Riding a VIA Train Coast to Coast with the CBC

There are times that I’m almost envious of myself. Well, okay, one time that I’m envious of myself. Hey, it’s better than being jealous of others…

I’m going on a train trip. But not any train trip. In fact, this falls into the “Once an Orbit of Pluto” category. And it all started when I read the following in a reply from my friend Brenda:

hey if the cbc sent a train from coast to coast for 38 days of travel and events in september/october for its 50th anniversary celebrations, would you like to go to document the trip/take pictures/take video/set up (take down) kiosks at events/chat with the public/hang out with cbc celebrities?

I actually fell back in my chair, staring at what I’d just read. I looked all around for any sign of Allen Funt’s descendants. I pinched, splashed cold water, and tried to wake up, just to be safe. My reply was something along the lines of:

How many limbs and first-born children do you want?

Brenda, if you haven’t already guessed, works at the CBC. She got handed this project, and was in the process of trying to get it back on track. (Yes, it’s a pun. Deal with it.) This spun off a long string of emails of questions, more than should be asked of a single person. But in short order, we’d determined what was going to happen.

Well, almost. First I had one minor detail to contend with: Getting time off work.

Over the last two years, I’ve managed to weasel my way into a position/role of far too much responsibility and pseudo-authority. My first initial thought was that I would have to go back to Brenda and regretfully decline. But it never hurts to ask.

So the day my boss returned from his honeymoon, I pulled him into a meeting room, and delivered the following speech.

Me: First off, I’m not quitting.

Him: (Either not caring, or not showing the huge sigh of relief) Okay.

Me: Here’s the deal. This is the 50th anniversary of the CBC, and they want to make a big thing of it. So they’re sending a train across Canada for about two months, making stops and doing presentations, and they need someone to do computer work, take pictures, document the trip, shoot video, and probably a billion other things. She wants me to go. I want to go. I need two months off.

Him: (Without barely a pause) Okay.

I love this company.

Over the next few weeks, having to shoot video dropped from the radar, and the time shortened to just under a month and a half. But I had the green light, and it was full steam ahead.

Until yesterday, I couldn’t really talk about it. Okay, I had talked about it to a few people, but that was before I found out I wasn’t supposed to. But yesterday was the official first notice to the world of the CBC’s intentions. So I’m free to talk.

On 3 September, I’ll be in Vancouver, getting the train ready, finishing my training (no pun intended) and preparing for the Big Event. 7 September is our first public event, in Vancouver. From there, we visit Kamloops, Jasper, Edmonton, Biggar, Saskatoon, Melville, Winnipeg, Sioux Lookout, Capreol, Sudbury, Windsor, London, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Campbellton, Moncton, and finishing in Halifax on 5 October.

To say I’m excited is … well, let’s just say that concentrating at work as been a little difficult as of late.

So what’s my part in all this? I’ll be the New Media Representative. My job will be to keep the New Media side of things running. This includes 6-9 kiosks (depending on who you ask), taking pictures, handing out free stuff, setting up displays (and taking them down), and writing about it in journal entries. Starting in September, you’ll be able to keep track of (almost) my every move on CBC’s website.

And I’m gonna be on a train for 33 glorious days. (If you can’t see the dopey grin on my face right now, your monitor must be broken.) The only bad part of this is that I have to wait three weeks for all this to start. I don’t know if I can hold out that long.

I’m gonna be working on the railroad, all the live long month and a half!

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