The winter was cold and the pandemic lockdown had begun. In our time apart I started to write songs. At the time, they weren’t very good and I found I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I would record them on my phone and still send them to Bops. He’d always respond with kind words and a smiley face, and that kept me going.
A few months later, once spring was in full force and my birthday had just passed, I bought myself a bass guitar. I would leave it at Bop’s house when I wasn’t there and soon he discovered his love for bass.
Shortly after my birthday was Bops’s Birthday and we took the opportunity to get away. We packed up our acoustic guitars and headed out to Abraham lake. Those three days we spent exploring, laughing and playing music under the stars. It was our blissful little oasis and we got to explore our sound. Around the crackling fire, we wrote instrumental jingles and I tried to put feelings into words. We came home with memories and guitars covered in soot and dust.
Not long after we returned from our camping trip and after a bit of Kijiji searching, Bops found a unique, acoustic bass for sale. The interest was immediate and after weeks of contemplation, we planned to get it. One balmy summer day we ventured out to Edmonton to buy it. The traffic was bad and the sun was hot, but still, we made it fun. Buying the bass was a success. Afterwards, we bought some veggie sushi and green onion cakes and enjoyed them in a park. The green onion cakes were delicious and overall, it was a wonderful day in the middle of a chaotic, pandemic summer.
Slowly we started to work on our music, but we were still finding our footing. Even though we were not yet musically adept, we found it fun and took the time to busk at different markets and on Lakeshore Drive in Sylvan. We made little money and most of the time were too quiet to hear over the cars, but spending days playing music with someone you love is an amazing experience and I felt my outlook on life brighten.
Each week our music started to improve and we found ourselves with a small collection of original songs. Sometimes we would toss around the idea of recording our own music, but at the time that was still a far-off dream. We decided that could be a winter project and started to set some money aside to buy equipment.
When August rolled around we got the crazy idea to do a road trip together. In roughly a week, we had my car packed to the brim and we headed out early in the morning to British Columbia. Growing up I was shy and kept to myself. After school, I either was taking part in school activities or at home. I did not consider myself daring or adventurous, so embarking on a thirteen-hour journey with my boyfriend was the most exciting thing I had ever done.
The drive was beautiful. Old Door’s cassettes became the soundtrack for the journey and the car was filled with happy conversation. We bought expensive fruit and laughed until we cried, but like any good story, nothing stays smooth forever. Right after passing by Kamloops, we were halted by a major accident on the highway. Filled with emotion, we made a split-second decision to turn down a side road instead of waiting for it to be cleaned up. This decision made for a grand adventure as we crept down the dirt road and then up the dirt road. It felt like we were climbing mountains in my little CRV. We laughed through the worry and tried to figure out where we were.
When we finally emerged onto the open road again the view was beautiful and we took a break to eat. Later we learned that we were looking out over Loon Lake. That view made me feel peaceful and there was something about finding our way through the unknown that made me feel proud.
We drove on, and that night we slept, cramped, in the back of my car. In the morning we pushed on hoping to reach our destination: Whistler. We made it that day and upon arriving I was once again overcome with peace and joy. I had never been to Whistler before, but Bop’s had and he spent the day touring me around. For a snack, we enjoyed some sushi by the skate park. We covered a lot of ground and I knew this would be a place we would visit again.
That night we drove until we found a place to camp and we set up. We slept till we were ready to go on and then started our journey home. The route we took back home went through Jasper and lots of small Alberta towns. We spent one last night camping and then made it home, grimy, tired and fulfilled.
Though we didn’t do a whole lot musically on that trip, we grew as people and became closer as a couple. Our creativity and love were flourishing and our song Pilgrimage was written shortly after our journey. I cannot express my gratitude for that adventure, but we will remember that four-day road trip for years to come. Ask us about it sometime.