Monday, February 09, 2009

The Beginnings of Wanderlust

I have been thinking about the origins of my wanderlust. Definition of wanderlust: a loanword from German to English that designates a strong desire for or impulse to wander. Perhaps it began with my parents who wandered quite far from home. When I was about 3, my parents moved to northern Manitoba as the jobs were scarce in the south. I am supposing that this is the equivalent of going to the oil rigs now. Or going West for the Gold Rush. I don't know if they planned on staying in the north forever, but to a teen wanting the action of the city, it felt like forever. The city was far away. To go to Winnipeg, the biggest city in the province, took 12 hours by Grey Goose Bus and 16 hours by Canadian Pacific. But really, it was cars that were the chosen mode.

When I was a teen, everyone saved up for a car. My best friend bought a brand new Pinto, a baby blue colour, as soon as she could save up from her job at the hospital as a nurse's aide. We did a lot of riding in that car. There was the typical touring around town to see what was happening. There was the beach on Sundays. There was supper at the drive in. And we also drove to other towns and partied in gravel pits. Cars were a high priority.

As soon as my brothers were old enough, they were either driving around in their cars or tinkering with them.

I left for the lights of the city after graduation when I was 18, not yet able to afford my own car. My travels then were mostly on the bus to and from Winnipeg, very often the night bus. Very often arriving in town several hours before it was time to go to work. The journeys on the Grey Goose were long, and full of misadventures - which was the first topic of conversation when I saw my mother. She was very curious about what I had found along the way. And then I went back to The Pas where I grew up.

When I was 19, I finally got my own car, and the freedom that went with it. It was a Ford Custom 500, which had an 8-cylinder engine, as did most of the cars worth a plug nickel at the time. With a monthly car payment, and gas at 50 cents a gallon, I was officially an adult, and ready to explore the world. And during the next few years, I saw a lot of - Manitoba. I went to the Swan River Rodeo, the Ukrainian Festival in Dauphin, Jenpeg while it was being constructed. Jenpeg, interestingly enough, is built on the Nelson River. I travelled through the Interlake to get to the big city at first before the shortcut was built, and then Highway #60 was built across the top of Lake Winnipegosis.

Here is the old stomping grounds.

My siblings and I went to see these guys.

Yep, there was a lot to explore in our own backyard.


No comments: