A year ago, I drove across the continent with my best friend from college. I started writing this on the road May 23rd, 2015 in an Internet-free no man’s land and continued while I was laying in a Mongolian yurt in the middle of The Yukon…

…then I totally forgot to publish my feelings about this leg of the trip and a whole year passed. Whoops.

There was a time in my life in which I wouldn’t be comfortable with any of what we did; walking across a grizzly bear-infested property and into a stranger’s home to share a bathroom with her family. To sleep in (what was, essentially) a tent in freezing weather. To go without cell reception! To not wear makeup! I’m glad I’m not in that person anymore.

On Saturday we drove through Saskatchewan and Alberta, and I’ll be honest: not too much to report there save for a storm of mosquitos unlike anything I’d ever seen in my life. Seriously, so many mosquitos that we ran out of wiper fluid. In planning the trip, we had been worried about the gas tank running empty in rural Canada…we didn’t anticipate the anxiety of not being able to see out our windshield.

Most of Sunday was our Alaska Highway day, through British Columbia and Yukon. The views were some of the most breathtaking I’ve ever seen. Expletives kept flying out of my mouth because I didn’t know how to better express myself. British Columbia is beautiful, Yukon is stunning.

Yukon Territory

Yukon Territory

We saw 8 bears, 4 bison, 3 sheep, and a porcupine while on the road.

We stumbled upon the Sign Post Forest.

We have limited wifi! Somehow we’re surviving not connected to the matrix.

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We found Teslin, a sweet community of 490 people. They had a tiny museum!

We stopped by the Johnston Canyon Campground and met kindly Canadians who made us a veggie burger to go.

We got to our next Airbnb destination, Amanda’s Traveling Light B & B. This was the front yard of her home.

Traveling Light B&B

Love. She suggested we hike down to the lake (“But watch out for the grizzlies. Take my dog Banjo for protection.”) and so we did. It was nice to get the blood flowing and remember what walking for a distance longer than car-to-bathroom felt like.

We shared the bathroom with the house. When I popped into the house that night to shower, I could hear banjos and men singing and like, fuck. How magical. Falling asleep inside of a cozy yurt decorated with doll-sized furniture, insulated from wind that howled against the canvas, with view of the Northern Rockies out the front door was one of the more surreal experience I’ve ever had. 

Whitehorse, Yukon

Amanda had this organic breakfast waiting for us in the morning. Bless her.

Yukon Breakfast

We ate in her quiet house and said the thing we kept saying at every stop: “Maybe we just don’t leave. Maybe this is it!

We played with her massive Canadian dogs before leaving. I can now attest that of the dogs I’ve met, Canadian dogs are the friendliest dogs.

Yukon Dogs

We stopped in Whitehorse for much overdue Starbucks. Whitehorse is fucking adorable.

Alaska ended up being a letdown for me, if I’m honest. Michael fell in love with his new state immediately, and good for him!  I was spoiled by Canada, homesick for the urbanity of Los Angeles (as evidenced), and unenchanted by Fairbanks. But! I did dig meeting sled dogs…

I just snuggled with these sled dogs. #AlasAlaska2015

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…and I am pretty proud of myself for having tried reindeer meat (which, for better or worse, totally tasted like Christmas)…

I’m eating reindeer sausage tonight, because #AlasAlaska2015.

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…and I bought this sick shirt within a few miles of the border.

A year has passed since this crazy trip of 11 states and 4 provinces. I’ve traveled back to Canada since then for a rather remarkable trip that affirmed some deep and long-held beliefs that I’ve always had about myself. I attended the Emmys, which was huge, but the little film fests and fairs in between ended up being more monumental. I survived another year in my job, making this the longest I’ve ever stayed at a job. I started a podcast. I’m better at establishing boundaries and I’m better at letting myself off the hook. I’m contemplating what my next steps are in life. I’ve gained an iota of financial security. I cut off my hair!

Below is a map of the USA and Canada. Pink states/provinces are places I’d been prior to this trip. Orange are the new places we traveled through. 12 states and 7 provinces/territories until I’ve seen them all.

map

Here’s to travel, new experiences, meeting people in strange places, and most importantly, YURTS.

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