Americas

Canada from a Greyhound’s perspective.

Every journey I have taken in the 9 months I’ve been in Canada has blown my mind. Even if it’s the 50th time I’ve made that journey or the one and only, it’s never failed to impress me. Every corner that you go around you’re faced with yet another lake surrounded by evergreens and perfect sparkling glitter of the water. There is my daily bike ride to work which I absolutely love doing every morning. Never has a journey to work been so enjoyable-an immeasurable contrast to riding the tube every morning! Cycling along the tree lined streets as the morning sun is warming up and over the river glinting as it lazily makes it way to the sea. The second half of the journey is along the river’s edge looking over at parliament. It’s so tranquil at this time of the morning and just an absolutely beautiful way to spend each morning!

And then there are all the Greyhound buses that I take to get between Ottawa and Toronto and other Ontarian places. There is so much open space in Canada and farm land which means that all bus journeys are made up of a lot of countryside postcard images. From the craggy rock roadsides and bright wild flowers, solitary mailboxes with no houses in sight to the ragged Canadian flags proudly flying…the Canadian country side is simply stunning. Long straight empty roads stretching around the corners and into the distance, partly secluded by the trees and rocks-inviting you to continue on to see what will face you over the next hill. Wooden fences marking off the unknown and gates leading to seemingly nowhere, it’s all so intriguing! An abandoned tractor, or lone cow; little streams to huge lakes, derelict wooden farm buildings-its all has its own quaint character and countryside charm-and yet so different to the rolling hills of the English country that I also love so much.

Steaming past road signs with ridiculous mileage to the next city or destination, but nothing matters, because it’s all just time to sit back and watch the world rolling by. And this is only a teeny tiny corner of Ontario that I’ve bussed around-if I drove for 18 hours, I still wouldn’t have broken the province border. It would take a week of solid driving to get across the country, across the flat land of the prairies to the beginning of the Rockies and onto the Pacific. So many Canadians have told me that before I leave I must take a road trip right across Canada, from the Atlantic to the Pacific just to see the sheer beauty of this incredibly varied and landscaped country. There have also been instances where I have been told to not bother going all the way across, but to just fly to Calgary and to take the drive from there, and that’s because they have never made the full journey themselves and therefore don’t know of its anticipation that grows as you cover each mile of the prairies, edging closer to the vast mountain range. As you have probably gathered, I love long journeys. I find them thoroughly invigorating and a great way to see a country, even just as a temporary measure before you ‘travel’ the same route. I personally find that a bus journey can often take the same amount of time as when having to check in for your flight 2 hours in advance, go through security, battle the crowds of the duty free shoppers and then the same all again at the other end, whereas for a bus, you simply show up for the bus (ok, probably also about an hour before), buy your ticket and walk onto the bus where you plug in your music and gaze at the scenery…so much more stress-free! (admittedly, I’m from a small country when you drive anywhere within a few hours!)

This attitude has led me to my next adventure…granted, a bus journey which I think will push even my patience for the road! When I was 12 my family went to the states for a month to visit relatives in Florida and Texas, which led us to driving across the south and then down into Mexico. Fast forward 13 years and I’m making the same trip, except switching Mexico for Canada! I’m excited to revisit the places we visited to see how I remember them and how they’ve changed; but more so to see how my approach to the trip will be different. And I’m excited to see the 3rd side of the triangle I’ll be traveling back into Canada.

Crazy as most people think I am I think I’ll have a fun adventure…more to follow!

Claudia Guest
A traveler all her life, Claudia was born in Germany and raised in England. She regularly visited various countries around Europe and the Americas, but it was when she was 18 that she really discovered her own overwhelming lust for travel. As soon as she finished school, she and two girlfriends backpacked through Italy, Southern France and Spain. Five months later she was back on a plane for a two-week sailing holiday in the Caribbean and a week after returning from that she was on another plane bound for Australia, where she traveled for three months, before going to teach English in Ecuador for four months. From there, she studied at university in England, traveled to Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, and then headed to Canada on a work visa, where she is today. This summer, Claudia is working on a tourist cruise boat in Ottawa…yet constantly feels Asia calling her back. Try to keep track of where she goes- or just look up in the sky, where she’s most likely bound for somewhere new!

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