Dawdlin' in Dawson Pt. 3
Reunited in Whitehorse

August 25th – 30th, 2014

What Going On…

Amanda writes: It’s Monday morning and I’m about to embark on a week long trip cycling to Whitehorse … alone. You’re probably wondering why I’m alone. I certainly am. Let’s rewind a bit. Back when Andrew and I decided to do this trip and wrap things up, we made a decision that not a lot of people knew about. I formally retired from work and in the process had changed our departure date from November to the end of July. When we changed it I was very thoughtful in our departure date because I wanted to be sure I was leaving my work team in good shape. When my date changed, unfortunately my company decided that I was no longer eligible for some considerations for my long notice period, in spite of close to 12 years of service. So not only did I walk away from three months salary, I walked away from that consideration piece of 7 months notice. It was disappointing, but I’d do it again for my colleagues.

So after we learned this we decided that Andrew would maintain his position at work. He had some vacation coming up that he could use for the start of our trip and then he would return. Andrew is in sales and paid in part by commission. There is a big project he’s been working on for years that could help to cover some of the losses from my company. Just to add some confusion, there were other things Andrew was dealing with amongst the job to complicate his vacation time. And so he returned to work on August 26th leaving me in Dawson to ride to Whitehorse alone. If this project worked out well it could give us another six years on the road or at least give us some more spending money. Worst case scenario I’d meet Andrew in Mexico at Christmas.

And then it just got messy. As Andrew was getting his things ready in Dawson to leave he was uploading some photos to Facebook. I was sitting at the table next to the laptop and some notifications kept popping up. The little beep notification caught my attention after a couple of beeps. What’s this? Messages from an old girlfriend. She was talking about old feelings and totally flirting and after confirming that I wasn’t accompanying him says, “Where are you staying? Do you want to come over?” WTF?! Does he want to come over? What the hell is this!

Let me introduce her. When Andrew and I first were getting to know each other he told me that he always had a soft spot for her. This is someone that he dated as a young teenager. Over the last couple of years, they went for coffee and Andrew said it was so that he could get some closure on their relationship. I agreed and after their meeting I told him that I hope he got what he was looking for and asked him to close the book on it. Just something about their relationship never sat right with me which is why I asked him to be done with it. He knew that I was uneasy about her.

So after seeing these messages pop up I opened the message box and could see ongoing flirting on both sides for some time. I was so hurt. I couldn’t believe it. Now I was left wondering if his trip to Vancouver really was for work, or to see her. Andrew and I talked briefly about it but then he had to go, and off he went. With me having the next six days to think about what was happening in Vancouver.

So here I am riding my bicycle over 500 km alone all the while thinking about what Andrew is going to do with these inappropriate advances from another woman. I know he’s a smart man and will make smart decisions, but now that I have the next six days to think about things and my mind is racing. This is torture! And to add to it, I have no cell phone reception and no wifi connections for the next week.

Andrew and I are great friends; the best of friends in fact. We can ride together super well, hang out everyday, share a home and have a really good time. We even enjoy rolling in the sheets occasionally. But as anyone in a relationship can attest to, intimacy takes some work; especially after a few years. It’s especially hard when one person is distracted and that distraction is another person with their arms open wide flirting back at them. You know I only met her once and my intuition told me there was something about her. I wouldn’t have guessed she is someone who would mess around with a married man, but certainly I learned to trust my intuition. She crossed the line when she invited him over. Andrew confirmed it was never his intent to attract that kind of attention and that yes she was offside.

This hurts so much because I’m cycling in Northern Canada alone. Pedalling and seeing the world was never something I wanted to do alone. In the end I know Andrew will follow his heart and his heart is here with me, but it’s still hard.

So here I am cycling for days and having horrible scenarios playing through my mind for hours. I’m cycling from sun up to sun down just thinking. It’s so hard because I can’t even talk to Andrew. Now let me take a step back. Maybe I’m overreacting. He hasn’t done anything more than encourage someone with words who he previously swapped saliva with. Anyone that has ever met Andrew knows he’s a charmer and likes to flirt; it’s one of his many great qualities. It’s probably more her reaction to it and the completely off side invitation from her. I love Andrew as evidenced by the fact that I gave up everything; the car, the home, the job, everything we own so that I can ride my bike around the world with him. I can only hope that he is now prepared to also give up everything, to ride with me.

And so how will this end? I managed to find wifi after a few days and connected with Andrew. When Andrew returned to work it turns out he was terminated while on vacation so he never will get that opportunity to make some extra money. Andrew and I need to talk about what has happened over the last week and put it behind us once and for all. Hopefully now he can see why I’ve never been comfortable with this particular old friend of his.

Andrew writes: Amanda was pretty upset last night after reading my Facebook. On one hand I can’t say that I blame her. I think it is easy to see from her perspective that my flirtations with another person, especially one that I’ve had a previous relationship with were inappropriate. I’ve decided that the best defence, is to not take offence. I should have known better. What may seem innocent in the eyes of some, can be quite hurtful to others, especially those that you share such a close bond with.

I caught a ride from Dawson to Whitehorse with Natalia and Yuliya on Sunday and then flew back to Vancouver via WestJet. What a difference it was between them and AirNorth. No free lunch, no warm cookie, or candy service. Oh well. Now I know better for next time.

It felt strange, being back in Vancouver, without Amanda. It felt even stranger arriving to work to find my desk had been cleaned out and my name bar gone. I spent the day doing what I could, trying to piece together what was happening with my job, my customers, and my life alone, back in Vancouver.

Of course, I feel horribly about how our last night together went, with what transpired, and know that it will be a long, winding road to restore the trust and intimacy between us.

To all the girls who cared for me
Who filled my nights with ecstasy
They live within my heart
I’ll always be a part
Of all the girls I’ve loved before
– Willie Nelson

I have always held a place in my heart for those in my life that I have loved, and I follow several old flames on Facebook. I have always felt closely with one in particular, and as Amanda mentions above, I knew that she felt uneasy about my renewed relationship. I made sure that while I was in Vancouver, I took the time to discuss this with the one involved, and while I know we’ll always be friends, I know she understands where I stand in terms of my life and my love. I’m also very sorry to have hurt the woman I love, my best friend, and partner in life.

Also, despite making my intentions clear with my employer that I would be returning, it just didn’t work out that way. I decided to re-join Amanda in Whitehorse, and we will continue riding south from there.There were still things for me to do in Vancouver, like shop for warmer clothing and some other pieces of equipment that perhaps were lacking in the preparations for cycling in the Arctic. That’s how I spent Thursday and Friday.

I can’t remember when she said it, but Amanda made a good point, and one that stuck with me enough to write it now…

“I gave up my job, my life, everything, to do this trip with you..and now you’re back in Vancouver, with a job, our friends, our home, our everything.” – Amanda

I feel now that maybe the way we planned this trip isn’t fair – to either of us. It just felt strange to be back home, after a short three week vacation, with Amanda all off on her own. I never felt worried for her safety or welfare, apart from maybe the traffic she would experience, since I know she is a strong, capable cyclist and human being. Her cycling tour down to Oregon a few years ago really helped set my mind at ease also. Still, there is a part of me that wishes I had done my part to prepare for our adventure, together, as opposed to how it was now.

Today’s Photographs

Dawdlin' in Dawson Pt. 3
Reunited in Whitehorse