After a restful sleep, I woke up to the thought: today is the day. I’m really doing this.
For some reason, it hasn’t hit me as strongly 12 hours ago, or even 8 hours ago. But now, it’s really happening — I’m about to cross Canada with nothing but my tent, sleeping bag, two tiny bags, and GoPro camera. And courage, lots of it.
Frances and I arrived at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, right by the Halifax waterside, and it were greeted by a lovely couple — Terry and Marion Bremner, who are from the Chronic Pain Association of Canada. They gave a a wonderful send-off, including encouraging words of wisdom and support, and it was overwhelming how much they believed in me.
While having a carb-filled breakfast (Halifax has an amazing pain au chocolat!), it really occurred to me that this will be a rather painful experience, especially at the beginning. However, it is a choice I am making — I am choose to experience pain to spread awareness of chronic pain, and be in solidarity with those living with it. As Ms. Lynn Cooper, president of the Canadian Pain Coalition, has beautifully worded,
As Daniel starts off his ride quietly and builds recognition as he goes and gets people joining him and helping him along the way – this is what happens for a person with pain on their journey of living with chronic pain. We always hope that they will gain support but for some, their journey remains solitary and lonely – CPC was formed so that people wouldn’t have to suffer alone and in silence and so they can get help through knowledge, and improve pain management.
While it will be a lonely and difficult experience at first, I know that it will allow me to be learn and give my best to each action I take. My journey will be a beautiful one, and will give me plenty of chances to stand up and be, in some way, an ambassador for those living with pain.
Here is a short message I recorded prior to my departure (in English):
And in French:
And so as I bid “see you soon” to my girlfriend and to Halifax, with the wind embracing my face, I kept on thinking about the many possibilities of this trip. In the end, I told myself, the best attitude for me to hold is to let it all go and give my best. I am lucky enough to be healthy and have the physical capacity to do something as challenging as this, and ultimately, it is all a matter of just telling my mind that I am able to make it — my body and the rest will simply follow.
My journey has really begun! It was not easy — I ran into several difficult roads, fell and dropped by GoPro, dropped some of my belongings, but it was a very energizing first day. One of my tires got flat, so decided it would be best to rest and figure out what I could do with it that night. I ended up in Brookfield, NS — a seemingly deserted yet pretty little village. I camped on one of their empty grounds, and while I was preparing my belongings, there was a man nearby named Randy who needed help with his car, and I offered. We talked, and I told him of my journey and my current situation, and he kindly offered his help. As if it was an act of serendipity, it also turned out that his partner, Fadia, owns a motel nearby, and he offered me dinner and a place to sleep.
They were a very kind couple, and it really proves that kindness is abundant in this world.
What a great start to my trip — I know there’s so much, so much more ahead of me.