It took 67 years to get here

I completed my 67th year on this earth a few days ago. More and more, I think about how incredibly lucky I am to be where I am, and that anniversary seems to have ramped up those thoughts. That’s at least partly because I see so many people who never make it this far, chronologically speaking, but also because I see so many people who are unhappy.

To use a particularly apt saying, I prefer windshields to rear-view mirrors, and try hard not to spend much time thinking about what was (yes, that’s an odd thing for a historian to say!). Scanning my journals from many years ago recently brought back memories of some really awful times, and I thought about just tossing them. But keeping things in perspective is important, so the digital files of those journals are tucked away in case I ever need another reminder. And the really bad times are at least as important as the good times in the creation of who you become.

Although moving to the Yukon 27 years ago created some of the really bad times, it ultimately was the most significant decision I ever made. This is simply where I belong.

Now, my daily world revolves around my little family of 5 – Bella, Cathy, and Tucker…

Cathy with our dogs Bella and Tucker
…and Molly and I.

Murray with his cat Molly
I’ve been blessed to share my world with some amazing dogs and cats, most recently Monty, who stayed a few weeks longer than expected to teach baby Tucker some important lessons

My dogs Monty and puppy Tucker
The Yukon provides the incentive to stay active, and we’re out a lot. This was at Kluane Lake this past July.

My family at Kluane Lake, Yukon
I’m thankful for every day that I’m able to get into the wilderness. The tougher the access, the better, though most of these canyons at Muncho Lake this past August were too tough to even take Bella and Tucker.

Canyon hiking at Muncho Lake, BC
When I come back from the wilderness, though, I do appreciate the comforts of our home, and our home on wheels. All in all, it’s taken me 67 years to reach a state of deep contentment. That’s the state that I hope you all reach at some point in your journey. Cheers 🙂


It took 67 years to get here — 19 Comments

  1. Dear Murray, you and your writing never cease to amaze me !

    Wish you many more years among us who think alike.

    Happy Birthday, dear friend.


  2. As the song says, “By jove I think you’ve got it.” Some people never get it. Love your pictures and stories. Keep exploring the places we may not get to.

  3. It seems many of us “oldies” find the right pathway later in life. Enjoy your explorations Murray and don’t worry about the past, it’s where it belongs. Today is what counts, enjoy it.

    • Thanks, Richard. I posted during my trip to Ontario in 2011, but the Ontario trip a few weeks ago was a dud because we were sick and the weather sucked. My previous right-coast trips were pre-blog era.

  4. Happy 67th Birthday Murray: Your blog helped me plan making my 67th year the most memorable yet. Our 100 day+ west coast trip through Alberta, Yukon, NWT, Alaska, BC made me feel some of that contentment you mentioned by meeting some of the most awesome people and sight-seeing in Canada and the US. Following your blog this year with a cup of “good morning world” coffee just refreshes those memories.

    • Thanks, Leo. I’m always pleased to hear when my blog has encouraged people to do things or go places that they might not have otherwise. Great trips are always with you in those morning-coffee memories. As we get rid of “stuff”, good memories are the things that we value more and more.

  5. Happy Birthday Murray I always enjoy your photos, writing and blog. It was so nice to get together with you and Cathy on our last trip north. It is great that you are enjoying your retirement. I hope to be able to travel north again in 2018. Maybe a new camera is what you need. I bought a canon T7i camera and the new Canon 70 to 300 zoom a few months ago and love it. All the best to you and your family.

    • Thanks, Bruce – sorry we missed you in Ontario because of that damn bug 🙁 I hope you get up again next year and put your T7i to work. I burned through 2 of them (when it was called the Rebel) before getting my much more durable (and far heavier as a result) Canon EOS 7D.

  6. Happy Birthday!
    I too am someone your blog has provided some insight. I won’t say that I never thought of visiting the Yukon (or many places in BC for that matter), but my interest was more towards driving the Alaskan highway and dipping a gold pan. Your blog has opened my eyes to a lot of interesting places and fun things to do and explore. I guess ultimately its been a reminder that while in some respects being in Ottawa feels like the centre of the universe much of the time, it is a long, long way from many of the interesting and unique places in this country – many of them there really is no other way I would know they exist without people like yourself. Plus you’ve given me a fun read at lunch instead of staring out the window towards downtown lol!
    Hope your birthday was fun!

  7. Heartfelt thanks to you and yours, both 2 and four legged, for letting us in these past years on your adventures and for sharing the fun and excitement of new places. Your travels are wide, varied and of much interest to me; your eye for things you come across, almost infallible!

    While I have been fortunate over the years to travel and explore many times in parts of Alaska, the Yukon and surrounding country has so far been just out of reach. And thanks to your blogs, I really really know what I am missing out on!

    One day, one day… in the meantime I will continue to share your enthusiasm for life, traveling and adventure.

    Happy Birthday, Sir!