Danaka is 18 years old, the eldest of the kids traveling with us. She was not much of a happy camper for most of the first year until she started to improve her health which cascaded positively into her outlook on life and travel. Danaka writes and/or reads at every opportunity.
Answered on Oct 30, 2013
Can you remember all the way back to 2007 when the family first left home to help Aunt Jo rebuild her house in Cape Breton? Was that an exciting time, or frightening?
I remember the day we left, Keith and Eileen standing outside their front door waving goodbye to us. The ferry ride to Grandma’s place and standing above the vehicle deck, staring back at Nanaimo, wondering when I would see it again.
It was an exciting time. I had been wanting to go see Cape Breton ever since Layne and Rauchelle had gone, and then the wanting became greater when Aunt Jo and Uncle Kevin had visited us.
Did you ever imagine that experience in Cape Breton would forever change the way your family ‘lived’?
Nope. I just knew that I wanted to write and travel, to go to Europe, particularly Ireland.
What are the biggest highlights for you about traveling across Canada?
The family farm (Saskatchewan) and The Royal Tyrell Museum (Drumheller, AB). I would actually love to go back to the museum. I loved it six years ago, and I doubt my opinion will have changed, and I would probably enjoy it more now than I did then.
The first time I saw the fall colours of the east was also a highlight. I can still see the brilliant red leaves mixed with orange, yellow, and green around the shores of Lake Superior.
Settled in Sooke, BC for 2 years. How was that for you?
The first year didn’t make much of an impression to me, until we got the bikes and Dad started taking us out on the Galloping Goose Trail. I think that summer was also the one where Dad and I would watch hockey, Vancouver vs. Boston.
The second year was when I started OYAN and biking into town to my favourite coffeeshop, The Stick in the Mud where I would sit and write, until someone inevitably interrupted me and we would talk for close to an hour, generally about writing or science. Once home, I would end up Skyping with friends for hours on end.
Leaving again for places/time-frames unknown (Oct 2012), what were your biggest concerns?
Not being able to talk to friends and having no way to really do what I might want to do.
Have your concerns materialized? And if so, how have you been able to handle them?
To certain degrees. I think I’ve been handling them pretty well, though there are of course those days where I just hit the pits.
What do you miss the most about living in a North American house?
Endless internet and hot showers.
What do you enjoy the most about traveling with your family?
Not having internet does have it’s advantages, such as my writing is more focused. In eight months I wrote three novels, one of them in two weeks, just before I went to the OYAN Summer Workshop.
Maret and I have a higher tolerance level for each other too.
(Mom’s note: When given a choice, Danaka and Maret quickly both decided to buy a tent for the 2 of them to share rather than to be on their own!)
Have you had a Scary Moment? Funniest Happening? Can you share, please.
Scary Moment: Going up Pinal Mountain in the dark. It did seem as though dad was about to drive off the mountain many times.
Funniest Happening: Well, there were many. At the Summer Workshop, as Mary-beth, Charlotte and I got to the university, I remember giving one of my best friends, Nate, a hug. As it turned out, my arm hit him kinda hard in the throat. Another would have been about ten minutes after that and there were about six of us, hiding in a hallway. Introverts united, other then Mary-beth who was more of an extrovert.
What are you looking most forward to on the next leg of the adventure?
Aztec/Mayan history. I would love to go to Palenque and Agua Azul. And maybe finding some Clive Cussler or Steve Berry books.
If you could travel to anywhere in the world, where would you want to go and why?
I would love to go to Europe in general. The European history and culture interests me more then anywhere else in the world…currently.
After a 2nd winter in Mexico with of course, good and bad experiences, we headed back to Canada as we thought we were going to be moving to Puerto Rico. Danaka got to go on a sweltering hot trip there with her Dad and took a 3 day intensive aquaponics course, then spent the rest of the summer volunteering on a Hobby Farm where she got natural therapy working with the horses and sitting with the goats. Danaka seemed to thrive keeping active on the farm.