March just flew by.

I feel like I was playing catch-up most of the time: catching up on deadlines, things I pushed back because last month was too busy, on sleep.
To be honest I’ve been feeling a bit worn down, since September I’ve been feeling like I’m in a pressure cooker with competing life obligations, work responsibilities, social and communal expectations.

Two friends and I had been planning a week-long retreat in March for a joint bachelorette event since the middle of last year, and we’d decided to take the Via Rail Trans-Canada train—obviously named “The Canadian“—to travel to Vancouver.

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It’s a four day three night trip across Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and through the Rockies into BC. There is no wifi on the train, and data is spotty at best.

Why this option for a bachelorette?
Well, I mostly envisioned trapping my friends into a space where they couldn’t be too distracted and had to talk to me. hahahaha.

To put it a better way, destination trips would have been busier with itineraries and daily schedules, and we would have wanted to make the most of it by cramming as many things as we wanted into the time we had.

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As we get older, I find it more difficult to find time to have long aimless conversations with friends, especially friends who have been in your life for years but are now based elsewhere, or working completely different work schedules from you.

A train ride to Vancouver and a short weekend in Vancouver seemed like an affordable solution that would give us the time and space we needed to do what we really wanted to do, which was be together.

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Of course, we were immersed in the amazing winter landscape for many days. Traveling horizontally by land is a very different experience from going by air, and you get a really good sense of the vastness that makes up the land mass we live on. You find yourself moving from the flatness of the prairies to the gradual incline and then stark edges of the mountains.

In some sense I felt really small going through the landscape, but also really restful. It’s nice to move outside of the scope of your everyday to remember that there is such a thing as an empty field that goes on as far as the eye can see or to remember that the shade of forests in the middle of winter could be such a quiet and patient colour.

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Amidst the rolling landscape and steady rocking of the train were the winding conversations with people I love but don’t see often anymore. Being confined in a space with them meant periods of comfortable silence and personal activity, which flowed into various pockets of topics, discussions and sharing.

These are precious words. Increasingly for work, conversation is functional but not necessarily personal. The joy in conversation steeped in relationship and trust is underrated. I came back from Vancouver a little less bitter, and a little less tired. It’s not a magical solution by any means; the things waiting for me in my regular schedule are still waiting. But friendship and quality time make me feel more balanced, more whole.

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Being on the train for four days without stopping also meant I packed super flexible and soft clothing. You want to be able to sit, slouch or lie in a variety of positions without feeling constricted, since the most exercise you might be able to get in is some stretching and a couple of planks hahaha.

I was wearing ultra stretchy white American Eagle distressed jeans and the wonderfully soft Check Sweater from Free People for most of the second day.

OOTC for March is all about settling into your skin at a slower pace, getting comfortable because really, you’re in this for the long haul and we all need time to reflect, people to pass time with, and clothing to uncoil in.

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For other photos of this trip: head over to my Instagram @jaziimun.

Posted by:jasmine

Jasmine is an editor, poet, and community arts organizer. She comes to poetry by way of Chinese music. This blog is a mapping of ways.

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