Things I daydream about on long bus rides (Day 238)

Hello again from Indonesia.  I’ve been having a blast in this country.  Lately I’ve been climbing up volcanos and enjoying some quality beach time.  More on that later.  For a while now I’ve been wanting to write a post on the things I’ve been missing during my 8 months of travel.  Basically, as I’m day-dreaming during a long bus/train/boat ride, these are the things from my previous (non-traveller) life that creep into my conciousness.  I think, many years from now, I will wonder what things from home I craved while I travelled the world.  So, in truth, this post is more for my 47-year-old-self than for you, the reader, but you are welcome to check it out :)

Of course, I miss my friends and family.  That goes without saying.  But, what else is this traveller longing for while touring so far from home?  Here are a few thoughts, in no particular order:

1.  My grandparent’s place in Ompah.  This is where I learned to waterski, sail, fish, snowmobile, canoe, etc, etc.  It is truly one of the world’s great places.  For those readers who have been, I think you will agree with me.

2.  My motorcycle.  All these little scooters here in Asia that they call motorcyles make me think about going for a spin on my own ride.

3.  Being able to walk up to a tap and drink the water.  What a beautiful thing that is.  Almost everywhere in Asia the water simply isn’t clean enough for me to drink.   So, like all the other travellers, I buy bottled water in the stores here and leave a trail of plastic water bottles all over this continent.  It’s awful.  Clean, ubiquitous drinking water must be one of the greatest traits of “first world” counties.  We are lucky to have it back home.  It is one of those things you take for granted.

4.  As many of you know, I’ve been surving most of my adult life on cereal, mostly due to my laziness and lack of cooking abilities.  I used to eat cereal for most meals.  It’s how I keep my scrawny figure.  Due to my distrust of the milk in Asia, I have not had cereal for 8 months!!  About one week into my trip, I started to suffer some “cereal withdrawal”.  For a few days I was really cranky.  But, it passed, and I have been cereal-free for the better part of a year.  Having said that, I look forward to getting back on the wagon in Australia :)

5.  Music concerts.  I have seen some live cover bands at bars as I travel, but it has been a long time since I have seen a real rock concert.  You know that great feeling when one of your favourite bands walks onto stage and rips into one of your favourite songs… I miss The Tragically Hip walking non-chalantly onto the stage and cranking into Grace, Too

6.  To be honest, the thing I miss the most is *playing* sports.  This is how I’ve spent most of my free time in my life and I have been, for the most part, living without it.  I miss snow skiing in general, but mostly backcountry skiing with my buddies… blue bird skies, nobody else in sight, earning our turns in untracked powder.  And dropping out of helicopters :)  What a life!

7.  I miss playing lacrosse, which is weird, as I took it up late in life and I’ve only played about 12 games in my whole life.  But, there is something about running around a field with a ball and being beaten with a stick that is strangely appealing.

8.  Ah, waterskiing.  I miss the feeling when I’m having a good ski day, that effortless type of skiing, when my ski knows what to do.  It carves a smooth arc in the water, then the sling-shot of acceleration behind the boat as my ski knifes through the water.  Killer.

9.  Mountain-biking with my Whistler buddies.  The thrill and fear of biking a line I have no business on.  That, my friends, is a good time.

10. But it’s hockey I miss the most.  I miss being on the ice, wearing the same colour jersey as my teammates, the emotinal highs and lows of it all, the competition.  Surprisingly, I miss winning AND losing.  I love being up 2-1 with 45 seconds left and the faceoff in my end.  The other team has pulled the goalie.  Oh, we have a guy in the box, too.  The guys look at me as they know the game, at this point, is largely in my hands.  I miss THAT moment right there.

Given all the other sports that I play, if there was ever a doubt that I am truly a hockey player deep down, there is no more.

Last winter my hockey team in Whistler and I played a few big playoff games.  Just before the puck-drop of a really big one, as usual, my teammates come, one-by-one, to my crease to wish me a good game.  You could feel the nervous tension/excitement among the players.  One teammate of mine came by and tapped me on the pads.  He smiled; I smiled.  True, we are old men and this is just beer-league hockey, but we love this.  He said to me, “There’s something about hockey that matters.”  I still remember that.  And, a year later, I finally understand what he told me.

Enjoy the rest of the Stanley Cup playoffs :)  I’ll be back soon.  I go now to visit the Land of Aus.

Peace,-Shawn

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