It is a serious mistake, when writing a travel series, to begin with a theme. The imposition of a framework, before the first mile has been logged, leads one to reject anything that falls outside the pre-scheduled, predetermined structure of the trip. Themes, if they emerge, should evolve organically; organizing principles should be discovered, rather than programmed.
The Salish Sojourn fulfills this brief manifesto. In July 2016, we (my marvelous wife and companion-in-travel, Mary, and myself) threw together a list of destinations in Washington and British Columbia, Canada, that we wanted to visit. A couple of places (Vancouver, Victoria, San Juan Island) were old friends. Others we had never visited. It made for an interesting, albeit arbitrary collection. Later, when I sat down to write about our experiences, I found myself with a significant problem:
What was the theme?
Ultimately I found myself thinking a good deal about the indigenous people who first lived among the great rain-soaked inland sea of the Pacific Northwest. In 1988, a marine biologist named Bert Webber gave the label "Salish Sea" to the waters between the mainland US and Canada's Vancouver Island (the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Strait of Georgia, and Puget Sound). The term refers to the Coastal Salish people, a diverse population who live along these waters and speak variations of the Salish language.
Our trip was essentially a large loop around the Salish Sea, and thus, the Salish Sojourn was born. If I was to retrace our steps, I would want to spend even more time attempting to learn how the indigenous people lived in this rich, biologically diverse region. But that would be to impose a structure on the series. I am quite happy with what I found, and so, without further introduction, I present the Salish Sojourn.