Moose or Consequences

Last week, the Voyager made its final journey South to a thunderous wall of water before being put up for sale in Toronto. In a short week seventeen, the very last, a bidder must be found before the journey comes to an abrupt end at an airport terminal in Mississauga.

Day 113 – Toronto

So with just two full days left in North America, the race is on to sell the voyager before sundown tomorrow night. Failing that, it would be handed over to a homeless person to be used either as shelter from the freezing Canadian Winter or a drug den. Despite the appeal of the more benevolent option, we needed some way of paying for our flights home, so we decided to try and sell it first.

With the most depressing Burger King known to humanity our only source of WIFI, we were forced to have breakfast there in order to get connected and reduce the asking price on our online minivan adverts.

Following a genuine struggle to keep the delectable meals inside of our stomachs, we headed to a Walmart to clean the back of the Voyager and to offload all the junk we had been hoarding over the last four months including a French version of Lord of the Rings Risk, with several pieces missing, and a portable shower, used once, which now was home to a large colony of green mould.

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Having discovered that, in order to sell the minivan, we needed to collect some documents from an office in the back-end of nowhere, which was closing in thirty minutes, I swiftly set off solo whilst Shu did the laundry. Having picked up said documents, my phone – also my sat nav – decided to give up the ghost, leaving me in an industrial estate on the outskirts of Toronto, at night, with absolutely no idea of how to get back to my newly cleaned undergarments. Fantastic.

Having driven around for several decades, and come to terms with the fact that I would be the homeless person trapped in Toronto and turning the minivan into drug den, I, by utter chance, passed the destitute Burger King we had the fortune of eating at this morning and – as the horrific culinary experience would forever be engrained on my memory – got my bearings back. Having picked up Shu and undergarments, we trundled back to the B&B, without receiving a single offer for the Voyager in twenty-four hours.

Day 114 – Toronto

The penultimate day of our journey was a somewhat stressful, anti-climactic end to an extraordinary trip. Selling vehicles is not easy and enjoyable at the best of times, but it is even worse on a time limit. Gone was the chance to enjoy our final day in Toronto, given that we had to try anything and everything to offload the beleaguered Voyager.

Used car lots wouldn’t take it, the internet ads weren’t working and there was a very real chance that our beloved home for the best part of four months would simply be abandoned and left to the Canadian elements. Our final hope, a post on the Toronto Musicians Buy & Sell Facebook page threw up the name of one interested party. Like David Dickinson in the Dragon’s Den, we got the deal done and dusted.

As we needed it to be collected within an hour or two, the price we got was a tenth of what we initially paid for it, but the weight lifted from our shoulders was immense. The Voyager is heading to work as a tour bus for an up-and-coming heavy metal band, and the small fact we know that he will still be used is more important to us than the price we received. Just.

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After attaching it to the tow truck we said our goodbyes and watched the Voyager disappear into the frosty darkness. The tow man could not fathom why we were somewhat upset at the whole procedure, understandable from the outside as it was just an inanimate, old mechanical object used to get from A to B.

However, to us – for all of its foibles – it was our kitchen, our fellow traveller, our campsite, our reliable transportation, our living room and our gateway to a whole continent. Samwell will be sorely missed. We had to take something to remember him by…

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Day 115: The Last – Toronto to Reykjavik, Iceland

A day I had been dreading more and more was finally upon us. With everything packed, we hailed a taxi and made our way to Toronto airport in the suburb of Mississauga. With Christmas drawing near, Shu and I initially decided that it would be best to spend it separately, with our respective families. That decision, which we were already lamenting, meant Shu was taking a flight to South Korea whilst I was flying back to the UK, via Iceland.

Shu’s flight was first. All airport goodbyes are depressing, but having lived in – for want of a better word – captivity, with someone for such a long time made it all the more difficult. Even more so given that we have no idea when or where our next encounter will take place. With stoicism out of the window, we bade farewell. I began the ten hour wait for my own flight. A highly unenjoyable experience.

I boarded the plane, fifteen months after I had left, with the countless people I had met on my journey whirring unremittingly through my head. Throughout the flight I queried myself: “Is it worth the trouble? Travelling, making close friendships before having to say goodbye, moving to the next place, and starting all over again?”.

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However, the instant I stepped off the plane in Reykjavik, any doubts I had, entirely, dissipated. The extraordinary feeling of being a stranger to everyone, and touching a new currency, and struggling to speak a bizarre language, and instantly getting lost but in doing so finding a local pub, and greeting other strangers staying in the same dorm, confirmed what I already knew deep down…

This is bloody fun. I am bloody fortunate.

Total kilometres for entire journey: 28,411

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