The Walkabout


So, it looks like I have something in common with the Australian Aboriginals… I’m on a walkabout.

I consulted several sources about the term “walkabout”. In the context of Australian Aborigine, a walkabout is a right of passage for an adolescent male when he follows the paths of his ancestors through the Outback for a period of up to six months.

Okay, so I am not an adolescent male, but at least I can chalk it up to a walking journey around the world. When I think back to July 1st when this trip began in Iceland, I’ve seen, experienced, dreamed, laughed, learned and discovered so much more than I could have ever imagined. I can certainly say that it has profoundly changed and educated me.

A walkabout, I am quite sure, is to teach young boys about their natural environment and their role in it. The Outback is a rough and unforgiving meridian. For this reason I am thankful that I am only on a walkabout in the proverbial sense.

My walkabout began rather ironically on a jog through a Toronto cemetery where my great-grandparents are buried. (This sounds morbid, but actually it is right beside my work and it is one of the few places that you can run uninterrupted in the downtown core. Though it does give you a good perspective of our finite nature.) And it was here that I realized that I was just running in circles. For the past seven years I had been waking the same streets seeing only the things that I wanted to see. And it was at that moment that I knew that I had to leave.

In many ways I’m like a kid always testing my limits. Ever since I can remember I have tried to run away from home. First it was to the garage, then it was to the end of the drive way, a short visit to a neighbour’s house, and by the end of the week I had made it to the farthest side of the street. In my parents’ defense, they were wonderful. Always laughing, giving and loving. It’s never been about escape… I always knew I would return again. I guess I just wanted to see what was beyond the edge of the sidewalk.

And all this time later I am on the other side of the world in OZ, meeting other like-minded travellers. They all hold in common that there is something out there that is worth sailing away from the safe harbour for. I may never act my age, but at least I’m feeling a bit closer to it now.

Through the chaos of the arrival and departure gates, time and altitude changes, sleepless nights and endless days, I am eternally anchored with each changing of tide. I am still that little girl that will always wonder what is beyond the end of the street, but I know now that best way to see things is to find them as they are and not as I would like them to be.

And if you asked me about the other things that I had learned I would probably not have a ready answer for you. But, if you would forgive me, I will borrow a line and tell you: “I know nothing but I know myself.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald This Side Of Paradise



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