Adventures in Trippin’…

Road Trippin’ that is.

About a week ago, my parents helped me load all my worldly possessions into a U-Haul. Well, half a U-Haul. Half of the tiniest U-Haul available. It made my lazy muscles happy that there wasn’t much to load and unload, but it also made me weary to think that I’m starting over. From scratch. Again.

This is the biggest suitcase I've ever traveled with. I'm glad it's on wheels.

This is the biggest suitcase I’ve ever traveled with. I’m glad it’s on wheels.

Well, not exactly from scratch. My parents let me raid their cupboards for things like tea towels and a coffee pot. And I inherited a lovely family chair…which I’ll never get to sit in.

Back off. Find your own chair.

Back off. Find your own chair.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Catticus didn’t discover the chair until after the road trip was over. And this post is about the road trip, so let’s get back to it, shall we? After the truck was loaded and farewell hugs and kisses exchanged, I headed west.

Even though I was listening for the alarming sounds of shattering glass or splintering wood at every bump in the road, the vast expanse of highway was as exhilarating as always. The troublesome worries about starting over fled, and were replaced by the alert serenity that comes with a good, long drive. 

Have I mentioned how much I love driving in the Prairies?

Okay, so I took this picture from the bus…but it’s the same road. 

For the first time in a long time I wasn’t thinking about what I needed to buy, what I needed to do, or whether or not I’d just made the BIGGEST MISTAKE EVER. Instead, I found myself feeling like I was completely in the present moment. I started tilting my head in a slow, magnanimous nod at every car or truck that passed, as if to say, “You may proceed.” And when they pulled back in ahead of me, and neither one of us were in a ditch, I would nod again as if to say, “Well done, fellow Asphalt Wanderer.”

It was peaceful, and almost perfect. The weather was lovely, traffic was light, and the view from the driver’s seat was magnificent, but the music was … terrible.

Normally, I would have a perfect selection of road trip tunes to help compliment the experience. But with a defunct iPod battery and no plug-in options in the U-Haul, I was at the mercy of local radio stations. Local radio stations in a sparsely populated stretch of Canada. Sometimes, I was at the mercy of a single local radio station. Like the one out of Medicine Hat that was only 5 hours in to it’s celebrated 100-hour country music marathon. 

And yet, somehow it fit. I was heading west. On my way to Cowtown. Just in time for a world-famous Stampede. A little bit of optimistic country twang seemed appropriate as I drove past fields of grazing cattle. As evening approached and I pulled over to spend the night in a hotel, I had started to think that the radio might actually be welcoming me to my new adventure. 

At least, that’s what I thought until I hit the road again the next morning. When I pulled back onto the highway, I smiled at the sight of empty lanes stretching ahead of me for as far I could see. I flicked on the radio, almost looking forward to a plucky country tune. Instead, I was blasted with AC/DC’s Highway to Hell. 

Highway to Hell?

Maybe the radio really was trying to tell me that I’d made the BIGGEST MISTAKE EVER. 

Impossible. I might not be a brilliant theologian, but I’m pretty sure Hell doesn’t smell like sunshine, sweet prairie grass and grasshopper farts. 

Because that’s what Alberta smells like. And I love it. 

Who knows, maybe this province will make a country girl out of me after all.

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Adventures in Passion

Don’t worry folks; I’m not going to go all Blog Noir just because I have a snazzy new address. I won’t even mention the love lives of my kitchen lizards again. I think this post is actually going to be about fruit…but I’m only 1 paragraph in, so who knows where we’ll end up.

Passion fruit is in season here now, which is great because I can walk around my house all day saying “PASSION!” as often as I like without sounding like a weirdo. (Well, maybe I still sound like a weirdo – but at least for the next few weeks, I’ll be a weirdo with a reason.)

Woot! Woot! Passion Fruit!

Woot! Woot! Passion Fruit!

I do love that word: Passion.

The linguist in me likes the explosive popping of the ‘p’ paired with the shushing of the ‘ss’. To me, it comes out tasting like smooth dark chocolate flecked with chili peppers, and should be spelled with extra ss’s.

Pa-s-s-s-s-s-ion.

Go ahead; say it out loud a few times. I’ll wait. (Just be careful if you’re reading this at work or Starbucks, or on your iPhone in a public washroom. Things could get kinda awkward really quickly.)

See? It’s not like one of those awful words like slacks or yeast that you try to avoid saying. Phonetically, it’s pretty great. On its own, it’s a good word – but I get antsy when it’s wrapped up in that impossible question:

“WHAT’S YOUR PASSION IN LIFE?”

It’s a question that’s guaranteed to make me freeze. Eventually I’ll thaw just enough to blurt out crazy words at random:

“HOOP-SKIRTS!”

Hoopskirts!

Yup, I kinda want to wear this every day.

“SCUBA!”

Also kinda want to dress like this every day!

Also kinda want to wear this every day!

Or I might choose something from this handy list:

All things awesome, in one handy list.

All things awesome, in one handy notebook.

Don’t get me wrong. Those things are ALL AWESOME. But at the next step in the passion identification conversation, things get tricky. Apparently, once you’ve identified your passion, you’re expected to follow it.

How do you follow a zombie-pirate kitten wearing a hoop-skirt and a snorkel??

Around this point in the conversation, I usually realize I made a wrong turn somewhere.

There are some people who can answer the question easily, and without hesitation. Those people make me think of bananas. They have one, consistent, reliable passion that fits perfectly in their skin and fills their life – and they’re confident enough to wear bright yellow. I’m not a banana.

I’m more like a passion fruit. Kinda lumpy and plain on the outside, (I’m not body-snarking, it’s just an analogy) and a mess of sweet, sour, tangy, mushy softness on the inside that doesn’t quite fit snugly in its own skin. But the messy innards hold dozens of solid seeds that represent things like faith and justice and education and hope and literacy and all the other things that I really am passionate about.

But explaining all that to someone who asks, “What’s your passion?” is kind of exhausting. And comparing yourself to a passion fruit can make you seem like a weirdo. Maybe it’s best to stick with normal answers like hoop-skirts and zombies.

How about you? Are you a banana or a passion fruit?