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Around the world in 275 days
October 19, 2010
Winnipeg, Man. — For Reymond Pagé, spending 275 days travelling the world with his family was a bonding experience, but it also inspired an art exhibit currently on display at the Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery (MHCG), a ministry of Mennonite Church Canada.
“We relaxed and enjoyed the experience more than we would have as tourists,” Pagé says.
At his address for the Sept. 24 opening of the exhibit, entitled 275 days, Pagé referred to his family. “We were there for each other for everything, 24 hours a day… This is a Celebration of culture, travel, family life.”
Pagé says that before the trip, he primarily worked in pencil. But the exhibit displays a variety of mediums, from graphite to charcoal, coloured pencil, water colour and oil, inspired by the many thousands of images Pagé collected on the journey. “I took over 20,000 photos and came home with just over 14,000 pictures and short videos. Every night I wrote and culled.”
His art techniques have diversified as well. “I do different kinds of paintings now than I did before I left…I never would have done those kinds of abstract paintings [before].”
Although both Pagé and Peters were keen to travel, it took time to plan their trip and make arrangements for Peters to defer her teacher’s salary so that she could take a temporary leave. Pagé and Peters first met with a travel agent in March 2006, but Pagé spent more than 15 months and countless hours pouring over Lonely Planet travel guides, National Geographic and other information to pull together an itinerary that suited the family’s requirements and expectations.
“I had to be prepared mentally,” Pagé says. “I had to understand what we were getting ourselves into.” He says that it wasn’t until they were on the plane leaving Winnipeg that the reality of what they were doing set in. By that time, he was ready.
Pagé points out that for their two sons, who were about 10 and 12 years old respectively at the time, almost one year of travelling formed a significant part of their lives. By the end of the trip, one some seemed like a seasoned traveller. “He’d wake up each day and say ‘what’s next?’” While travelling, the other son was inspired to learn about web design – and he created his father’s website at http://members.shaw.ca/aliveart/index.html.
The Pagé family travelled with little more than a backpack apiece and the clothing on their backs. “We’ll go to our neighbour’s cottage for five days or a week and take more stuff,” Pagé notes.
They met many people along the way whose personal possessions were less than what they carried in their packs. “You leave behind a lot of preconceptions about what you need to get by. We don’t really need a whole lot.”
Pagé admits that recognizing what he could do without was one of the most important things he learned on the journey, along with “taking time to slow down and recognize what’s important.” He says he was intrigued by “men my age having coffee in the middle of the afternoon. You begin to realize that it’s the way it should be, to have time to enjoy [life]….You have to do your best to make time for what’s important.”