PART I - EASTERN CANADA, 2017
I had a dream when I was 9 years old to be the first woman to ride my horse across Canada! I told my younger sister Jewel, and cousin Jesse. We agreed when Jesse and I had graduated University, and Jewel had finished high school, the three of us would set off on our Cross Canada trek! Of course dreams change and life happens. I had completely forgotten about this dream until my sister bought her first horse after graduating high school. The beautiful 4 year old Appaloosa she named Ora. Everyone was asking Jewel “What are you doing after high school”. She didn’t know what to say, and wasn’t really a fan of school. So, to convince our parents to let her buy a horse, she started saying she was going to ride Ora across Canada. This surprised many, and a lot of people didn’t believe her.
Jewel grew more and more serious, and my Dad, being a Dad, didn’t want her to go alone. So in November, I got the surprise of a lifetime when Jewel bought me Lux, a quarter horse cross for me as an early Christmas present (also, as a bribe to go on the trip with her). I decided to leave my home and life in Montreal, and move home in January to start preparing for our ride across Canada.
We set out in May of 2017. We left Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia on May 4th, and had absolutely no clue what we were getting ourselves into. The first night we camped, both the horses escaped and started running back down the road in the direction we had come. It was a COMPLETE disaster. But we continued. And that’s kind of how the trip went. Every day was new, every day was unknown, we tackled each obstacle as it came, and I can truly say it was the most significant and life changing trip to date. We walked across 4 provinces, it took us 116 days to get to Sault-Saint Marie in Northern Ontario. Here, we decided it was time to stop. By late August, we were all exhausted, and had stopped enjoying the adventure. (To read more about our first half of Canada, check out our blog)
From the get go, Jewel and I agreed it was never about how far we went, but that we did our best, and just set out in the first place. The most important thing was to stay safe, and have fun. The minute either of those things were compromised, we knew it would be time to call it. It wasn’t all fun of course, there were plenty of struggles, emotionally, physically, mentally, even spiritually. We were tested to the max, all 5 of us. I think we can say we’re all changed by the trip. But over all it was an extremely positive experience.
So we trailered home and tried to find a way to continue living our lives after walking on the road and living in tents for four months. I landed a job that required a one year contract. We all thought we could use a serious break, so we took a year off. I focused on my acting and was living in Toronto. Joseph travelled all over the world, expanding his videography and website business. Jewel converted a van into a home with the help of my Dad, and then she drove to BC to become a certified Dog Trainer.
Now here we are, gearing up to set out on the second half of our journey! We feel more prepared this time, having a much better idea of what we’re getting ourselves in to.
To read more about the next half of our adventure, click here.
- Katarina Keca