I have been back in North Vancouver for about three weeks now. Lately, the snow has been coming down in heavy dumps and I have been relegated to number 1 driveway shoveler. I'll be leaving for Patagonia in a month. Until then, I'll be training hard in the climbing gym, trying hard to improve my pure power and finger strength.
I can handle the city at Christmas time- it's a great time to reconnect with friends and do some work. Some people can get way immersed in city culture. They get excited about shows, restaurants, and shopping malls. I always feel a little out of place here. I'll always remember a short sequence of photos Sonnie Trotter showed at a slide show years ago. The first shot was of a gridlocked interstate at rush hour in Toronto with city lights glimmering in the distance. The second was of an open highway in Texas at sunset. He said, "which one would you choose?" I would always choose the open road.
I just read a really cool interview with Dan Malloy on phoresia.org. He talks about traveling, and the importance of time at home to resupply motivation. Reading it, I felt he articulated something I always knew but never admitted to myself.
Here's a quote ripped from the site: "What I have learned is that being on the road feels so damn good because all of the important, difficult, and meaningful things in your life are really far away. So you go to this beautiful little town in Spain or Java or wherever and you are up on the hillside watching the sunset just looking at this little town feeling so free."
I love that feeling of being adrift, living out of a backpack or suitcase. I like feeling 'totally off the grid', wandering streets in a strange city. But as Dan says, "it can become an addiction like anything else that will leave you ungrounded if you don’t watch out."
Time at home is important. In the city I get my best, most inspired ideas. It's sometimes hard to stay motivated in the climbing gym, surrounded by plastic holds and artificial walls. But I stay afloat buoyed on my own imagination, always dreaming of the open road.