Learning to love loneliness (and hating oatmeal) on a 15,534-mile Canadian trip

A.D. In 2015, free Canadian filmmaker Diane Willan covered nearly 17,000 miles of what is now called Trans Canada Trail, including green roads, trails, and waterways from the Atlantic to the Pacific and the North to the Arctic Ocean. On August 1, at the parent, partner, and company, Wylan, 56, traveled the last few steps to become the first person to complete the next step (reducing a few stimuli) to the three oceans. Land and water. She plans to make a documentary of “500 Days in the Wild,” detailing her six years of experience.

As a documentary director for the Everest base camp and the Arctic voyage, Ms. Willlan experienced extreme weather. But Trans Canada’s journey proved its mental and emotional strength, as well as physical endurance, contact with bears, paddling thousands of miles alone, and countless oatmeal trials. Until the outbreak, her journey included road stops, often in collaboration with other artists in indigenous communities. For the past year and a half, she has worked alone with the help of supplier Luisa Robinson.

A few days before the end of the trail, the boat pulled a boat off the coast of British Columbia, north of Vancouver, to talk about its adventure. The following are excerpts from the discussion, adapted for clarity.

Like a fairy tale, I really liked the metaphor that this is the core that unites us all. When I left, I thought we had at least forgotten all about Western culture as a culture. Somehow, we lose contact with the web of life and the future. I called it an ecological pilgrimage.

I paddled some 10,000 miles (over 6,200 miles). I paddled the great lake. I paddled from Alberta to the Arctic Ocean. And now, I am on the Salish Sea. When I’m not paddling, I’m on the trail. Old railroads are great because they have no slope. In winter, I ski or cross the country, dragging my ski. Some were dirt roads, and in those cases, I rode a mountain bike. Because of human kindness, I have been able to do these things. He was just meeting people, sharing the story, and people were saying, “Hey, Uncle Joe is driving that way, he can take your boat.” It was very radical. I learned this beautiful story from Danny Paul, an elder from the indigenous community, and we are like trees. On top of that, each tree seems to stand alone. All the trees in the underworld are connected.

I like to say that loneliness reveals what the mirror cannot. I was terrified, as any woman in the forest would feel. But that fear was never confirmed, and that fear eventually disappeared. It was a very humiliating experience; In fact, the lake is so humble that it feels like only a fragment of these huge waters. Something ancient woke me up and suddenly, I began to feel more connected with life than ever before. I was not on the paddle, I was with the paddle. People really remind you that they are the .001% life on earth, and we are part of this wonderful web of life. The only thing that kept me from growing in love was ticks and black flies.

After he left, the house became a trail. For the first few years, I tried to get through the winter. One of the elders I met wrote to me, a Cray woman, and we did not travel in the winter. That’s when you create art, share stories, prepare food. After that little wisdom, I went out of the way for about five weeks this summer. Not at all about athletic success. Like the rabbit and the telegraph, it is an old fairy tale. The tortoise completes the journey. The rabbit burns itself. I dropped the rabbit and put on the tortoise shell.

I did some training but not in a very crazy way. I carried some weight on my back and walked up to six miles[10 km]every day. I started the journey slowly. I also took a “Forest Medical” course so that I could take care of myself. You are getting shape as you go. I will wait until that most appropriate thing happens.

It’s about integrating indigenous art in science and technology so that everyone can be safe. The best thing about science and technology is, yes, we have these amazing satellite phones and GPS and high tech stuff. But when a hurricane strikes about 200 miles and decreases by 80 miles from the North Pole, all that technology stops working and it is the wisdom of the elders that keeps you alive at that time – because their understanding and connection is passed on to them through many generations. Everest was exactly the same thing – very few climb without a mountain. I have high hopes that if we combine traditional indigenous art with science and technology, we will be able to find sustainable ways to live on earth and in all life on earth.

I never ate oatmeal in my life. hardly ever. Throughout the day, I had a bag of snacks and dried fruit and cheese and biscuits and nuts. And of course, I have chocolate, and I have a soft spot for rubber bears. Dinner was quick noodles, pasta, carbohydrates. At first, I was trying to protect the bear and the clean camp. I found many, many, many bears and 98 percent of them were kind and wonderful to watch. For most of the trip, I carried nothing but bear cubs. On my way to the Arctic, I had to carry a gun, so I had to use it once. My partner was with me. She picked up the gun, fired two warning shots, and we hurried into the boat, realizing that we had not poured out our coffee.

Well, the toilet really. And food. I say my bed, but I have come to a place where I can sleep in my tent. I joked that I would make my tent at home for the first few weeks.


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