Lao Tzu once said “a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” and what a journey we have had this year.
Our journey started in January and, as I write, it has less than five weeks to go. My wife and I planned for this year for us and our three children aged 10, eight and six years and everything we have dreamed of, and more, has happened to us.
Our journey to Caledon, Ontario, Canada started with a three day wedge in Hawaii for some last minute surf and sun. We arrived in Canada in January amidst the first big snow fall for the season. It didn’t take long for us to purchase and borrow ski equipment and were off on the cross country trails around our house and up to the slopes that were 30 minutes away.
Since that time we have witnessed ice sculpting at Ottawa’s Winterlude, felt the spray of Niagara Falls on our faces, camped at Algonquin Park amidst moose and blackflies, stomped the streets of New York City, and journeyed through Quebec (viva la France).
We’ve been to New Brunswick, PEI, Nova Scotia and Maine (USA) in our tent/camper trailer (our home for the summer), hung our food barrels to ward off black bears while portaging in Killarney Provincial Park, lazed in cottages on Lake Muskoka, laughed off the snow squalls at Christmas parades, and climbed the CN Tower in Toronto.
We rode tyre tubes down the rapids at Elora Gorge, cheered, the Blue Jays at the Rogers Stadium on their way to battling for a World Series baseball championship, kicked the fall leaves, tapped our own maple trees to make our own maple syrup (yum), watched ice hockey, cut our own Christmas tree, made numerous snow men (and women), chopped wood for the fireplace, and interacted with hundreds of beautiful Canadians who get the nod as the most polite and friendly people we’ve ever encountered.
Professionally, I have had the opportunity to get back to grass roots Phys Ed teaching and have expanded my skills by tackling some maths teaching. The staff and students at my school have been welcoming. Along the way I have been involved with PD days, coached cricket (they needed someone who knew something about it) and football (the grid iron type).
The football experience, in particular was an eye opener and one that was a massive commitment (two hours training, five days a week for 12 weeks) and was thoroughly challenging and enjoyable (think American football movies such as Friday Night lights). And, yes, everyone calls you ‘coach’ – even other coaches.
Overall, it has been an amazing experience that we would thoroughly recommend to anyone up for an adventure. Not only has it been a fantastic education for my wife, kids and I, but also it has been a wonderful opportunity to us as a family to cherish time with each other.