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Delight and Things

a little peek at what delights me

Everyone loves road trips. The word is associated with wind in your hair, sunny days, the freedom to stop when you want, laughter, and discovery. For me the word also brings singalongs and Doritos to mind (two staples of a good road trip, in my opinion). I was recently thinking about road trips and thought I should record the ones I really want to do one day in hopes that by putting it on paper it would bring me one step closer to actually driving them. That said, road trips generally require a car, and seeing as I don’t have my own and am not yet old enough to rent a car (even though I can drink, vote, gamble, and more…) it may be a while until I get on these trips. But it’s always nice to dream, isn’t it?

1. Across Canada. Yes, I know, I’m from Canada, haven’t I seen enough of it? Truth be told, I haven’t actually been further east than Calgary. I’ve managed to get up north to the Yukon Territory and Northwest Territory (thanks to my parents and two long summers) and was blown away (or as blown away as one can be when they’re a 6 and 8 yr old). But I’ve always wanted to check out the prairies to get a sense of flatness, and to see the change of colour in the far east when autumn hits. I’d love to visit the Francaphonie part of Canada and taste maple syrup direct from the farm. I’d like to eat fresh lobster and be Screeched In by a Newfie (a ritual unbeknownst to most non-Canadians that involves Screech rum, kissing a cod fish, and a sou’wester hat).

2. The Blues Highway, USA. Memphis to New Orleans on Highway 61. Home of blues music, the Mississippi river, full gospel church, Cajun chicken, zydeco, cotton fields, and gumbo. This region has a fascinating musical history and I just feel like there’s something special about the deep south that I’d like to see with my own eyes. It clearly inspired a lot of amazing singers and musicians – imagine the singalongs you’d have on this roadtrip!

3. Route 61, South Africa. My grandmother is South African. She left when she was young and married my grandfather a while later, moving to Canada to be with him. She’s an amazing lady, and every once in a while she goes back to South Africa to see family. I’ve never been, and am curious about all of those relatives I have over there that I’ve never met. I’m also curious about where she grew up and the land that she left. So when I read an article about Route 61, a road trip that winds through South Africa’s mountains, ostrich farms, and wine regions, I knew that it was something I’d like to do one day. It’s not the famous Garden Route but let’s be honest, do we all have to do the famous things? I’m more of a off-the-beaten-track kind of a girl (evidence can be seen in my travels through outback and country Australia rather than the more popular east coast, and by my choice of settling down in small town farming community which is home to only grain silos, an outdoor pool, and a pub). When I make it to South Africa, this road trip will be on the list of things to do.

4. Paris to Istanbul. My parents once rode their bikes through Spain, and during the planning phase came across a bike race? route? that went from Paris to Istanbul. This sounded like a great idea to me – providing I wasn’t riding the bike, but driving along as support crew/tourist. Starting in Paris, I’d indulge in croissants, cheese, and wine, and then cross over the German border, changing my drink of choice to beer. Travelling through the Bavarian region, I’d head across into Austria, then over to Slovakia, then down into Hungary. Hungary would turn into Romania, where I could see for myself the haunting grounds of Vlad the Impaler (my curiosity heightened since reading the book The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova). Next would be Bulgaria, then through to Turkey – a destination I’ve always been keen to explore. I’d finish off with a quick dive in the Mediterranean (every good trip should involve scuba diving). I can only imagine the differences in scenery, culture, food, and climate between all of these countries, and think it would make a brilliant road trip.

5. New Zealand’s North Island. Without sounding like a major Lord of the Rings addict (honestly, I never even finished the book and only ever saw movies 1 and 2) I’d like to drive around the North Island of New Zealand and take some time to really appreciate the scenery depicted in the films. And let’s be honest, Mount Doom sounds far more impressive than Mount Ngauruhoe, does it not? I’d be happy to do this trip as long as I was not actually recreating the Lord of the Rings epic – I’m thinking less cloud cover, less drama, and less evil people at every turn. I would be keen to simply cruise along the roads admiring the variation in geography from the rolling green hills of dairy country to the volcanic formations and geothermal areas from my car window, thanks, with a casual stop for a picnic every once in a while. And I would definitely have to stop to see the famous glowworms and caves – I’ve been told they’re amazing by a friend who grew up near Taupo.

Special Mention: Route 66. Although terribly overfamous, which I’m usually not so keen to see, I have a soft spot in my heart for Route 66 that stems from my mom’s singing of the song when I was a kid, followed by my parent’s purchase of a cabin in the woods which came complete with a Route 66 upholstered chair. (Not entirely comfortable, but iconic in status nonetheless due to the outrageousness of the pattern). That said, this is a “if I have so much time that I’ve seen everything else” sort of trip, because honestly, other than the fond memories of a song and a chair, the route from Chicago to LA doesn’t interest me a whole lot.

I’m sure this list will grow – but it’s a good start for now. If anyone reading this has a brilliant suggestion of a road trip that MUST be done, please let me know, and I’ll add it to the list.

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