Alberta, I have many memories of camping in such beautiful regions as Jasper Provincial Park. It was nothing to see caribou wander through the campsite or to see big horned sheep hanging off the edges of the Rocky Mountains. As a child, I did not realize how privileged I was to see such beautiful parts of my vast country of Canada. 

My father was from British Columbia.  At least, he grew up in Vernon in the beautiful Okanagan Valley, the only desert area in Canada.  My husband has told me repeatedly that the Okanagan reminds him of the hills and vineyards he saw when he was on a three week exercise in Sicily with the Air Force. :) 

I feel honoured to have had an introduction to the beauty of various regions through my upbringing.  My mother was from the east coast of Canada as a child, and my brother and I were exposed to life in Nova Scotia when we were still quite small.  My uncle worked on a lobster boat and I remember being horrified by the sight of what looked like giant bugs on the dinner table. ROFL 

I toured old forts, explored beaches and woods and wildlife and learned to have keep an eye out for nature because you just never know when you might see a fox running alongside the highway, or a beaver in a pond or some other wild creature.  My parents have pictures of me feeding a chipmunk before I was school aged for Pete's sake! 

My husband experienced a similar upbringing on the east coast, spending summers on the beaches of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.  I feel that we were very fortunate children and have tried to share our love of travel, in a different form perhaps since we are not really campers, with our wonderful daughters.  It's as intrinsic as my love of music and it is here to stay, along with many wonderful memories. 

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