Journey to Nowhere

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”

– Anthony Bourdain

It’s July 1st—Canada Day. Not how one would picture it. The weather is gloomy, and an uneasy sombreness fills the air. It seems an appropriate time to write about a journey I won’t soon forget. Unfortunately, it was a tragedy that had me return to Calgary. It was the first time I traveled outside of Vancouver since restrictions were put in place.

I bought a one-way ticket on WestJet, while they still had the middle seats blocked off to adhere to physical distancing. Masks were mandatory, most restaurants were closed at YVR, and everyone got their temperature checked at the gate just before onboarding. This was all prior to WestJet and Air Canada announcing they were starting to drop these safety precautions, because the airplanes now have HEPA filters installed to “clean recirculated air”, and disinfectant wipes in place of peanuts. As COVID-19 cripples the airline industry, WestJet was forced to lay off over 3,300 employees. It’s hard to know what to believe these days.

I’m glad the flight was only one hour, but it was good to get closer to the countryside. As I’ve mentioned before, and as some data shows, there is indication of an exodus from cities—notably from affluent neighborhoods. Perhaps it was more heresay at the height of the pandemic, but I don’t believe we’ll see the real effect until several months or years from now. Conversely, a report by the City Observer shows the “young and restless” (between the ages of 25 and 34) have increasingly become fans of city life. Fitting, seeing as how I am already out the other side of that age range, having lived in the Downtown core since 2010 (all too coincidental).