Canada Road Trip – The Never-Ending Horizon

Last updated on: 21 Comments
Never-ending horizon prairies Canada road trip.
Chasing the never-ending horizon across the Prairies during our Canada road trip.

 

Van New Brunswick Canada Road Trip
Latoya parked on a beach in New Brunswick, Canada.

“Don’t worry about the rust. It adds character.” An obvious sales pitch. But he needn’t have bothered. I was already sold.

Upon casting my eyes on the ’86 Chevy Van, my future was forged. I would purchase this dilapidated vehicle and drive it for as long as its aged chassis would last. It would become my mode of transport, my home, my storage unit and my safety net. Just as you can never reach the horizon, my love for this van would expand. But it needed a name. Something befitting of its soulful personality. A title that would match its robust nature. In a moment it came to me.

Latoya.

Latoya van Canada road trip.
Latoya before the epic cross Canada road trip.

I completed the transaction, eagerly handing over the minuscule amount requested by the owner. Latoya was no longer a simple means of transport. She had taken on a whole new demeanour.

Jazza Latoya Canada Road Trip
Jazza showing Latoya some love.

From her old home in Vancouver, Canada, I aimed her towards that never-ending horizon. Through the Rockies she charged. Across the prairies she never lost momentum. Night after night I would seek solitude and warmth inside her comforting walls.

All who came into contact with Latoya would be in awe of her magnificent presence. The red-carpeted interior, the venetian blinds, the foldout queen sized bed. The disco ball that constantly bobbed in time with the imperfections of the road. From hitchhikers to long-term friends, her reputation grew far and wide.

The sprawling landscape of Canada seems to continue forever. Kilometre after kilometre passes on the odometer without making a dent on the map. None of that matters, however, when you are perched comfortably in the captain’s chair. Days are spent exploring side roads and motoring along scenic highways. Evenings are whiled away with drinks, music and laughs amongst new friends spread out on Latoya’s spacious bed.

Lesh Prince Edward Island Canada Road Trip
Lesh in Prince Edward Island.

East was our direction. As far East as we could venture. Cities and villages would come and go, some holding our attention for hours, others for months. As the mileage increased, so did my attachment towards Latoya.

One day it happened. We reached the end of the road. St John’s, Newfoundland; The Eastern most point on the North American continent. Jubilation and euphoria! We had made it! Now there was only option left. Latoya and I turned around, and pointed west. It’s a long way back to Vancouver. Best to fuel up and start the journey!

I’ll never forget the first time I saw Latoya. In her corroded frame and questionable reliability I saw opportunity and adventure. She delivered both, in aiming for that never-ending horizon.

Van Saskatchewan border Canada road trip
Latoya at the Saskatchewan border.
Bay of Fundy New Brunswick Canada Road Trip
The Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick.
View Gaspésie National Park Canada Road Trip
Lesh enjoying the view in Gaspésie National Park Quebec.
Quebec lighthouse Canada road trip
Latoya and the lighthouse in Quebec.
Lesh Alberta Canada road trip.
Welcome to Alberta!
Bench Nova Scotia Canada Road Trip
Park bench in Nova Scotia.

 

This article was chosen as one of the World Nomads travel writing scholarship winning entries. Read all about it here.

 

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About the author

Jarryd Salem

Jarryd 'Jazza' Salem is a freelance travel writer and chief author of the stories and articles found on NOMADasaurus. Having left his home of Sydney in 2007 to pursue a life on the road, he aims to promote sustainable, community-based travel through his experiences backpacking the world. You can find him in some random country trying hard to quench his thirst for adventure. Follow his journey on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram

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21 COMMENTS

  1. Katie – Round the World Magazine

    This is our dream, thanks for sharing, we’re planning on travelling Canada next year on a 3 month visitor visa, looks like we’re in for a treat. Safe travels!

      Alesha And Jarryd

      You will love it. It is an amazing country and you can camp free in a lot of places. Walmart was great in the cities, except Moncton. They tow your car there. All the best. Have fun.

    Navi

    You guys have lit a fire for the cross-country Canada trip….

    Susie

    I adore road trips and now I’d love to try it out in Canada! After all these beautiful pictures, I want to visit ASAP! Thanks for sharing!

