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July 12, 2007

Alternate Routes: Small world

Posted by mason at 01:30 PM ET

Shayna's first entry from the road appears below. From here on in, she and Dominique will be posting directly to the Alternate Routes blog. Enjoy!

We are somewhere in the middle of Quebec, on the Trans-Canada Highway. It's about 10 p.m. We've been on the road since 8 this morning. We are looking for a place to sleep.

My partner, Dominique, and I are on our way from Toronto to Halifax, about to begin a cross-country tour of intentional communities.

Why are we doing this, again? I ask myself.

I look at Mirinda and Phil, asleep in the back seat, and remember...

Mirinda and Phil came into our lives in a miraculously serendipitous moment walking down the street in Toronto's Kensington Market one day. The details are a bit long and convoluted, but it was one of those small world moments, where distant and separate social connections join together in one short but profound human interaction. They were looking for a room to rent for the summer, and a ride to Halifax. We were subletting our rooms and heading to the East Coast.

I feel like this trip is, in large part, about those small world moments. It's about manifesting more real relationships, and then relying on those relationships and embracing our inter-connectedness and inter-dependencey as human beings.

In preparing for this journey, we have relied heavily on our own social networks—for inspiration, for guidance, and for equipment. Almost everything we're bringing with us on this trip, including the car we're using for the first half, was borrowed or donated by friends and family, or else bought used.

In addition to environmental sustainability, and our limited financial resources, we were also thinking about this decision in terms of community-building. Since the idea for this trip was born, just a few months ago, we have received innumerable blessings, offers of support, and donations and loans of equipment. It all came from people we know, members of our various communities.

With a tent from our friend Lesa, travel mugs from Emily and Adam, a Coleman stove from Uncle Peter and Aunt Carolina, sleeping mats from Christine, a car from my parents, and a great deal of support from all of these people plus many more, we set off with a whole community of people behind us.

As we settle down in the parked car, all of our limbs intertwined with one another, finding pieces of sleep between suitcases and guitars and a steering wheel, I comfort myself with thoughts of this support network.

It's a wonderful feeling to have so many tangible expressions of love around us; and I have a feeling we'll be experiencing a lot more of it along the way.

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