(By Becky Martin – Kitchener, Ontario, Canada)
We had just gotten married. I was all of 25 years old; we had moved back to Canada from Taiwan after 2.5 years. We were young, we were in love, we had inflated egos, we could do anything.
We had only been back in Canada for a month and we had no plans for jobs, where to live, or what the next few years were going to look like, let alone the next few weeks. So, we thought it a grand idea to pack up our worldly possessions and do a cross-Canada trip for our honeymoon. Craig had never seen the B.C. mountains, now was a good a time as any, so off we went.
We took 14 days to drive out to Vancouver, and along the way we had many highs and lows.
Excited and giggling we had set up our tent to camp for the night. After having blown up our queen-sized air mattress, Craig was goofing around and it got punctured by a stick. We were able to patch it, but as the night wore on, we sank to the hard ground.
Another night, another campground, two love birds set up camp again, only to be nearly blown away and torn apart by a fierce summer storm that ripped through the open campground.
Having enough with camping, we rented a themed hotel room and we very much enjoyed the hot tub, the rooms service, and well, erm, our honeymoon.
The next morning, tittering and stumbling in each other’s arms, we went back to our car only discover it had been broken into and we needed to stay another night in town, however, not in the romantic hotel.
Attempting camping again, in the badlands in Alberta, we had the campground to ourselves. After a really cool tour, hungry and enjoying our bonfire, Craig decided we could heat up the brown beans without opening it and putting it in a pot. It was only minutes before it exploded and boiling bean caught me under the chin and rained into the trees above us.
By the time we made it to Vancouver we had had enough of adventures and travel. We simply could not face getting back into the car and driving again. Instead of taking a few days and resting and touring Vancouver, we came up with the brilliant idea of finding an apartment and living there. Good a place as any, we thought.
It took six months for us to finally give up. Vancouver was extremely expensive and hard to find jobs. Since we were from Ontario, our education was not accepted by B.C. and so working in our field was not going to be easy or even possible.
We gave our notice and one cold March morning at 3 a.m., we rolled out of town and headed back to Ontario. Elated with our decision we took only four days to return instead of the 14 we took to get out there. Upon entering Ontario, we breathed a sigh of relief and felt happy to back on familiar territory… only to be pulled over for speeding. Sigh.
I’ve learned over the years, and through the many experiences I’ve lived through, that the goal of life is not to be happy. Happy is only one state of being. In fact, I think great despair can be created if the goal is only happiness. I’ve learned that there is tremendous value in life’s curve balls, virtues to be had in navigating uncertainty, strength to be discovered in grief, loss, depression and anxiety. It’s learning to ride the waves of the ebbs and flows of life instead of swimming against it, or shaking my fist and shouting to the stormy clouds above me.
I’ve learned that bouncing an air mattress on your head is not the best idea, albeit funny. Not to cook beans in the can, though it still makes us laugh today. Don’t leave a portable CD play out in plain view in your car, but themed hotels are a lot of fun. Exploring labour laws and job opportunities in a different province is a good idea. But none of this has stopped me from exploring, trying, living and embracing the wide and diverse gamut life has to offer.
Your turn! What lessons have you learned from life’s awesome and absurd moments? Share you stories with us and help us grow our collection of teachable misadventures.