      Lesh Jazza NOMADasaurus

      Thanks so much for sharing Susie. I hope you get out there soon. A truly beautiful country!

    alicia-joy

    Quite poetic! Lovely pics and description of the trip. A Canada road trip is definitely on my list. 🙂

      Lesh Jazza NOMADasaurus

      Thanks for the kind words, Alicia-Joy. Canada is still one of the most beautiful countries we have ever visited. If you get the chance to road trip it, you will not be disappointed 🙂

    sarah

    I just found your blog and I love the name…and the name of your van! Being from Vancouver and having set out on the nomadic path a year ago I can relate to a lot of your stories. I especially like this one because it’s something I want to do. As travelers we are always drawn to distant places and tend to forget our own backyard. This post makes me want to boost an across Canada trip closer to the top of my list.

      Lesh Jazza NOMADasaurus

      Thanks Sarah! I agree that we always tend to forget what is in our own backyard. I meet hundreds of travellers who have seen more of Australia than I have. With the somewhat limited experience I have travelling around Australia (which is still a fair bit more than most Aussies I would say), I can totally understand the appeal of checking out our home countries. Look forward to hearing what plan comes next for you, and if Canada does eventually work its way onto the cards! Happy travels.

    Charles McCool

    Beautiful photos. I have road tripped a tiny bit around Canada but so much more for me to see. Nice road trip vehicle you had there!

      Lesh Jazza NOMADasaurus

      Thanks very much Charles. It definitely is a big country! When we get back there we would love to do Northern Canada. Unfortunately Latoya failed us just three weeks before we were about to embark on that trip. All things happen for a reason though, and we ended up spending 8 months in Central America instead. But damn, we miss Latoya. Cheers for reading!

    Lisa Goodmurphy

    What an incredible road trip! I would love to drive from one end of Canada to the other some time – but perhaps in a vehicle that’s a little more reliable than Latoya! 😉

      Lesh Jazza NOMADasaurus

      As much as I would love to say that half the adventure in driving in Latoya was her unreliability, it did get a bit much when every time we turned her off we would be unsure if she would ever turn back on again. Next big road trip we do will be in something a bit more dependable – like our current cheap, slapped-together Chinese motorcycles!

    Nathan Anderson

    Latoya sounds like a trusty old girl, and that trip sounds awesome! The way you talked about the van made me think of my old Toyota Tercel station wagon (the Tersh). That there was one heckuva car 🙂

      Lesh Jazza NOMADasaurus

      Haha, Latoya was a lot of things, but she definitely wasn’t ‘trusty’! It used to be a gamble every morning to see if she would start up. But we loved her to death! Glad to hear you also had a wagon you felt equally attached to. Would love to hear more about it! Any exciting journeys undertaken in the Tersh?

    Manouk – Bunch of Backpackers

    Great story and such a cool road trip! Hope all is well with Latoya!

      Lesh Jazza NOMADasaurus

      Thanks very much Manouk. As far as we know Latoya is living in somewhere at the base of the Rockies in Alberta, being used as a guesthouse on someone’s property. Unfortunately she couldn’t make the journey up to Alaska, which was our final voyage planned with her. Cheers for reading!

    Franca

    It has been a while since we went on a road trip and I have to admit I wouldn’t mind to go for one, you guys made me want to get in a car or even better a camper-van and just go, with no worries or define itinerary.

      Lesh Jazza NOMADasaurus

      Thanks for reading, Franca. We really miss going on these kind of road trips! We also bought a campervan in Australia and it was such a great way to explore our home country. Let us know when you do decide to get a van and hit the road! We would love to follow along.

      Adam @ Round the World we go

      I was about to say the exact same thing Franca! We love road trips, have gone across 4 states in America and thinking of doing the whole “Route 66”.. As you can probably tell, I have a passion for cars and driving 🙂

      “Don’t worry about the rust. It adds character.” – This made me smile! Can’t wait to go on another road trip now..

        Lesh Jazza NOMADasaurus

        The whole of Route 66 would be incredible! Would love to hear about it when you get around to driving it. Thanks for reading, Adam.

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