Thursday, December 18, 2014

2014.. up in smokes.


well, holy shit. it's almost the end of the year already. what a freakin year.

2013 was a big one for me. lots of travel and adventure, lots of work, lots of focus externally. i found myself very distracted and even overwhelmed, but i don't regret any of it. in fact, i'm grateful i got to experience it all, as unexpected as it was. it was also year 5 for me being pretty well planted in one place, which began to weigh in. and so did i... i was very heavy.

i think my major problem was [and still often is] that i wasn't sure what i wanted. i thought permanence and stability was it [gain credit, buy a house, fill it with people, get a career etc]. but the further in i got, the greater my anxiety. i didn't realize while i was in it that the very things i was striving for was causing me so much stress. i was so distracted by it all that i neglected to take care of myself, my vessel.. and as it grew more and more unhealthy, i became depressed. change had to happen.

2014 saw a lot more changes internally for me. my thinking, my actions and reactions, and ultimately a change of environment to support my internal needs. after trying hard and failing to regain my health in 2013, i made it my main focus this year and made a lot more progress. though i had my own motivations, losing my cousin to cancer in early spring, and then my mother's untimely expiration a couple months later really drove it home. how important it is to take care of myself, i'm only gonna get one shot at maintaining this body so i have to put a little more effort into ensuring it doesn't fall apart too soon. i did a month long juice cleanse, started eating mostly raw and vegan, and even ran a couple decent seminars to teach people how to use a juicer. i got all over the healthy scene..

and now here i am kicking myself in the ass. i've come this far and accomplished so much health-wise, reduced the stress of anxiety by a lot, lost them pounds.. and started effing smoking again. smoking! i had a pack or two on the bus ride out here, bus rides ugh.. but then stopped. for a couple months almost.. and as soon as i started working that job, holy shit all i wanted was a cigarette. juuuust like the last time i worked nights. well i really gotta cut that shit out. i can feel what it's doing to me, my chest, my throat, i can feel the arteries constricting in my limbs... it's just gross and i'm sure it's not doing me any favours. i've had this pain right in my chest for a few days that's telling me it's time to quit. no more excuses, it calms my nerves and my guts, i like to smoke, all that shit. one life, take it or leave it. it's time to pull up my socks on this.

2015 is coming. time for another one them lists.. i do this every year and it usually works. however i'm pretty sure quit smoking has been on the list a few years in a row. and i do quit, just not forever. but really if i want to get any further health and fitness wise, i need my heart and lungs. smoking is fucking terrible for those things and chest pain is a scary time. i need to check that thing off to continue on down the list. i want to focus more on my diet, maybe start jogging again if my foot/knee can handle that now with less weight, and basically better refine my self-care healthy habits before summer comes around again and i get distracted. i need a sort of routine established before everything gets crazy again, cuz who knows where i'll be or what i'll be doing.

and i need to get creative again. beyond just blogging and snapping a few pics. i want to try my hand at poetry, i used to do that shit all the time. and writing styles, get some markers and a sketchbook, and doodle more in the one that was gifted to me. i need to finish the process of getting a drivers permit so i can plan some adventures. i'm jacked to get organized and give most of my shit away. and i'd like to learn something new. a new skill, or trade, or maybe a whole new job, who knows. something i've never done before.

well let's see what happens. i'm putting it out there, first step to manifest.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"be happy with what you have."


there's a church en route to work, and the sign out front always has some cut-and-dry, damn good advice posted up on it.. that seems to always be ironically directed at me and what's going on in my life at the moment. though i'm always on the bus as i pass, i never think to snap a shot not to forget what it says. but this one, this one i must remember..

