UNDER THE NORTHERN SKY
The World Is Waiting For Them
I am thrilled these days to see Facebook and other posts on line showing that members of my family from the James Bay coast are reaching out and traveling the world. Right now my niece Brianna Wesley is with her friend Clarice Friday touring in Japan. This I believe is Brianna’s first big international adventure and she seems to be loving every minute of it. Her friend and travel companion Clarice has done a lot of travelling over the past few years so I know they are a good team.
Of course I realize her mom, my sister Janie and her husband Brian along with siblings April, Marissa and Willie are all concerned for her safety in travelling so far away but I trust Briannas judgement and I understand also that Japan is a good place to start with international travel. I was only in the country for a day but I have researched it and find that the Japanese culture is a very proud and organized one with a vast history. I also realize that the Japanese hold Native Canadians in very high esteem and they have a big interest in our culture.
It makes me feel great to see Brianna heading out into the world, discovering new cultures, eating all kinds of new foods, seeing so many wonderful and beautiful sites while also making new friends. I remember how exciting it was when I first started to travel with more than 20 years ago. The international airports were huge and it felt great to be part of the travel world. I loved air travel back then a lot more because it was new to me to be flying in huge jets at 30,000 feet for hours. I was amazed at the fact that I could leave Northern Ontario and head to Toronto and then get on an aircraft and travel anywhere in the world.
I had to learn how to research and produce a travel agenda and budget so that I knew where I was going, where I was staying, what it took to get around regarding transportation and what kind of budget I had to try to stick to. This was all very exhilarating and a lot of fun.
It amazed me that I could find so much information on the internet before leaving for any travel location. I studied the best tourist visits, the history of the countries and the people I planned on seeing and any issues or problems that I might encounter on my travels. There was a lot of work involved and sometimes my travel plans did not work out or I did not plan well enough and I ended up in challenging situations. For instance my self and a friend arrived on one trip on Easter Sunday in Rome without a hotel booking. That meant that we had to wait around a railway station for many hours trying to locate a room for the night and as luck would have it we actually found one with the help of an on location travel agent.
Another time we landed in Milan without a hotel booking on a weekend when the city was hosting a fashion event. I did not realize Milan is the fashion capital of the world. All the hotels were booked and we ended up spending the night on the street outside the central station. It was a very scary night until a Sardinian man came in late for the train and also found himself with us on the street. He was a very tough and savvy man who came to our rescue and showed us how to protect our bags while also chasing muggers away from our space. Later we were joined by a group of Chinese men who all knew forms of martial arts and they helped us further with protecting our space. What a night. We were all very happy when the train station opened its doors in the early morning and we grabbed a train to Venice.
Right now I also know that another niece Naila and her mom Christine are travelling in Spain and I see their interesting posting on Facebook as they happily visit Barcelona and other parts of the country. This incredible mom and daughter team has a wealth of knowledge in terms of travel and they have both been to many places in the world. I know they are having a great time and taking care of each other while my brother and their husband and dad Lawrence finishes up his work back in Attawapiskat.
I am always encouraging First Nation people to travel if they can. I am a big believer in education through travel. I know that over the next few years many young First Nation people will be heading out to see the world and I encourage them to do so in a safe and organized manner. The world is waiting for them.