In the wilderness lies the preservation of the world.
Henry David Thoreau
The day starts early – at midnight we all sing “Happy Birthday” to Jette, who celebrates her 18th birthday today. We sit in the park till late at night (early in the morning?) with cake and donuts, enjoying our final evening. How fast time flies when you are having fun and sharing it with friends. But we have to go to bed because we need to get up early to get to the airport on time.
As opposed to sleep, breakfast is abundant. At the last meal we have together there are pancakes and bagels. Something else I will miss about Canada. And this morning also goes by in a flash and suddenly we are all packed and sitting in a circle in the grass for the last time to do give each other some feedback. What was great, what we will take with us, what we hated, and what we did not do enough of. The good things are more difficult to count because there were so many of them. Everyone has the opportunity to say as much or as little as he or she wants to, and everything that is said is accepted heartily – whether positive or negative criticism. But the positive outweighs the negative, because everyone thinks our group functioned well together.
At the end Kathi & Bernd give us the Irish blessing. I always loved singing in a group and notice that thinking about the fact that we will not be sharing melodies every day with one another gives me the goose-bumps.
As soon as we get to the airport we have to say goodbye to Kathi and Bernd. I would have liked to spend more time with them, as with the others, but we have to check in for our flight. Luckily, we will see them again at our wrap-up weekend!
But there is no time to be sad because the check-in line is so long that we decide to start up a kind of “Meals on wheels”. Yes, you heard correctly. We bring out the bagels and the toppings, and spread them out on a wagon so that we can all eat but still remain in line. A typical WSKK idea: spontaneous, slightly crazy and terribly practical.
Nothing really interesting happens any more at check-in and boarding… normal airport routine, mixed with the knowledge that we will all be going separate ways in the next 24 hours. But it doesn’t take the fun out of it – we are all still laughing at each other’s jokes.
In the airplane I see that Felix is the only thing separating me from the window so I can see everything! And then we say: Auf Wiedersehen Canada! We take off and I am so amazed at the sight of the snow-covered mountains. They get smaller and smaller until they disappear behind the clouds.
I complete my journal, watch Hannes sort through all his photographs and lose myself in thoughts about time. In the airplane I don’t know when the next day begins or what time it is, and that fascinates me. The next time I see dry land under the airplane it is a flat, green landscape. We are over Holland. Unfortunately, I slept when we crossed Iceland and Greenland, perhaps the contrast to the high mountains in Canada would not have been so extreme. The landing in Frankfurt is uneventful. Of course I would have loved to spend more time in Canada, but I am also happy to be home.
As we hug each other at the train station we know that this is definitely not the end. The trip is over, but our engagement for the wilderness and our friendships have only just begun and I will do everything possible to maintain these.
Thank you Wilderness International for a wonderful expedition 2014!