"be happy with what you have."

i haven't been feeling myself lately. i can't say that it's the weather because i love the weather here, but maybe even that can't save me from the 'SAD'. maybe i'm just annoyed. there's girls in my house, two of them sharing a room for a month. and they're taking up everything... i forgot how-uhh-challenging.. living with females is. [i was so not meant to be one..] bathroom, kitchen, if i need it, they're in it. guaranteed. i gotta pee, i need a shower, and i'm bloody starving with that post-work hunger. and just now, i've had to move to the living room to type because i lost the only plug in my bedroom to a blow-out due to the girl's hair dryer. like fuckin really? it must be me... maybe that just happened right now because i forgot to be happy with what i damn well have. that and it's an old house... but you know.

sometimes i forget how lucky i am to have a place to go with a warm bed. it costs more than half of what i make a month to maintain, but still.. i have it. i tend to forget that even though i'm thousands of miles away from pretty well everyone i know, if i really need someone to talk to all i have to do is pick up the phone. i might be going through hug withdrawals, and i might spend the majority of my time alone, but i do have friends. they're out there, the best ones.

i am happy with what i have. i'm damn grumpy because i'm tired all the time, working midnights and failing at sleep. but i like my job for what it is, could use a higher wage to get some groceries up in here, but i dig the people, and the challenge. it'll get me through the next little while. eight weeks from now i'll be on the road again, cramped in on buses for days, hitting multiple cities and crashing couches in the dead of winter with zero income. so until then i'll have to appreciate my overpriced, not-so-par space on the hill for what it is, a safe place to lay my head. that said, it's still far better than places i've been.

there's still power in my house, just not my part of it for now. that's fine.. at least it's still accessible. there's still hot running water, which i plan to soak up soon. and there's still the mountains, and the sub-tropical climate, and new places to explore. i still have my sanity, mostly. i'm quickly realizing how spoiled i have been by having all of these modern conveniences at my fingertips most of the time i've been here, which is a switch-up for me. i'm more used to tenting it, bunking, couch surfing, and hunting for public power sources to charge my phone. laundry and showers were more of an occasion. this is nothing, and something.

well now that i've managed to express my gratitudes whilst complaining about my petty discomforts, it's about time i prepare to get some rest. 27 hours is a long time to be awake, and i do that far too often. i'd better get going while it's still storming because there will be no netflix to lull my head to sleep, only the sound of the rain. [for that, i can't complain.]

Saturday, November 29, 2014

manifest..

i've heard a lot of people say or write it in a bunch of different ways and i've always mostly believed it.. what you think is what you get. the power of intention, thoughts manifest reality, however you want to put it. attitude in general tends to shape our experience.

every time i change my mind, so changes my situation. perhaps i'm more in control than i allow myself to believe. i have a hard time with decisions most of the time, and i tend to wait for some sort of a sign before making a choice. but i can't help but wonder if those signs were mine to begin with. the signs are perhaps from my subconscious finally deciding, and showing me what i want to see. follow the yellow brick road..


what seemed like the toughest decision at first has become clear to me, no matter what way i cut it, i'm dead set on giving up my Ontario residency. but i have to pick a province.. my driver's permit is only good for so long, and i'll have to choose a place to be to upgrade. for years i didn't ever want to drive, but there are so many opportunities i have allowed to pass by because of saying no to the ultimate mode of mobility. if i stay in BC it'll take two years before i can take a test for a full license that will be transferable to other provinces. in order to stay here though i need to make a lot more money, and in order to afford to drive, i need a better job that requires me having a license. so..

at the moment i'm living on a prayer, and gently leaning on a line of credit. it's a little unnerving not knowing if and when i'll be able to pay it back, but fuck that shit anyways it's numbers on a screen. i can't help but worry about it much like 99% of the population, but at the same time.. it's hard to give a shit about money at times. maybe that's why i never have any.. but i'm working on that.

anyways.. as soon as i made the decision to finish getting my drivers permit, more opportunities immediately began to present themselves, and even line up for the time i'll be able to drive. i'd been batting around the idea of going to Alberta for the past couple weeks, and during that time dozens of job opportunities have been screaming my name there for double the pay.. but that winter tho! seriously.. seven months of bullshit cold, shortest growing season, and crazy far from the sea. all things i'm not really down with, especially considering my excitement regarding finally existing in a place where the ground doesn't freeze solid and get a ton of snow.

