Generally, in Canadian culture, if you were to call someone a "sourdough" they might take it as a negative comment about their disposition, or even, *gasp* their appearance. In the Yukon, however, a "sourdough" is a term for a permanent resident, someone who has survived all four seasons (as opposed to a newcomer, referred to as "cheechako".)
Somewhat surprisingly, I've found that I'm quite disappointed that we will be leaving the Yukon before being elevated to sourdough status.
Since shortly after we arrived here six months ago, I've felt like a sourdough, like the Yukon is home. My family and I have fallen in love with the whole territory. There are a lot of aspects of northern life that suit us very well.
What many people would consider an amazing scenic nature tour is my daily commute. We don't go to a zoo to see bears, there is a grizzly bear family and a young black bear in our neighbourhood. Within a couple of hours from my house there is probably some of the best camping in the world. Mountains and hiking trails and lakes are practically on my doorstep. Not to mention low taxes and government subsidies.
But when passengers ask me where I'm from, I hesitate. Only for a split second but the first answer that pops into my head is Collingwood, Ontario. I still refer to Collingwood as "back home." It's the town I grew up in, had my first job, where my son was born, where I lived and had a business for seven years.
Yesterday, I got a last minute charter to Hamilton, Ontario, which is a mere three hours from Collingwood. The nine day journey by road we undertook in December took a mere 9 hours by plane. As we started our descent in the wee hours of this morning, Dan Kenny, a slightly grumpy but adorable pilot who reminds me of my dad, pointed out the beautiful lights of Collingwood from the air.
As I stared at the place I'd lived for most of my life but hadn't laid eyes on in six months, I felt a pang as I thought about my family and friends and how I missed them, but I felt a strange detachment from the physical place. I knew it wasn't home anymore. It's my home town, and I will always love it, but my home is in the Yukon. Not because of the mountains or the hiking or even the amazing people. I love the Yukon for all of those reasons, but it's home because that's where Rich and Oscar are.
I'm a Galloway "sourdough" and that's good enough for me.