25 years ago in June 1995, my best friend and I went on a life-changing journey across Canada (well, the western half at least). It was my first trip anywhere without my family, I think it was his as well.
We bought a 30-day Greyhound pass, packed our backpacks, and set off. We spent 150+ hours on the bus over three weeks, and hit every major city (and a lot of little road-side truck stops) from Ottawa to Vancouver and back.
We went to prom with a friend in Winnipeg, we spent Canada Day on Prince’s Island in Calgary, we mall-ratted in Edmonton, hiked a mountain in Jasper, were awestruck by the city of glass, and we took a rest in Banff before the long trek home.
We slept on the bus when we could, stayed in youth hostels wherever we stopped, and we met travellers from around the world. When we couldn’t pronounce their names, we would just refer to them as their country (“Hey Germany, where we going tonight?”). They would teach us about their home countries, and help us see our own through new eyes.
We made memories for a lifetime. I would go on to develop a love of travel, and would take those experiences with me everywhere I’d go. We would have many more shared experiences in life, but that trip west is what first truly cemented our relationship.
As the years passed, that trip would be a touchstone in both our lives.
Two and a half decades, our friendship ebbing and flowing as friendships do, we always had that trip, and we always knew that no matter how much time had passed, we would forever be connected through that experience.
Marc passed away suddenly this weekend. We had not communicated in many years, I feel awful about that. But I think of that trip today, as I have many times over the years, as I know he did as well. That trip would shape our friendship and our lives together and apart.
What a long and crazy trip it’s turned out to be.
I miss you buddy.
Rest in peace.