other things too. like when i decided that having a social/party life was of ultimate importance my schedule reflected that. i only worked one shift on the weekends for a month straight. as soon as i had the thought 'if i keep going like this i'm going to destroy myself'' everything changed. my days off coming are Wednesday and Sunday. that seems a little safer. thanks, i think?  yeah. right down to the people in my life.. near and far. sometimes it's hard to remember at the end of the day it's your choice who you allow to be a part of your life. for a while i was overcomplicating my process of decision making by allowing far too much input from outside sources. lately i've been far more 'selfish' than usual, having more concern for my own needs before considering what others want from me. it's... liberating.

work tonight, off at 4 in the morning. which reminds me, i have something to say about that... later.


Monday, November 17, 2014

a simple life


after a few months of freedom, wandering, and generally having no plan, it's nice to have settled down somewhere for the winter. a warm bed and a space heater are heavenly when the overnight temperature hits zero. of course to pay for the luxury of my very own room and bed, i had to get working again.

before my leave, my life had become a pattern of escape. everything i did, every dollar i spent beyond my basic needs, and every moment i could spare was devoted to escaping the routine of my everyday life. my credit card is still suffering from multiple out-of-town bus trips and the last couple pieces of camping gear. now that i've made the biggest journey of all, i no longer feel the tension and restlessness of feeling stuck. i can just relax and enjoy the simple things.

being so far removed from what was once my life, i have come to realize, as one does, what is really important in my day-to-day. i don't really need a lot of the things i had accumulated, but it wasn't so easy to see when i was surrounded by them. so many things that i held on to i'm now more ready than ever to let go of. so much unnecessary clutter, memorabilia, stuff. people too, 'toxic relationships' i think they're called... yeah. anyhoo, i'm still anxious as ever to return home and sort through the storage locker i'm paying to hold on to. three more months..

i'm grateful to have found a job with a simple role. show up on time, bust ass, put the things where they go, go home. no further responsibility, no telling others what to do, just good old fashioned hard work. the simple wage only affords me the basics, which is likely for the best in keeping me out of trouble. the schedule might kill me a little, but my lack of attachment allows me to look elsewhere for other opportunities and play whatever cards i choose.

having this clarity and space along with other random happenings turned quick lessons, i'm now remembering the comfort that comes with detachment and transience. my focus in the coming months will be to get rid of as many things and expenses as possible, while trying to remember not to accumulate anything i don't particularly need at the moment. every time i think of buying something i think.. do i really need this? i try to do this all the time now, question my 'needs' and give it a day or a week to simmer. for instance there's some small appliance type things i'd like to have for the kitchen, but i have to think how long-term am i planning on staying in this house? i'd just purchased a bunch of such things and yard tools for my house a few provinces away, and clearly they're no use to me here.

 it's difficult to project too far into the future, which is to say, i suppose i'm succeeding at becoming impermanent. the furthest into the future i can tell is that i have a job until the end of January where i'm at if i can stick it out, and a bus ride back to Ontario. so far at this point i plan to keep the room in Vancouver while i'm gone which will give me a chance to either come back and continue living in it while seeking other employment, or come back and retrieve what little will be left behind while i go home; my gear and most of my clothes. so far i'm thinking to get on the bus with nothing but a few changes of clothes and some food, and pillage the locker for all that i can upon my return.

that is, of course, if i decide by then that i'm staying on the west coast..

either way, from there, i'm back to living a little more day by day as i was when i first got out here. scrambling, and beyond broke of course, but happy to be alive. for now i'll take a moment to enjoy the simple life. for now, that's all there is.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

before i forget..


six months ago already. something changes when the mother passes, something..


a sudden silence. i still remember that night. it was the last night of my vacation, i'd spent the week prepping the garden so that my brother and i could bring her to see it for mother's day. i couldn't sleep... it was warm, the first warm night of the year.

