Before leaving Tofino, I stopped by an outdoor market selling locally made items. It was small, but I enjoyed walking around. I went to a restaurant, sat at the outdoor bar, and ordered a poke bowl. Afterward, I got some ice cream at a small shop next door. The girl told me that the power was going to be out the following day, so most businesses were closed. She was discounting her ice cream before it melted.
Most people in the town were at an all-female surf competition. I drove by the entrance to the competition, but there wasn’t anywhere to park. I kept driving and hiked to a beach with beautiful views.
My next Airbnb was in Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, with a metro area population of 367,000. It’s on the other side of the island, so it would be just over four hours to get there. Part of the drive was going back the way I had come, but this time I was able to see it in the daylight.
At one point, I pulled over on a gravel shoulder to take some pictures of a lake. I left my car running and crossed the street. I noticed a small path leading to better views of the lake, so I hurried down to take some pictures. The lake was picturesque. It was huge and clear, surrounded by blue mountains.
I saw evidence of a recent campfire fire and started to feel creeped out – like someone might be living out there. Just then, I heard a car door. Panicked, I realized I left my car running with all of my stuff in it, and couldn’t see it. Adrenaline kicked in as I started to run back up the small hill to my car. I yelled at myself, “You aren’t in the isolated Yukon any longer!” Relieved to see my car still on the shoulder of the road, I saw that a fisherman had just pulled up and was getting the gear out of his car.
I continued my drive and noticed signs proclaiming that you are not allowed to hold up five or more cars. If you are, you need to pull over and let them pass. I was grateful for the opportunity to see the beautiful drive this time. The road wound its way around large boulders to my right and a lake to my left. I couldn’t believe all of this was on an island.
As I drove, I thought about where I’d go next. I knew I needed to be in Los Angeles soon for some doctors’ appointments and a friend’s birthday, but I also needed time to catch up on my writing. When I left California, I knew I wanted to see Canada, Alaska, Thailand, Australia, and Eastern Europe. But I wasn’t feeling it. My gut was telling me it wasn’t the right time to go overseas.
It isn’t easy to decide where to go when you can go anywhere. There’s immense pressure not to make the wrong decision. I also realized that traveling long term meant that I might not be able to date. If I traveled for two years, that meant no dating for two years. I had already been single for a year and a half, but it seemed much longer because I felt alone and unloved in the last few years of my marriage.
Then I thought about the movie, The Holiday. Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz do a house switch between LA and the English countryside. They are both fishes out of water, which is hilarious. Then, they each meet a man that’s just right for them, while also discovering more about themselves. Life can be like that, right? I could meet someone while traveling?
I arrived at my Airbnb in the dark, and it was slightly drizzling outside. I was renting a room inside a house, but it had its own little studio-like area. A door separated the living room from my apartment, including a bedroom, bathroom, and a small living space.
I met the owners – a young husband and wife with a toddler and two giant labs. We said our hellos and the wife showed me my space. I grabbed my bags and had to walk from the front door through the living room. The husband was playing video games on the large TV, and wearing headphones while saying “f*ck” a lot. The wife was folding laundry in the kitchen while also taking care of the toddler.
As I relaxed in my little living space, I could hear the husband playing video games for hours. I felt sad for the wife. This sort of marriage is so common. The woman takes care of the house and child while the husband plays games. I am aware it’s not always like that. Sometimes it’s the man doing all of the work, and sometimes people have very happy marriages with shared responsibilities.
My marriage was similar to this couple’s arrangement, only we didn’t have a kid. Even though we both worked full time, I did most of the housework while he watched TV. Even though I get lonely at times, this was a good reminder to me that I do not want a relationship like that. I would much rather be alone than be in a boring, monotonous marriage, doing the same thing over and over, in something that resembles a business arrangement more than a marriage.
I know every day can’t be exciting, and there is comfort in being still with a loving partner. But we get such a short amount of time on this planet, and I don’t want to spend it like that. Waiting for the kid to grow up or waiting to retire. I want to live the life I believe I was created to live. I don’t know if I will live to be 100, but if I live my life the right way, it’ll be great no matter how many years I get.
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