Aurora travels to her namesake and revisits her childhood.
I travelled the Pacific Northwest from Oregon in the south, 3000 kms north to the Yukon.
The Northwest coast of Canada and the United States has it all. Huge mountains, rocky lichen covered rainforests and islands touching the sea, and then dazzling white vastness and silence up north. The only sound, my boots and breath, ice crunching underfoot. Quite a contrast to slipping over lichen and wet rocks underneath beautiful Sitka spruce in the rainforest way south.
I travel for nature, predominately. To fill my heart and senses with space, colour and beauty. Yet even in these jaw dropping, wild spaces I experience people and murmurings from my ancestors that remind me of our connectivity with each other. It’s more often than not, reminders of my connection with women. From the present and long before.
During my trip, my dreams and being became preoccupied with my ancestors. They came from this region. I found their stories in dusty library books in Whitehorse. Strange towns along the way. They were Mennonites. A simple, sombre people living a harsh agrarian life in Canada. Experiencing forty below for the first time since my teens reminded me of their frozen path and how hard the simplest tasks in a harsh climate can be. I saw my mother, her sisters, my grandmother and great-grandmother, all gone now, stoically facing their lives in their long dresses and bonnets. Making everything by hand. I acknowledged their remarkable toil and endurance – coming before me, so that I could instead swirl my skirts like a whirling dervish, ecstatic with love and poetry and music. Feeling more like the indigenous people in the great north. The magnificent Dakhká Khwaan dancers. With their proud headdresses and embroidered capes. Twirling, drumming, enraptured, singing deep ancient rhythms. More akin to their kin than my ancestors. Feeling grateful for this transformation in my lineage.
At 2am and forty below, I twirled under the aurora borealis. Night after night. Trying to keep warm, and still feeling grateful.
On the same soil, further south, in Vancouver, Spring was springing , blossoms covering the ground with pink snow. It was here I met my new sisters. We met on a blind date introduced by a dear friend and shared a night of magic and intimacy together. Our lives intertwining quickly, like vines in a forest. No time for small talk, only time for spontaneity and rapture. By the end of the night we had settled on Italy for our next date. Like spring, our new friendship was budding feverishly.
And in the other cities, Portland and Seattle. My partner and I shared rooms and gossip and drinks with old girl friends and our airbnb hosts. Riding bikes recklessly through Portland high on saké and working bike lanes! Skidding on blossoms, already falling from Portland’s pink sky. The whole city on their stoops or bikes intoxicated by the first warm, dry weather in months.
Aah the magic of travel. Meeting my sisters. Both new and past.
Where to stay, eat, do….
Pocket House (Nina and George) from $135
acehotel.com/Portland from $150
Bike happy hours at the Lincoln, Tasty and Sons….
acehotel.com/Seattle from $120
Vancouver, British Columbia
www.airbnb.com from $187
33rd floor sub penthouse (Salar and Fez)
Stanley Park beautiful walking and biking trails
(take Lovers and Tatlow for the big trees)
Museum of Anthropology at UBC for incredible indigenous art and performances
Salt Spring Island, BC
Dirty Northern Public House
Aurora is a traveller first, then feminist, writer, therapist, holiday retreat owner (www.mettaatmyola.com.au) nature lover, recycled design lover and adventurer, who lives in Jervis Bay on the beautiful south coast of Australia. She has a suitcase, always packed, at the front door ( also helpful for bushfires!)
Life Balance = Travel. Nature. Nurture.