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  • Writer's pictureJoanna

The Decision

Updated: Feb 8

It had been decided. My friend, Jan, and I were going to go ‘backpacking’ for a year. The word ‘backpacking,’ to me, is a bit paradoxical. To be honest, I’m not really a fan of backpacking, yet I continue to throw the word around as a predominant descriptor for each and every one of my travel excursions.

Yes, I cram a bunch of my belongings into an elongated canvas bag. Yes, I haul it around (for as little time as possible) and yes, I complain about the experience at great lengths, to anyone that will listen.

Where we were going to ‘backpack’ was still up in the air… and it came down to a toss up between Australia and Europe.

Both had their selling features. Back and forth, pros and cons, pluses and minuses… when this song suddenly came on the radio.

It was decided for us.

Australia. Hands down.

Seriously... I wish I was this organized, responsible and diligent.

Even TODAY, this list goes beyond my capabilities for packing.

Unfortunately, I can't help but notice I opted out of 'spot remover'... which, as this trip began my life-long love affair with red wine, might have actually come in handy. Handier than... say... the clothesline set and the folding raincoat?

... 26 years later, looking back on all the bodily harm I endured over my year in Australia, I really should've put more effort into the Medical Supplies list.

September 7th, 1994

I had been working at the Mission Springs beer & wine store. Jan and I had a big going-away party at the pub the night prior to departure ~ not always the BEST idea...

I had become quite infamous in the area for being a bit of a nuisance in the local video shops. Couldn't help it... I just always forgot to return the videos on time... the struggle was real.

Colleagues decided they would play a little joke on me during my party. They had the RCMP walk in and pull me outside for questioning. I was facing arrest charges for late video fines and unreturned movies. As much as I suspected this could 'possibly' be a joke... I also knew that it could very well, 'possibly' be real... considering my irresponsible shenanigans.

I started to panic...

The Police told me that they would hold me for the night and in the morning, the judge would decide whether or not I would be getting on the plane...


September 10th, 1994

Quoting myself in my memory book...

"The plane ride was hell. Gross food. Uncomfortable seats. The usual. Watched so many movies. Mighty Ducks II, Bad Girls... and Maverick was on TWICE. We traveled for about 27 hours and only got 3 hours sleep."

But... we arrived.

And our luggage also arrived.

So not much left to complain about.


... here we come...

(or should I say, here I come...)

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