It Begins

Trip Start Jan 16, 2007
Trip End Mar 01, 2007

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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Sunday, December 3, 2006

When does a trip begin?
I just booked the flights, set the start and end dates for Cuba. We've called our parents and said we're going. But the first motion of this voyage can be traced back so much earlier than the pencilled lists of possibilities.

Before the research began, even before the idea was mentioned in bed one morning in the predawn when we each realized the other lay awake, the notion of Cuba existed.

I guess that's true of anywhere you dream of going. Some seed of information, be it the strange shape on a map or an evocative place name heard in passing, takes root in your fancy, and you become a conduit for a future journey. You begin to listen for opportunity.

Cuba is always told of in story. Listening to friends' adventures bicycling through sun-baked Colonial towns, their spokes popping on the cobblestones. Hemingway's tales of nights dancing with women wearing nothing but fur coats. My mom ironing the clothes one night at the height of the missile crisis, wondering if she'd ever do washing again, listening to Kennedy give his ultimatum on the radio.

I've heard disillusioned acquaintances and ecstatic neighbours discourse on Havana. And I've wanted to be part of that discussion, not just the recipient of stories. Until now I've put it off, like so many of my fancies. But in the last year or two I've felt a certain urgency about this trip. Change is in the news, in the ailing health of Castro, in the way everyone knows Cuba will change, is changing.

By the time people are talking about something, anything, it's already happened. My trip has already begun.
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