I was not sad being in Bangkok knowing I was leaving, it was time for me to go. I was done with the travel. I was looking forward to coming home and digesting my trip.
My last day in Bangkok, I decided to spoil myself with the truly inexpensive pleasures. I got a manicure, one-hour Thai massage and eyebrow shaping.
On the flights home I felt famished. Is that normal? I just kept eating—all the plane food plus everything I bought at the airports beforehand.
I watched a documentary and another film on the plane. It was weird not having seen TV or movies in over four months.
Another weird thing was the toilets in the airport in Tokyo. They had all these buttons on them for spray, bidet and flushing sound. Well that was just too much fun for me. Who doesn’t like pressing buttons? The flushing noise was the best.
(I wonder what the girls in the stall next to me thought as I giggled and hit all the buttons?)
About 20 hours of flight time and three flights later I arrived in Canada.
PHOTO: Rebecca Hogarth
I got a teensy bit impatient in Vancouver waiting to get on the plane to Whitehorse. I was as excited to come back as I was to leave—it is a completely different feeling, but the same level of excitement and adventure.
There are almost always familiar faces in the gate to fly to the Yukon, and when there aren’t, it seems that everyone knows someone close to you.
Flying over the Yukon made me grin in my seat. The familiarity of the mountains and the dramatic landscape—I felt at home.
The last leg to Dawson City is one of the minor drawbacks to being even further out. However, that is the best part.
I was very happy I found a beautiful coat in Bangkok and had some warm clothes on hand because I had to acclimatize (rather, freezing is what I call it).
I had put the word out when I was coming home, and two local miners and friends of mine, Marie and Troy, were in Whitehorse, so they picked me up.
I joined them as they ran around gathering supplies. The buzz of being back wore off only when the jet lag hit me super hard in the store and I needed to lie down on their cart.
It was funny—they just carted me around. I sat on a new toilet seat. It was soft and when I got up I left my butt print on it.
Late afternoon the next day, we drove to Dawson. I adore this drive, as every patch of forest appears slightly different. The tall, thin majestic trees seem symbolic of the characters here in the Yukon.
One thing that hit me very fast was the time was late and it was still very light. I exclaimed how happy I was to get to have the sun for a few more hours.
Arriving in Dawson at 2 a.m., we drove past the Pit (the oldest local bar) and a few slightly drunk patrons were play-fighting outside. As I got out of the truck, a green glow lit up the Midnight Dome.
Wow. Could I be more lucky was all I could think.
We did get pulled over by the police. I asked them if they were welcoming me home. They said the licence plate was dirty, then proceeded to ask me about my adventures.
After being home a few weeks, I’m back to work and trying to get our ’80s band back into action.
I remain like a tourist, though I have been living here for five years. I take my camera with me everywhere, still fascinated with everything. I was very pleased to get back in time for the river breaking.
I must say that Yukoners are rightly proud of their home. We do not even have to like each other, but there is a mutual respect for the sacrifices we all make to live here. The communities seem to have an unspoken word of assisting fellow Yukoners when in need.
Only here do people get out of their car and leave it idling in the street to give a welcome-back hug.
The question “How was your winter?” has seemed weird to ask. “Cold”, “rough”, “survived” are a few answers I’ve gotten.
Dumps of snow on May 3 reminded me of the pictures of the cold and chill I missed all winter.
I was excited to see my nephew and my brother who have now settled here too. Kids grow a lot in a couple of months.
My housing fell through, of course. But not five minutes after I let the word out I had more than a few options. Whew, I do not have to head south yet!
Having support from the people in the Yukon really aids in my travels. It makes it easier to be gone, knowing that I have a safe place to return. Without that, how could I ever leave?
One more thing I missed about the Yukon, (the silence).
Rebecca Hogarth has been a resident of Dawson City since 2007. She feels the energy of the Yukon and the encouraging people within allow her to shine in so many ways.