This is a continuation from my earlier blog post about my amazing journey to Thunder Bay and back, with the WRWR ride. ( Unfortunately, with my new website, the old blog posts wouldn't migrate here..I apologize for that. Hopefully, you'll enjoy the new blog and this post.) It wasn't just a trip, or a ride, it was a journey..into myself, and so many lessons that the road taught me that are relevant not just to my journey through life itself, but through my journey as a #bossbabe, #bosslady, and small business owner. There were so many things I learned about myself and my relationships to so many people around me..I could literally spend weeks just journaling about it, talking about it, thinking about it, sharing it, sharing literally hundreds of photos (many have been shared on my personal Facebook page) that I would probably never sleep, and neither would anyone listening to me, or reading about it.
Once in a lifetime you have a life-changing experience. I mean REALLY LIFE CHANGING. Something that happens to you that makes you look inside, and reflect, and feel differently about moving forward, and you carry that experience with you, and share it in so many ways. Blogging is only one way, but I've been sharing so much without realizing it..it has truly been a life changer for me.
So, let me continue with the second installment of WRWR2019..
This is Ashley. This amazing young woman hails from the Netherlands, and flew to Hamilton Ontario, where she has family, to join the WRWR2019 ride to Thunder Bay..and back. We met up in London, and rode to Tobermory, where we stayed overnight at the Cape Chin B&B. I can't tell you how much I miss her. As we rode the thousands of kilometers together, we got to know each other, share some life stories, share some fun facts about our countries, and share an incredible experience together. We started as strangers and became not just friends, but sisters in the larger community of women, and women riders.
She's a very accomplished and confident rider, who had to follow anxious, nervous and silly me. I was to lead us from Tobermory to Thunder Bay, and hope we didn't end up in Nanavut, or...the Yukon or something like that. I didn't have a GPS mount on my bike, so...we were winging it, basically. I was supposed to guide us, be the Inukshuk, so to speak, and that was unnerving enough. I'm a terrible lead. I have no sense of direction, and usually end up lost somewhere where there's no signal for GPS, and I end up praying to the travel gods to send me a sign of some kind, like the setting sun..THAT'S WEST..so that I can get my bearings and head in the right direction. Thankfully, from Manitoulin Island to Thunder Bay was one highway that we needed to take..The Trans Canada Highway..with no turns right or left..just stay on the highway and you'll get to Thunder Bay.
This is an Inukshuk. You've probably seen them all over the place, but heading up north, you'll see them along the highways, sometimes even painted bright tribal colours. I've even seen one here in Windsor-Essex, along a county road. Someone decided to put one there, and it's just the coolest thing!
Inuksuk (also spelled inukshuk, plural inuksuit) is a figure made of piled stones or boulders constructed to communicate with humans throughout the Arctic. Traditionally constructed by the Inuit, inuksuit are integral to Inuit culture and are often intertwined with representations of Canada and the North. A red inuksuk adorns the flag of Nunavut. In Inuktitut, the term inuksuk means "to act in the capacity of a human." It is an extension of the word inuk meaning "a human being." Inuksuit have been found adjacent to archaeological sites dating from 2400 to 1800 BCE (see Prehistory) in the Mingo Lake region of southwest Baffin Island. While stone figures resembling human forms are often referred to as inuksuk, such figures are actually known as inunnguaq. You can read more about this at this site: https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/inuksuk-inukshuk .
Traditionally, they were used by the Inuit in the north as directional markers. An Inukshuk in the shape of a person signifies safety, hope and friendship. ... Inuksuit have been transformed into a symbol of hope and friendship that transcends borders to reach people all over the world. That's what it means to me..friendship..community..hope..guidance..humanity. As we rode north, seeing them along the highways, I started to feel something very spiritual going on with me. I started making connections in my mind about the inuksuit in my life, and on this particular journey.
And more photos...this is the Condensed Reader's Digest version of the pics I have. There are just far too many, so I'm picking a few from each part. Besides, pictures will never tell the REAL story of the beauty that we traveled through..you'll just have to go to these places and experience it.
