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A Kat's Tale: Keeping up with Katryna

Because, I can.

CANADA | Monday, 15 December 2014 | Views [893] | Comments [2]

 Friends, family, colleagues, and those who have wandered haphazardly onto this page: welcome.

Welcome to the inner workings and nuances of my mind as I embark on a new adventure to South America.

Today marks the 30 Day Countdown until my date of departure from Canada. From this point henceforth, I am unable to guarantee sanity in what I write.   Those who know me, know I have a tendency to ramble; I will do my best to keep my ramblings to a minimum (or at least edit what I write before I post it online!).

I have decided to take on the challenge of committing to keeping a travel blog. I have several reasons for doing so, the primary one being that I find the number of emails I would need to send ominous if I were to attempt to update my loved ones that way. Secondly, I kept a journal while I was in Peru in 2011 and I have often read it over again, reliving those memories. I’d like to preserve my new memories in the same way.  Third, and perhaps the most selfish reason of all, this will be an exercise in commitment. I have set this as a personal goal and hope to be able to stick it through. While I would normally ask for your help in this matter by harassing me if I begin to fail in my blog updates, I am instead going to ask that you let me attempt to do this on my own. It needs to come from me.

Well. Enough of the technical information. On to the meat and potatoes of my adventure: why I am leaving everything behind and running away to South America for an indeterminate period of time.

I must warn you that what follows is quite emotionally charged.

On February 10th, 2014, a good friend of mine passed away in a motor vehicle accident on her way home from work to visit her family, on what was the Family Day stat holiday in our province. Carley’s death was a terrible accident, a tragedy that shocked us all. It goes without saying the immeasurable sadness that followed. The shining moment in that patch of darkness was how so many people came together to deal with the brutality of the incident.  We sat together in disbelief at first, any words we could think of sounding completely worthless in the face of what had happened. We cried together. We made sure all of her friends and acquaintances, all the people whose lives Carley had touched, knew about her death.  There were many. We somehow made it to her funeral in her hometown; and the following weekend had a celebration of life for her in Vancouver.  Each day I woke up and for a few quick seconds I was normal. I was happy. And each morning, after those few blissful moments, I would suddenly remember that one of my close friends was dead and my stomach would drop, and instant nausea would set in. It was like reliving the initial shock every day. For lack of better words, it was agony.

At some point, somehow, the pain began to lessen. It took months but eventually when I woke up in the mornings, it wasn’t quite as much of a shock when I remembered Carley had died. It went from the big shocks to the little ones: seeing her name in my phone’s contact list as I was scrolling through; or finding the handwritten Christmas card she had sent me over the holidays, less than two months before she died.  The agony began to morph into a quiet sadness, hitting me like the ebbs and flows of the ocean tides: firmly, often, and with whimsical nostalgia for the loss of something profound.  Upon reflection, I learned that what I was experiencing is referred to as acceptance.

Carley’s death seemed to coincide with a period of overwhelming negativity in my life. In the months that followed I had four jobs but no reliable, steady work. I managed to injure myself badly enough that I had to stay off my feet for six weeks, forcing me to be sedentary and to gain more insanity. I found myself abruptly moving out of my home of two years due to extenuating circumstances which I no longer felt were worth fighting over. These are several examples of what was happening in my life on top of the regular comings and goings and more personal matters, and in no certain terms, I was in a slump. It was at this point I realized how unhappy I really was. I do not know if my state could be considered depression, but I knew I needed change.  However, my lack of reliable income and the steady inflow of bills prevented me from being able to instigate anything drastic right away, so I came up with a plan.

I knew my seasonal job in archaeology would be picking up at some point in the near future. I planned to work as much as I could during that time, make as much as I possibly could, essentially selling my soul to work and work only for as long as I could possibly milk the busy season for.  Then I would do what I had wanted to do since I was a teenager in high school: become an ESL teacher and travel the world.

The fantasy originated in my young, eleventh-grade mind, after I participated in a cultural exchange that my high school had set up with a college in Taiwan. I had caught the travel bug and the most obvious way for me to be able to travel far and wide forever was to become an English teacher. I was convinced this was the best way for me to live my life. Then I graduated high school with the intention of fulfilling my dream and quickly realized that in order to travel, even if you will be working, you first need to have some money. I was duped by my inability to support my own dreams.  Defeated, I decided I had to get a degree, in order to get a job that would pay well, in order to be able to afford to travel. Off to university I went, and my high school dreams were soon lost among the thousands of new ideas that one experiences in the realm of university courses.  I became an anthropologist, an archaeologist. I graduated university and was hired right away at a firm to do consulting work. I thought life was pretty good. I completely forgot about my intentions of traveling the world, until the events of early 2014 occurred.

So here I am, friends. I have come back to the unfulfilled dream, spurred by a series of unfortunate events and the need for change. It isn’t a pretty story, but it is a significant one. And to me, that means the most.  I’m leaving my home and my job(s) and family and friends; I’m leaving my comfort zone, because when your comfort zone is no longer comfortable there is something wrong. I’m chasing the naïve dream of a 16 year old girl who was unable to follow it 10 years ago. I’m doing it because I can, and because some people aren’t lucky enough to. While this trip is primarily for me, it is also for you, Carley.  I will make it to the top of Machu Picchu, I will raft down the Amazon river, I will attend Carnival in Rio, I will explore the Atacama desert, I will board the sand dunes and visit the salt mines of Bolivia, and I will learn the tango and drink locally grown wines in Argentina. Because, simply, I can.


Until next time, friends.

Tags: adventure, home, leaving, philosophy, reason



WTG Gurl, we've gone thro a lot since our Kitty, passed away. I feel your pain and understand the need to make changes in your life to be who you want to be.
To coin a phrase, Carley made me want to be a better person. I suspect that Kitty, had the same influence on each and every one of her friends & family.
I look forward to reading your blog as you wend your way thro this new adventure.
All the best Katryna,

  Leath Kennedy Dec 17, 2014 5:37 PM


Thanks so much, Leath. It means a lot to have your support. Wishing you all the best in the new year- I hope it brings many positive experiences to you and your loved ones.

  kat617 Dec 27, 2014 12:13 PM

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