At the beginning of 2018, my dog Momo and I left Canadian soil to explore 22 countries in Europe. We landed in Portugal with enough dog food to last a few weeks, a room to stay in for a few nights, and a loose plan to have a few adventures. What happened afterward is shown in the pages of this book.
Aside from your dog, there are two things you definitely should bring on any trip: the means and the will. Although the means is necessary—to afford accommodations, food, transportation—the more important of the two is, in fact, the will. For me, the means fell into place long after the will took hold. Only when we were already on European soil did I buy an old camper, which gave us a place to sleep, a kitchen to cook in, and the best transportation for a road trip with a dog.
In Albania, I walked the deserted winter beaches of a tiny tourist town along the Adriatic Coast. Momo was barking as he romped through the water, demanding I throw something, anything, for him to fetch. I didn’t have his ball, so I dug around the littered tide and found a twig. I broke it into smaller bits and tossed them a few feet, one by one. Momo leaped from the water for each tiny twig with more vigor than the last.
See, the will to go on a journey doesn’t need to be a life purpose or a grand plan (though it could be either of those things). The will can be almost imperceptible at first. It might start with an idea, a person to visit, a twig to chase . . . or it could be as simple as changing “I think
I’m going to Europe” to “I’m going
to Europe.” This last example was my catalyst, and though it took me a few years to say it, the wheels started turning once I did.
With Momo always a few steps ahead of me, we met wild apes in Gibraltar, dipped into the Mediterranean’s blue waters, scaled mountains with my dad on the Isle of Skye, watched the sun rise at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, and met countless amazing people who helped us along our mostly solo journey.
But it all started that first day in Portugal, after Momo’s first-ever airplane flight, a lot of paperwork, and a long pee on a pole at the airport taxi stand (by Momo). I remember thinking: “I hope they let dogs in taxis.” (Turns out they did.)
Copyright © 2019 by Andrew Knapp. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.