Friday, September 29

stories from Canada: starry nights

Friday, September 29
It's already past midnight. We are driving from the YVR airport to Squamish, I sit in the front seat, next to Wendy, my mum's cousin. Her mother, my dutch great aunt sits in the back. I haven't slept for almost 25 hours and my sleep suddenly catches up to me. My vision is getting hazy, my head getting heavier and after staring in front of me for a while, only being able to see where the headlights can reach, I close my eyes and turn my chair back. At this moment, I reckon almost everyone would fall asleep. But I didn't. Instead, I opened my eyes, expecting the car ceiling, but all I got was a pitch black sky with stars so bright like I had never seen before. The car had a skylight and I hadn't noticed, probably because I was lacking 25 hours of sleep. With the new moon, the sky was clear and other than the soothing sound of a driving car it was quiet. Looking up to the best welcome I could have had, I couldn't help but smile as I slowly closed my eyes, feeling my consciousness fading away. And that was just the very beginning..

After that night, many more nights would come. One, for example, was on my way back from Victoria to Squamish, on the same motorway. Even though I'm talking about the motorway while it's dark, during the day it's a whole nother story. A motorway with two different views. 

We stopped at this viewpoint, this old place where once a ferry used to dock. What was left was this pier continuing quite far on the sound. It was a little cloudy on one side, but on the other, we could see the Milkyway. Standing on a far-stretched pier, surrounded by only water and the mountains blocking all the light from the communities and cities in the area, the only sounds I heard were the rippling small waves and the sound of opening a can of organic coconut water. (This was a number one on the list of best moments of drinking coconut water, obviously before I visited Thailand, To be honest, the coconut water is far better in a country where you can get them fresh anywhere ;)) 

The second starry night was on my way back from Vancouver to Squamish. This time my 'uncle' (husband of my mum's cousin, I call him my sorta uncle because it makes it easier) decided that this night would be a perfect night to spot some stars again. We made a random left turn somewhere, in order to get to a more remote area where there wouldn't be any people or lights. 

And oh boy, we drove past signs that said: 'Watch out, shooting area' and 'keep out' and when I got out of the car, I could not see anything. As in, my uncle got out on the other side of the car and walked 2 meters and I couldn't see him. It felt a bit uneasy at first, but your eyes slowly get used to it and you do too and after a while I was finally able to fully enjoy this moment and not to be worried about where to put my feet everytime I took a step. The stars were once again, breathtaking. 

Maybe the best time so far, ever, was when I went out camping/backpacking in the mountains for a few days. (I will definitely write a full detailed story on the whole trip, but since this post is about the starry nights only, I will save it for another time. Something to look forward to!) 

This night might have been the most magical of all. After hiking for a good 10 hours and 23k later, laying down next to your tent looking up at the most incredible Milkyway I had ever seen was so marvelous. The wood of the tent platform hurt my back after a while, but I couldn't quite feel it until after I got up. I hummed along with a song that had been on my mind that day, trying to remember the melody as good as I could.

I felt so proud of myself that I hiked all the way up there (I mean, I never hike - not that I really can in the Netherlands, there aren't any mountains) and felt so at ease. I wondered if there were other people just like me doing the exact same. There probably were. 

I imagined being here with my 3 best friends, our heads slightly touching as we all looked up. I don't even remember how long I gazed at the sky before I finally crawled back into my tiny tent and fell asleep.

The next morning during breakfast, I met Chris and his dad. They brought their amazing full frame Sony camera's with them on their trip and I couldn't be more grateful. The night before they had taken some astonishing pictures of the sky. He was so incredibly nice to send them to me (I wanted to remember this night and now I have something I can cherish forever together with the memories) and the pictures in this post are all taken by him - so if you want to give him a follow on Instagram - here you go! (he posts a lot of Canada-travel related pictures ;) @creechconnor

It is something about the sky and the stars that give me this feeling of home, even though from different locations you will see them in a different way. Spotting the constellations, learning more about them - it is something that I have always found fascinating. I know that they are always there to comfort me and seeing them at their prettiest makes me utterly happy. In Canada, all this got heightened even more.

I will post slowly but surely more stories in the same format as this one, instead of diaries. Feel free to give me some tips or requests for things you want to know about my travels down below in the comments. I love to answer all of your questions in a post sometime.

With love,
Naomi

2 comments :

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