Cycling Across Canada for my Dad
Hello! My name is Kane and I’m a UVic student currently cycling across Canada alone. I have until Labour Day to finish my task, and I will go through most if not all the provinces on my way through the country to the east coast.
It’s funny that this trip coincides with Canada’s 150th anniversary because the trip has nothing to do with that; instead, it has more to do with a personal journey which I decided to embark on for my father….
My father unfortunately isn’t around to see it. Just after I graduated from UVic the first time around with a major in Pacific and Asian Studies and a minor in Indigenous Studies, I got a job teaching English in Japan for the JET Programme. For me, the job represented the achievement of a long-standing goal and beginning of a new chapter of my life.
In December 2011, about three months into my job, I got a call late at night after returning from an end of the year party. My brother called me and was really upset, but I didn’t know how to react, and at first I thought he was joking. He explained to me: dad had not only been diagnosed with cancer, but it was an aggressive cancer that had already spread throughout his body and they couldn’t guarantee his survival any longer than Christmas.
I was really shocked. After moving to Japan, the thought of never seeing him again was unbearable. Throughout that period, however, my dad Randy told me not to quit my job.
Even though I suggested it as a possibility, my dad didn’t want me to move home–with so little time left be he thought it would be a waste. He just asked that I go home to spend Christmas as a family and then return to Japan to follow my dreams–he wanted me to follow my dreams.
My school was unbelievably supportive. They did a collection for me and my students even wrote cards for him. They knew he liked baseball, so the entire baseball team presented their card to me with a big bow in unison. It was all really touching.
I went home for Christmas and although we talked after that, it was the last time I saw him in person. I followed his advice and had the best time possible in Japan for three years and then in Korea as well. I also took the time to explore the countries by hiking and cycle touring.
I often reflect on the wise messages my dad gave me before he passed on and use them as guide posts when I feel like I need to make a positive step forward. I already mentioned that he said I should follow my dreams — do what I really want to be doing — but he also said several times before passing on that he was going to “walk slow”. People rush from one thing to the next in a cycle perpetuated by worries and commitments, but while we’re doing this life is passing us by. Each moment is precious and I think that this is what he was trying to express by saying that people should take the time to “walk slow.”
I returned to Canada with a plan to do what I love and return to school to be a public school teacher. Also, I decided to do a cross-country cycling tour: Ride For Rand.
Ride For Rand encapsulates the words of advice Randy gave me. It is a meditative challenge across Canada alone and an opportunity to meet people from all walks of life while cycling, which is something I love.
In addition I decided to make this ride in support of Victoria Hospice in acknowledgement of the support they gave my family and father before his passing. Hospice is a chronically underfunded and neglected area which I feel deserves attention.
So let the journey start!
After each leg of my trip, I’ll use this blog to reflect on the ups and downs along the way, sharing some of the beautiful places our country has to offer.
First stop: British Columbia and the Rockies!
Check out my blog to see my daily travels and donate: rideforrand.blogspot.com