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Posted by on Apr 4, 2012 in Canada, North America, Travel Info

How Rural Canadian Life Prepares you for Global Travel

How Rural Canadian Life Prepares you for Global Travel

Rural life. Boats, Canoes, Lakes, Baits, Hooks, Fishing, Fires, and Fun

I come from the centre of Canada; a little place called Thunder bay. Most people discredit the city as not worth seeing, and label us as “hicks”.  But living in rural Canada prepared me for Global Travel in many ways I wouldn’t expect – don’t discount your upbringing for how it can help prepare you for life and Global Travel. 

I moved to the big city – ok, I moved to Ottawa, Canada with a population of less than 1 Million – but that is BIG in Canadian terms. And people would laugh and joke about what I would do growing up. It wasn’t until I left to travel that I realized these “skills” which I was unaware of – really do come in handy around the world.

So what ARE these skills?

Dropping Trow behind a Tree

Now those trees are what I call PRIME bathroom spots! (Actually this is a national park with toilets – but those trees; I’m still eyeing them up)

I grew up going to camp most summers and on weekend. We lived in tents, went fishing on the lake to catch our meals, and cooked said meals over a fire or a propane stove. Were there toilets? NO. Thus, the plethora of trees surrounding this camp oasis was my bathroom. Proper stance and appropriate foliage for wiping are all skills I grew up learning. This comes in handy while around the world and  they either do not HAVE western style toilets and have the squat toilet, or you;re on a long bus ride and the only toilets they offer are pull overs to the side of the road. My 4 day Salar de Uyuni tour in Bolivia consisted of toilets between the hours of 21:00-06:00, thus the entire day, the salar de Uyuni was my toilet – not being worried people would sneak up on me or worried I’d pee on my own feet – this is one skill I’ll always appreciate having.

Small Cities mean Small Sites

The Newest addition to Rural life; Art – or what the normal rural folk refer to as “Balancing Shiny Baubles”

And by small sites I mean almost none. Thunder Bay has the exciting tourist destinations of the Marina with its Ojibwe talking pole as well as a laser-tag game. We do not offer much else. We also have fantastic views since the buildings do not reach higher than 2 stories, thus I can see the surrounding mountains while driving up a main road. How did THIS help me travel? This means everything, I mean EVERYTHING, is exciting and new. This is 500 years old? That’s older than my County! Wow – that building has 50 floors? Incredible. This was a temple built out of white marble in honour of your late wife? Holy, we barely have churches in my city! The awe-inspiring sites that dazzle everybody’s eyes are that much more exotic to us Rural town folk. We have so much more to appreciate when abroad in comparison to our Wal-mart and a few parks.

Spiders, Mosquitos, and other Bugs? No Biggie.

Camping, camping, camping; it taught me a lot of life lessons. Including how to string a leech on my hook, catch a fish, filet said fish, and throw its guts away for the bears to eat. It also means spending lots of time outside. Mosquitos? check. Spiders? Check. other creepy-crawly things? check. I am not saying this makes the bug family my best friend; but it squash any fears I may have developed by not being exposed to them. So the spiders in my shower, the cockroaches everywhere, and the rats chewing the garbage all become a little less jump-and-shrill-scream inducing for me. Does being around bugs prepare you to EAT bugs? No – this is one travel food nothing can prepare you for.

An 8 Hour 1-way drive? “Weekend Destination”

The closest thing to me, in this tiny town, is Winnipeg. An 8 hour drive West. Or for those who do not calculate distance in hours – it is 695 km West. Us Rural folk consider this distance to be a weekend getaway. We will hop in our vehicles, drive 8 hours on Friday night, hang out Saturday/Sunday and drive back on Sunday evening. That is 1390 km drive for a 2 day trip. This is considered reasonable for us. How does this help a global traveller? 8 Hour bus rides, 10 hour boat trips, or 14 hour flights; those are NOTHING for us rural folk. We now how to keep ourselves entertained for these distances and come out NOT feeling like the drudge of the world. This is extremely handy in countries where distances are shorts but bus rides are endless. We simply switch on our weekend-trip mentality and away we go.

Weather Adjustments come Naturally

 

Why does everybody laugh and joke about Canada’s weather? Because it is bloody cold. But that is just it; I’ve lived through it and I’ve survived. I’ve grown accustomed to -35 celsius weather. How does this help a traveller? When the weather turns South – I’ve always seen worse. When the nights drop to zero celsius; I put on my jacket and laugh at all the people shivering. Does it help me on a rainy day? No. Does it mean I can deal with a cold night without feeling like my travels are ruined? Most certainly. It also means I can adjust to the abuse to air conditioning in most Asian countries. Hot Weather? That is another story – I sweat like a pig and try not to get sun stroke; but who doesn’t?

 

So although people discount rural lifestyles for their lack of “culture” and big city advancements and opportunities; Rural life equips you with many skills that have proven time and again to be highly valuable to the Global Traveller.

 

2 Comments

  1. I deeefinitely agree on the long drives! People always look at us as if we’re nuts to do long bus rides abroad, we see it as a normal part of the trip! And btw, you lived in Ottawa?! We’re from there!

    • haha Exactly. Here I am going 8 hrs? PERFECT – I can sleep all night! Yeah I went to the University of Ottawa! I saw your partnership with the Ottawa Citizen – nice job! I am a huge fan of Canadian bloggers – I have nothing AGAINST others – I just all have a preference for reading Canadian bloggers! 😀 You two included!!

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