|Photo by Linnea Strom.|
The drive up to Vancouver, BC was, thankfully, uneventful. Six hours of rain and a wee bit of snow. One stop at the gas station just before crossing the border and a stop at a Hagen's to grab a salad for lunch. Before I knew it, I was at the border.
It was the first time I'd ever used my passport, which was exciting and nerve wracking to me. The border crossing officer asked me what my purpose was for visiting Canada. I told him I was visiting friends. Then he asked me where I was going. I gave him the street address to where I would be staying. “Who are you visiting?” I gave him my friend's name. “And where are you going?” I thought to myself, “Am I not speaking clearly enough?” so I spoke slowly and gave him the address again. He seemed fine with my answers, handed me my passport and sent me on my way. I was about a mile from the border when I realized I had only given him the street address of where I was going and never told him the city.
Nerves. They sure can make you a wee bit stupid at times.
Shortly after crossing the border I stopped at a bank and withdrew some Canadian currency so I had some in my pocket. It was interesting to notice that the quick cash option that we're used to in the states as $40 was $60 up there. Then the bills popped out of the machine and I instantly thought, “It's so shiny!” One of the newer bills was partially see through, too. After ogling it for a moment I continued on my way to my first photo shoot of the day.
After a couple of wonderful photo shoots in two beautiful parks, one in Port Moody and one in Vancouver, I spent the evening enjoying the company of old and new friends. I also learned that the legal drinking age in British Columbia is 19, which explained why I felt so very old at the bar that night.
Sunday was spent driving from one photo shoot to the next and having lots of fun with the participants. After a low key evening at a friend's house that night I got up Monday morning and stopped at the Cultch to check out SD Holman's exhibit, “Butch: Not Like The Other Girls”, which was pretty amazing, then headed home. Before crossing the border I stopped for coffee and a brief moment of calmness on the coast at White Rock. Beautiful little town.
Perhaps it was because this was my first experience out of the states, but I noticed a feeling of somehow being out of place while visiting Canada. It wasn't an unnerving feeling. It was more of just an interesting observation. I was traveling alone in a “foreign” country and the only thing to guide me was my GPS. What in the world did we do before the GPS was invented? Oh yeah. We made a stop at AAA an gathered as many maps as we could.
This trip was a good practice run for me in preparation for the 9 day trip that's coming up. I have to remember to take better care of myself while traveling. Remembering to eat is the first thing. Making time to rest and regroup is another. Quiet time by myself is a good way for me to recharge. I forgot how much energy it takes for me to travel to a place I've never been, meet people I've never met and connect with them quickly so I am able to get good photographs. I love every minute of it, though. It's inspiring and brilliant.
T-5 days until the next big trip!