VIA RAIL – Day 5

My last dinner on the train was spent with my friend Bob, and a lovely couple from Boston, Massachusetts. An absolutely wonderful meal of Pickerel… a fish we used to catch on fond fishing trips with my Grandpa when I was a kid. I had forgotten how tasty it is! Immediately after, I had my last set of music on the train. In total, I performed 11 sets of music in four days of travel. If anything, I am definitely better prepared to share music on the next train back, and hopefully the muscle I pulled in my arm from carrying that heavy guitar case of mine through the tunnel of trains will heal by then! I know – I’m such a princess 🙂

When I woke up this morning, I had mixed emotions… I was totally looking forward to my new adventures in Toronto, but I was not looking forward to saying goodbye to my new friends. What an intense experience! I felt like I grew incredibly close to these folks, and they to me. They started to change their words to me – filled with encouragement, support and reflection on life. Bob had a good long talk with me about my life and future – not really advice – just gentle prodding and some things to think about. I’m going to miss these folks, and will not forget their influence and instant acceptance of me. If I have to hear ‘everything happens for a reason’ one more time, I might just have to believe it!

Upon arrival in Toronto, we ended up being 6 hours late. This really didn’t affect me, except that I was starting to feel a bit agitated in the confines of the train. The extra time gave me a chance to have one last game of crib with Arnie (we called it a draw, as we didn’t quite finish our final game – he was just being nice as it was inevitable he would win!). We filed off the train, said our goodbyes with hugs and kisses, and went our separate ways… I had a tear streaming down my face as I left.

Arriving in rush hour traffic, the bustling city of TO with all its sounds, wall-to-wall people and thick air was absolutely invigorating! I caught a cab to my hotel, which just happened to be only a short drive from the station downtown. Upon arrival and check-in to my room, I was greeted by a beautiful bouquet from a friend back in Calgary, and a clean, simple, inviting room I’ll call home for the next week. I closed the door and admittedly, I immediately broke down in tears – I think this was a combination of a lot of things: exhausted granted, but I think I became overwhelmed with thankfulness for my experiences so far. Thankful for friends; for music which has opened doors to amazing opportunities; and proud of myself for traveling on my own and paving my own path. As my friends on the train kept reiterating: ‘you have your whole life ahead of you.’ …And a whole life behind me, too.