On Monday notes will be on a plane, landing in the heart of the Canadian prairies. Our prairies; vast, hard working, practical – a place so foreign from my city life, I might as well be travelling to another planet. A planet full of wonders and beauty: a place to regroup, take stock and re-charge. Saskatchewan beckons for practical unpretentious people, exemplary work ethics, a sense of community and lets not forget – that endless sky.
Travel serves many purposes; sometimes we want to explore foreign lands, at times to full fill obligations or simply step away from our daily routines. More and more, travel involves a “destination” , cruise or “all inclusive” experience. All too often we over look travelling to those places in our own back yards, places that can provide the tonic our lives are missing.
For me, a trip to the Canadian prairies reminds me of what’s important; it gives perspective to my nation, and restores faith in our great country. Maybe I’ve been a city dweller far too long – maybe cities have become so bloated, so driven by money, greed and status that I’ve forgotten how it feels to be welcomed by a stranger, smiled at as I walk down the street or had lunch in a restaurant without bleached, silicone “Barbies” presenting my menu on an IPad.
Prairie people don’t blither on about “farm to table”, don’t survive on Quinoa and tofu, they don’t announce for all the world to be organic vegans or lactose intolerant, gluten sensitive environmentalists while handing their Escalade keys to a valet.They simply live; they live sensibly, without pretension or airs.
Saskatchewan isn’t “quaint”, uneducated or backwards in any way – Saskatchewan is real. A place supporting the arts at unprecedented levels, a place where people know who their neighbour is because people are there to help each other. The prairies remind me of how life should be; a sense of community, work ethic and unity.
Perhaps I’m clinging to some romantic illusion of the past, or maybe, just maybe prairie people have the secret to that empty feeling so many of us have. Ponder not the size of the place you live in, rather the size of your capacity to be humble, honest and hard working. All I can say for certain is I’m a better person after each and every visit to the bread basket of my great country.Strip away pretension or status and life appears to fall into place. Life finds rhythm when you smell the seasons while gazing at an endless sky. Life makes sense when community means a way of life rather than a centre to lift weights.