It was a harrowing ride, for me, through Lake Superior Provincial Park, with its twisty, mountainous roads, deep canyons, on-coming transport trucks, and the added worry of moose crossing the road at any time. I white-knuckled it the entire way, saying "holy shit" so many times it became my mantra. When we left Tobermory, my husband asked if we had booked a room somewhere in Wawa. HA! Um, no. The universe will provide. As darkness fell, and I struggled with night vision, anxiety and the fear of running into (literally) wild life, I told myself the very first motel I see in Wawa is where we stop. I don't care if we have to sleep outside (except for..well..BEARS) but we are stopping. And the universe provided. We got the last room available and I could finally breathe. We spent the night drinking a little celebratory wine, and getting to know each other. Morning came, and we were off to Thunder Bay. Once again, I was leading the way, but once in Thunder Bay, Ashley saved the day by finding the right hotel that we were meeting the incoming riders from Manitoba. She became my guide, my inukshuk, once we got to Thunder Bay, and we met up with my other inukshuk, Tracey Rogers at the hotel. I was still recovering from the harrowing ride there. Ashley was having the time of her life, and enjoying the crazy curves and cliffs, calling it a playground for her! Amazing. Simply amazing.
Then, we rode all the way back from Thunder Bay, stopping in Wawa, overnight, on to The Soo, to Sudbury and finally landing in Parry Sound. (More bears....shudder). I have to stop here for a minute and share a few important photos of Thunder Bay, and Terry Fox. An incredible man who did something incredible, and he lives on in memory and the many annual runs dedicated to his vision. His memorial is a modern day inukshuk. I got to see The Sleeping Giant with my own eyes there! I've read about this island and the native legends that go with it in history books in grade school, but to see it with my own eyes was another moment of connection with the universe. Being at the Terry Fox monument, and drinking in the surrounding rugged beauty took my breath away. I'd had my breath taken away countless times on this journey, sometimes from fear ( an on-coming transport drifting into my lane..HOLY SHIT) but mostly from the absolute beauty around me.
From Parry Sound, the ride went to Hamilton. From there, it continued on into Montreal to New Brunswick where the baton would be passed onto the American riders to continue the relay. I went as far as Hamilton, meeting up with everyone there, after a brief ride back to 'Sudbury. (That's another blog post in itself). But, this is what I took away from this part of my journey..
We have many inuksuit in our lives. These guides are usually family, teachers, church elders, and other humans that we find along our journey through life that guide us, give us a sense of community, give us hope, find us when we feel lost, lift us when we've fallen, physically or emotionally, teach us compassion through their own acts, and impart a deep sense of belonging. That we are never truly alone in our journey. That others have walked these paths and left markers for us. My personal inuksuit are my children..they've kept me on the path. My husband who has guided me to being a better human being. My daughter-in-law who planted the seeds of being a small business owner and whose knowledge and experience I rely on to this day. Other small business owners who have become my guides, whether they are aware of it or not. My assistant who keeps me fighting to get through some tough things, or making certain decisions. And my clients. They continue to lead me, guide me, instruct me, teach me, and share so much with me that sometimes my heart aches as it fills up with so much gratitude.
This journey also showed me that I too can be an inukshuk for someone else. Recently I made a sale to another #bossbabe, who I happily share knowledge and experience with to help her become even more successful. She is NOT my competition, but rather a compliment to my life. I enjoy helping others, and finally found my path where I can be helpful in so many ways. The universe has provided me so many opportunities to give of myself, from offering treatments as raffle prizes to fundraisers that align with my ideologies, sponsoring many beautiful young ladies in the #missgalaxycanada pageants, to offering the very best treatments and services to help others feel good about themselves. I honestly believe that we have an obligation to be the inuksuit for others. To cheer them on as they walk the paths we have scraped our hands and knees on as we stumbled and fell and others were there to pick us up. To offer up our knowledge, skills and expertise, or to simply give a hug to someone. This is a global community that we are a part of. Sharing of ourselves only makes this community better, stronger and more compassionate.
I was thrilled when I found this beautiful pin to give to Ashley. I brings tears to my eyes when I think of it, and her, and how much I learned from her and this journey. I miss her terribly, and I hope that when she looks at it she remembers what an incredible time we had together, and with the other amazing women who took part in this relay. I refused to say goodbye at the end of our leg of the relay, saying instead "See you again my friend".
And I will see you again.