(ANCASTER, Ont.) — When things become good for a while, it’s easy to get complacent. While I was in London, Ont., I was parked in the driveway of an amazing, friendly woman, and I got used to having to someone to care about my day and to joke with. Here, in the village of Ancaster (near big, scruffy Hamilton), I’m parked outside a home belonging to Paul, the editor of a Canadian naturist magazine. He is a sweetheart. He’s letting me stick around for a while until I get some of my writing done, and he is very much concerned with whether I get enough to eat and have a good place to work. This kind of caring and help floors me. I don’t expect it, but my God, it is great to have.

Kerri-Anne and her daughter, Emma, were my awesome, sweet and warm hosts in London.

Kerri-Anne and her daughter, Emma, were my awesome, sweet and warm hosts in London.

This represents a new way of thinking for me. When I left on this trip, I kind of imagined myself as a cowboy, being on my own, facing the tough world and pushing through my fear of it. Now, that’s only part of it for me. I feel lucky now, not embarrassed, when someone is willing to help me out. It is rare and special, and I might just finally feel comfortable enjoying it.

I know when the shift came. It was almost a week ago, back when I was in London. I met a guy and was immediately intrigued by him. He was at a pub and was tall and lanky and wearing 3D glasses. It turned out that he is friends with seemingly all of my host’s friends, and a plan was devised that he should come to her house soon and hang out with her, me and another guy and watch movies. The next night, he arrived with homemade profiteroles, and the four of us went through Once and Before Sunrise, both of which make spontaneity and creativity look like utter magic. Those are the kind of films that make you fall in love, and so I did, in a way, with him. After the TV was turned off, it was past 3 a.m., and he and I started a conversation that lasted until the morning. I won’t go through the details because some of them are embarrassingly raw to me, but the end result was a real dialogue that touched my heart. Our interaction was completely platonic, but we did fall asleep together on the floor, and he did hold me for what felt like hours. I had no idea how much I needed that.

Yet I did. I needed someone to hold me without expectation on either of our parts. I loved hearing his stories. Unbeknownst to me, I needed someone to tell me what it was like to own a house, to have been married once, to bike around Italy and not talk to anyone for days. It was weirdly perfect, and I can’t imagine my trip without him.

A spot of forest at London's University of Western Ontario.

A spot of forest at London's University of Western Ontario.

So, the idea that this journey is truly about solitude really is silly. Being lonesome and being able to be by myself is all part of it, of course, but so is every human interaction I have along the way. From this aforementioned fellow to the Macedonian lady working in an A&W who gave me directions yesterday, I’m beginning to realize how much everyone I meet matters. I’d like to believe that I have always known this, but now it’s crystal clear. They are as much a part of my trip as I am. It feels good to finally put that to words.

(Note: I’d like to give a special thanks to Stephane, Kerri-Anne, Stephanie, Paul, Dave, James, Sookie, Michael, Richard, Melanie and Nicky, among so many others)


5 comments to It takes a mess of help to stand alone

  • Dog…squirrel…dog…squirrel…not sure if I can tell the difference in this case.

  • admin

    Squirrel. Those London squirrels were so aggressive. I wish I could have included a shot of me running from them, because I did.

  • mg

    Truly great…the people journey. Hey, but have you wowed ‘em with your awesome baking yet? You could make a million. And, what a surprise upon picking up an InsideOutside SW mag in a bike shop in Cortez to find a terrific article on the land of the red rocks with your byline! Yea! Keep ‘em coming. Enjoy that journey; hope to see you down the road!

  • Jessica

    Did I ever tell you what a great writer you are? I love the blog. I’m glad that Canadians are getting to experience Stina-awesomeness! But Colorado misses you!

  • colette

    Read your article in London’s citywoman. As European citizen temporary living in London (and prior in Seattle) I love to read your blog and your experiences while traveling this great continent. Enjoy your trip!

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