UPDATED June 15, 2020

BY Stephanie Thornton

IN Company

no comments

UPDATED June 15, 2020

BY Stephanie Thornton

IN Company

no comments

TDA Reports From The Field: Victoria, BC – Isolation from 1 to 100


Stephanie Thornton rode the 2016 Tour d’Afrique and has worked with TDA Global Cycling on the Tour d’Afrique & Orient Express Cycling Expeditions.

In December 2019, I heard about Covid-19 and I thought that it couldn’t possibly present itself at my doorstep. No more than three months later, on March 14th, I lost all three of my jobs and most of the city of Victoria B.C shut down. This is a similar story or much worse than I heard from most of my friends across the globe.

I had just moved into a temporary sublet in the city, and was awaiting to hear if TDA’s Pub Ride and Trans Europa trips were moving forward. As the days progressed, worldwide, things seemed to be worsening, and I knew that it would be unsafe for travel. TDA promptly made the necessary decision to postpone the tours till next year. A difficult decision but the right one to ensure the safety of all of us.

With Tallis on TDA 2019

I felt strange in my new space, and with the future being so unknown. Now more than ever, I realized being still is certainly not my forté. Nonetheless, I took some time to think about what I truly wanted for the next year. Time is a funny thing. In the absence of it, I crave more, but when presented with too much I find it challenging to focus. Naturally my days started to blend together as the reality of what was happening to our community and communities across the globe sunk in. I felt lucky to have a roof over my head, and the facilities that I need, but couldn’t help but feel unmotivated. However, over the next few months, I managed to spend my time writing, applied for my Masters, and tried my very hardest to run everyday.

Northern BC

Today I’m in my tent, the same one that I’ve spent countless nights sleeping in under the sky in Africa on TDA’s Tour d’Afrique. I’m allowing my body to rest from the rigorous job of tree planting in Northern B.C. I’m here with an eclectic group of individuals that range from artists, to hospitality workers, to students. The common thread amongst us all being that our lives are on hold or we’ve lost our jobs, and tree planting was deemed an essential industry.

Camp set up in Northern B.C

Working for TDA has prepared me for these moments, where we thrive under the pressure of production, make light of rain storms that flood out our tents, get swarmed by bugs, and pretty much face smash into every obstacle until we find our way. My bumps, bruises and cuts are minor compared to the mental strength needed to bag up and carry 50 + pounds of trees for 10 hours a day, dig thousands of holes and jam trees into the ground.

A friend preparing to plant

Anything is possible, and like TDA we are a community that;

  • Lives in tents
  • Are multinational
  • Uses baby wipes more than showers
  • Are hungry ALL THE TIME
  • Treats beer like gold
  • Enjoys type 2 fun
  • Get our vehicles stuck. Often.
  • Frequently have no idea where we are
  • Uses Duct tape to fix everything

Daily driving

Among other things, I’m elated to have a job, be outside, and be connecting with nature. With strict measures and company protocols even in the bush, I’m no longer isolated as one, but now with 100 people. I feel a bit less lonely, and although some days I can’t believe I’m doing this, just like TDA tours, I know I’ll look back on this experience having mentally and physically grown stronger. I might even be back for more. It’s not an adventure till something goes wrong or till a challenge presents itself and everyday feels like a challenge. Here’s to cold nights that lead to grateful mornings full of coffee and landscapes in the mountains. It’s been comforting to know we can get through this together.


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