South Away: The Pacific Coast on Two Wheels
Hackinen, Meaghan M 1985-
South Away: The Pacific Coast on Two Wheels is a travel memoir, a road story, and an homage to the tales of adventure—from The Hobbit to my father and grandmother’s true-to-life bedtime stories—that inspired my youth. The travel takes place over a four-month period in the fall of 2009, when, alongside my sister and former rival, I set out to pedal the Pacific Coast, from Terrace, British Columbia, to the tip of the Baja Peninsula. With much enthusiasm but little cycling experience, we face the dangers and hardships of the road, from rough weather to perilous highway, learning from our missteps and seeking out minimalist pleasures along the way. Accompanying the physical travel is an inner journey, composed of flashbacks and reflections, wherein I contemplate past life events, in particular the role of family in shaping my current character, as well as a dilemma I have been puzzled by since childhood: how do you create a satisfying life while balancing risk and adventure? By combining an inward-looking gaze with the act of cycle touring, I come to terms with an oftentimes tumultuous relationship with my sister, analyze how my life trajectory differs from my mother’s more traditional path, and explore different ways of being, formulating a set of guiding principles to carry forward after the journey ends. South Away: The Pacific Coast on Two Wheels combines elements of the quest—a goal-driven protagonist-narrator who encounters challenges, surmounts obstacles, and gains new skills in pursuit of a destination-goal—with the road genre, a form in which the road provides both the geographical and narrative structure. I aim to present a female take on the road story, a subgenre that has traditionally been dominated by fast cars and male narrators, while also laying bare both the enticement and the tedium of long-distance bicycle travel.
DegreeMaster of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
DepartmentInterdisciplinary Centre for Culture and Creativity
CommitteeMiller, Dianne; Liu, Yin; Chilibeck, Phil
Copyright DateOctober 2016