Maxed out 

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Travel makes the heart grow fonder. Or is that absence? Is there a difference? If you travel, aren’t you absent from the place you left? True, the point of travel is to go someplace, get somewhere yet still be in the moment enough to enjoy the journey, not focus on the destination, even though that was the whole point of the trip in the first place... unless you’re making a circuit, in which case you’re just going to wind up where you started, the place you’re absent from and growing fonder of. I think.

Obviously, travel makes the brain grow confused. And the writer grow tangential. Where was I headed when I started this? Not the trip, the column. I’m already lost.

Being on the road for a month now, there are several things I’ve grown fonder of and several things I’d happily spend the rest of my life avoiding. I’ve grown much fonder of my home. Home is where the… STOP with the cliches already. Jeez, it’s not like I even understand most of them.

Anyway, the more I travel around, the more I visit other ski resorts, the more I’m convinced I made the right decision when I bought a condo in Whistler on a whim almost 20 years ago. On my first ski trip to Whistler from the Old Country — Ontario — my skis and I parted company during a rapid descent on a blue run on Blackcomb where the terrain park now stands. If I had more ego, I’d say I got injured in the terrain park. But it was just a garden variety blue run then and I was messin’ with the laws of physics and, as you might guess, physics won.

Hurt, limping, chewing Tylenol #3 like it was gum and with three days left on a six-day ticket, I wandered the village like Quasimodo while my Perfect Partner skied. I’m not sure whether it was gravity or one of those long, crook-necked canes that dragged me into a real estate office but when I was spit out again, the idea of buying a condo I’d never seen in a resort I’d only spent 72 hours in made all the sense in the world. Ah, pharmaceuticals, ya gotta love ‘em.

During subsequent visits — when I finally got to see what I’d purchased — the combination of fun, pain and being in a place where winter was celebrated rather than tolerated convinced me it made sense to move here. If that seems rash, you have to remember there were a lot of people in the country around that time who thought mortgaging the house to buy Bre-X shares made sense. In hindsight, buying a Whistler condo I’d never seen made way more sense.

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