Sunday, 10 March 2013


I was born under a wandering star. The need to move, to get out, to explore and experience the world around me has been ever present in my life. I often wonder if this is nature or nurture. As a child my father was in the Canadian Navy, so we started in Victoria, then went to Halifax, then came back to Victoria. After that it was East Vancouver, then Stave Falls, then West End Vancouver, then Burnaby, then back to Mission then over to Abbotsford, and a few brief stopovers in between.

Even within those cities we moved about. In all of my childhood, I never went to a school for more than three years and I went to as many as three different schools in one year. School change was normal, regular, persistent. In order to do thirteen years of schooling, I went to nine different schools.

All that moving taught me a few things. It taught me that there are new and interesting people and places everywhere in the world. It taught me not to fear change and newness, but to revel in it, to find the adventure in it. It taught me that foods taste different in different places, even in different neighbourhoods in the same city. It taught me that life is different for those who travel about.

Moving taught me the frailty of possessions. My dad used to say "Three moves, one fire; same thing". He was right. When you moved stuff got broke. But it was just stuff, unimportant, something you used up in life. Special care and consideration only applied to those few precious things that meant more than what they were.

As a young man I thought all this moving about was bad for a family. After all, my family was fractionated and spread about, filled with divorce, distress and drama. My family was mobile, constantly moving and relocating and finding new places to live. So I set about finding a woman who had never been any place beyond Abbotsford, a woman who was content and even demanded to stay in one place, a woman whose family could be found within a stone's throw of each other.

I pretty much raised my family primarily in one house. My wife's family was always nearby, ever present. My children were born in the same hospital as their mother and their aunts and uncles and cousins. They went to the same school as their grandmother, all of them. They all went to the same high school, had the same teachers, knew each other's friends.

Yet even with that, my children are spread all over the country. My daughter and her husband live in Victoria, another daughter and husband in Abbotsford, another in Toronto, and my son here with me in Calgary. They are all travelers, explorers, people who love the enchantment of far away places. They all know how to build a life no matter where they are.

So perhaps there is no right way or wrong way. Moving about teaches you things; staying put teaches you things. Stability isn't found in staying in one place, it's found inside of yourself, by staying open, true and aware. Stability is not found in where you live, it's found in how you live. Stability is not where you are, it's who you are. Having someone physically close is no indicator of emotional closeness.

Today I am going to get in my truck and go for a drive. I am going to wander. Something interesting will happen. That's the way it works.

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