Hiking Across the Island as a Fifteen Year Old

I still recall the happiness I felt when my parents agreed to let my sister Rose and me travel to St.Shotts and Torbay when we were only teenagers.  The danger did not seem as great back then and we learned so much from doing it.

Not everyone thought allowing two teenagers loose on the highways of our province was a good idea. The cousins and friends in St. Shotts were shocked to see us on our own, without our parents. I guess they could see all the dangers that we overlooked or didn’t give a second thought to as we believed that as long as you hitchhiked in pairs you were safe.

Okay, so what could possible happen to us? We could get attacked by a bear who was protecting  her cubs. No, that didn’t happen. We could get hit by a passing, car, motorcycle, truck, bus or a log falling off a large logging truck. No, that didn’t happen either! We could be picked up by some crazy serial killer who would appear very friendly and nice, but would wait until one of us was asleep or running off to the bushes to relieve oneself and then do away with us one at a time. No, glad that didn’t happen! We could run out of money and starve to death on our way across the island.  Never happened! Yes, we did jump aboard a small car with only two seats and Rose had to sit on my lap for a long drive. We switched when we couldn’t stand it any longer. And we did get in with out share of fast drivers whom we asked to slow down, but they didn’t! But who were we to expect that after all? We had no money for gas and it wasn’t our vehicle!  There were a few scary looking characters, but they turned out to be harmless in the end.

So we made it to St. Shotts and stayed with relatives. We heard it over and over “I can’t believe Albert and Joan let you girls travel here by yourselves!”  But we weren’t going to let this comment spoil our first adventure. We had travelled farther than any other girls our age in St.Shotts so we were really proud of ourselves. We felt brave and free and adventurous. Nothing could discourage us from our having fun.

How we got to Torbay I have no idea. One of our relatives must have given us a ride. We ended up on Quarry Lane visiting our Uncle Bob and Aunt Theresa. Uncle Bob took us siteseeing and we were totally bored, but thankful to him for his generosity. He took us to the top of the Confederation Building, downtown and many other places. Aunt Theresa kept us fed and our cousins introduced us to their friends.  We spent a lot of time walking to the store at the top of the hill and chatting with our new friends. By cousin Bob was in a band called the Symbols(correct me if I’m wrong!) and we enjoyed listening to them playing our favorite songs.

I don’t remember how we got back home to Pasadena. Perhaps it was a friend of my Uncle Bob. My sister Rose might remember but not me.  I just remember that I didn’t want to go back home, that I wanted to keep on travelling, meeting more people, seeing more places.  I just knew that when I finished high school I wanted to go as far away as I could from my hometown to explore and to get to know this world I was born into. I had a lifetime ahead of me! I think it was this short trip that inspired me to think big and to go where my heart desires.

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About Newfoundland Traveller

I'm a Newfoundlander with a love of reading, writing and travelling. I've travelled around our province and lived in four provinces of Canada. I love a good book and a good blog. My family means the world to me, and some day I hope to travel to many countries of the world with my husband and sons' families.
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5 Responses to Hiking Across the Island as a Fifteen Year Old

  1. Back around the summer of 74 myself and my best buddy decide to hike across Canada. I wa hanging out with a guy from Goulds and he had moved to Calgary to work. We were extended an invitation to come visit and so we did. I was a M.U.N. student and my friend worked at The Department of Tourism . So when the time was right for both of us…off we went.
    My Dad was Post Master in St.Mary’s and I would send a postcard from every province we managed to hitch through.( Neither one of us dared tell our parents of our intended adventure…we knew it would definitely not be well received. ) I recall my dear Dad saying,” I was beginning to wonder where you would actually stop!”
    Anyway we made it safely to Alberta..thanks to the generousity of the transport truck drivers mostly.We travelled to Drumheller to visit the Dinosaur Museum.We travelled to Banff and went up the Sulphur Mountain in the gondolas and enjoyed a meal in the restaurant up there. We travelled to Brooks to stay overnight with my friend’s relatives. No meatpacking plant there then. These are only a few of the highlights of what I remember.I do recall being so impressed with the Flatland going on forever and then there’s those fabulous Rockies
    Everybody seemed to travel that way back then. The TransCanada would be lined off with hitchikers ..some holding up signs telling their desination.Talk about trust.
    I remember well when my hitchiking days ended. It was when the young girl from St.John’s…Dana Bradley was murdered. Very tragic indeed and still is.
    Reality check for me happened then and I am thinking….GOOD TIMING!
    My next plan was to hitch across Europe but I met my future husband that winter and did he have other adventures in store for me!
    What an adventure for two eighteen year old girls!

  2. Yes, to leave a small community and then to travel so far, without your parents to bail you out if you needed them! It was so exciting seeing all the new places and meeting so many people. You’ve been travelling ever since, sometimes it might seem in circles and then to Ireland, Mexico, and on and on. I remember when Dana Bradley was murdered and it was horrific that no one was charged with the murder. It is hard to understand how one human can do that to another. On a happier note, happy travelling on your year off!

  3. wonderful stories!
    I hitched from Calgary to Edmonton in 1974–wasn’t that the year when Trudeau himself told everyone to go and see Canada?
    Still–two young girls–it says alot about your Province and how your parents had confidence in the values and security of the Newfoundland community.

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