Ashley Green’s Volkswagen Westfalia is towed outside of Virden earlier this summer. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
My name is Ashley Green and I am from the small town of Heathcote, Ont. On July 1, 2012, I set out for the adventure of a lifetime. I decided to embark upon a personal journey to the West Coast travelling in my 1981 Volkswagen Westfalia with my dog Luna.
Being a 25-year-old female travelling alone, I have chosen to take a path of total freedom for the summer season. It has been a tremendous journey filled with panoramic views of glaciers, mountains, emerald lakes and prairie fields.
I have met plenty of memorable personalities along the way and collectively added unforgettable chapters into the story of my life.
I would like to share one of those unforgettable stories about the people of Brandon and how accidentally being here has in some ways changed my life.
On Thursday, July 16, my van broke down two kilometres west of Virden on the Trans-Canada Highway. I was lucky to have someone stop and give me a lift to the CAA in Brandon. You see, I feared the engine was seriously damaged and as such would be a costly expense my travel budget would not allow.
The friendly folks at CAA were kind to tow my van to the Sobeys parking lot while I decided what I was to do next. I lived there for five days with Luna.
I then decided to take the van to Tory’s Repair, where I have been living in the parking lot for the past 10 days.
Admittedly, Brandon was not a planned destination for my trip, so ending up here was a bit of a surprise.
I have had a remarkable time and have been genuinely touched by the kindness shown to me by so many residents of this city.
Previous to my adventure, I was working for an established NGO teaching science in First Nations communities across the country. I have both worked and travelled nationwide and as such have met incredible people along the way.
Something vibrantly colourful happens when one embarks upon adventure. The possibility of meeting new and interesting people can become commonplace as the doors of opportunity open.
My experience here in Brandon has been paramount in illustrating the goodness of people.
And this kind of goodness supersedes my extensive travelling history. It is this type of goodness that is easily forgotten in both our busy world and within the comforts of home.
I want to thank Mike (and the guys) from CAA for checking up to make sure I was OK while I was living in the Sobeys parking lot.
I would also like to thank and commend Andrea and Ozzie for so openly inviting me into their home for meal, shower and the chance to do my laundry.
I’d like to thank everyone at Margo’s Grill for feeding me.
Many thanks to Dean for providing mechanical advice and information.
I would like to give my most sincere thanks to Tory Chambers and everyone at Tory’s Repair for not only showing me extreme kindness but for making me feel right at home here in Brandon. Without Tory’s mechanical handiwork, my van would likely have never run again.
I would also like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Jon, a true kindred spirit, remarkable friend and incredible person.
Thank you to everyone else whom I have not otherwise named for the smiles, support and compassion.
The adventure continues now but I will never forget the absolute benevolence of the citizens of Brandon and I will always hold a piece of this city in my heart.
I hope to pass on this type of kindness to others for the rest of my life.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 1, 2012