Big Question: Why?
Craig Whitton - April 4th, 2005
Everyone asks me the same question. What caused this trip? Well, I don't want to tell a big long sob story all about it, so I'll give you the short version. About 4 years ago, I hit my head and I forgot everything. Being an optimist, I tried to look at this misfortune as simply a second chance. Some days I'd have memories, others I wouldn't. I always had enough to get by, and I was able to build myself into exactly who I wanted to be with no personal history standing in the way. It was great. Sadly, I hit a wall. A friend was killed in a car accident, a girl was jerking me around, said girl only a short time previously being involved with my best friend--as you can imagine, causing some tension. And to top it all off, my university was threatening to throw me out because of lackluster performance. Essentially my entire world was being ripped apart. I needed to escape, I needed to go somewhere. So, I awoke one chilly December morning deciding that I ought to feed the dream, entertain this flight of fancy, and find out how much a break would cost.
(Pictured: Me, in Toronto Airport, wondering what I had gotten myself into... ) I logged on to my computer and typed in "Around the World plane ticket". The first site that came up was www.longhaultravel.ca. A click here and there and an off blue map of he world was presented to me, with various city capitals highlighted, asking me to plan my dream vacation. So, I clicked on Cairo--I always wanted to see the pyramids, after all. But then I thought "Heck, I'm not actually booking anything. Why not go everywhere I've ever wanted to go and see how much it is". So clickity clack click and I had a total of 14 cities selected: London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Paris, Prague, Rome, Zurich, Cairo, Amman, Sydney, Alice Springs, San Francisco, New York, Toronto (Home). I clicked upon the foreboding Submit button, and a window popped up and started to load. I was expecting a ballpark price, but instead, received the message "A travel agent will contact you within 72 hours". This was getting serious.
Sure enough, within a couple of days, Karen from Long Haul Travel out of Toronto called me. The price of the trip would be e-mailed to me. A few hours later, I was staring at a number that I could actually afford! I was stunned. I said "Book it", two words that have forever changed my life.
I phoned up the parents, part of my wishing they would say no--I was scared to death!. My Dad asked me if I intended to return to school, I said yes. So he said "Okay. Just be careful!". And that was that. After a brief side trip to Ottawa for Visas, and a few days in Guelph, January 12th rolled around and I was on my way on the Adventure of a Lifetime.
Pictured: the Chariot of the Skies that would take me to London.