earlier that week i'd talked to her on the phone. she sounded happy, but her voice was distant. she had finally knocked the last thing off her list, she found her best friend. and there was one more surprise, a baby kitten. new life.. pure joy. she named him punkin, after the first kitty i remember having as a child.

months before, after the last of many attempts at taking her own life, we had a conversation about happiness. i remember telling her the very same bit of advice that had gotten me through the darkest days of my own journey.. you can't rely on a single other person in this world to make you happy. not your parents, not your children, not your husband or your best friend.. the only person in the whole world that can make you happy is you. and then i asked her, what is it that you want? what can you do to make you happy?

she sat quietly for a moment.

she turned her head and looked at me, and flashed a smile full of broken rotted teeth. "i want my smile back" she said, and laughed. she started to make a list. dentures, dignity. some way to get out of this house, a car was out of the question.. scooter. she missed her best friend.. a phone call. to find a new apartment.. home.

there were a few other things on the list that i was not aware of. she wanted to speak to her sister again, something she hadn't done [without a fight] in years, which she finally did the day before. she wanted cable television. she wanted to know that her children would live a good life.

it was a long and terribly cold winter. i didn't get to visit her often, but she'd gotten herself a cell phone so that she could text. one day i got a message saying that she was going to have all of her teeth pulled. the start of the process. for months after, she would wait toothless until she could be fitted for her dentures. she had to pay quite a bit out of her disability pension to get it done, but she didn't seem to mind.

one day in february i received a frantic phone call. she was on a mission uptown and her loaner scooter crapped out on the side of the road. it was far too cold for the battery to keep going, and not knowing what else to do, i paid for a handycab to go and pick it up. she was on a waiting list for that too, to have a new scooter of her very own. it was starting to look more and more like it wouldn't happen, they kept telling her she wasn't 'eligible' for a new one. she remained patient.

at some point in that jumble of time and spending of money, she had missed a rent payment. she was about to lose her home. by some grace of god or the universe or something, after the threat of being put out in the cold, she came up with the money to make the rent. she realized then that the place she was at was where she wanted to remain. she could check home off the list.

a couple more months had passed as she sat waiting. even though it was starting to look as though she might not get everything that she wanted, she refused to give up hope. one day out of nowhere she got a phone call from the mobility specialists, 'your scooter is ready, we will bring it by tomorrow'. she was so happy she called me right away. it was even candy apple red, just as she'd hoped for.

within the next few weeks everything was coming together. she had reunited with her best friend and partner, she finally got herself some cable tv, she even got a hand-me-down big screen from my brother to enjoy it on. and spring was coming, with her new wheels she could get out to enjoy the sun.

the most exciting thing for her had to be the teeth. she got them just in time for easter dinner. i told her, whatever she wanted to eat with her new teeth, i'd make it happen. i already knew what she would say.. chinese! on my way to her house that easter sunday, i picked up a serving of all of her favourites. fried rice, sweet and sour chicken, wonton soup and all the fixins. she had the biggest smile i'd ever seen when i came through the door. i wish i had taken a picture, had i known...

and then the questions. 'are you alright?' ..i wondered why she was asking. yeah of course i'm alright what do you mean? she meant in general. she asked if my brother and i were well. i told her that finally after years i'd found a place to call home, and somewhere to start my farm. i have a decent steady job, and good things to look forward to. my brother, he's alright too. he's about to get his full license, is making more money than i do, and has a lovely girlfriend that treats him good. all the things a mother loves to hear. her children grew up successful and happy despite everything. we talked for a while longer, she said she was happy too.

that was the last time i'd seen her. i had to leave, and for the first time when we hugged goodbye, she didn't cry. she smiled again when i turned around to close the door, so i put down my backpack and returned for one more hug and kiss.

many years of her life were spent in the throes of physical and emotional pain, addiction and mental illness. the last decade her body slowly gave out. she was due to have a pacemaker, a section of her intestines removed which would mean shitting in a bag the rest of her life, and three times a week dialysis. she'd suffered a heart attack, had a brush with skin cancer, and lived with a degenerating spine for as long as i could remember. she had far surpassed the point of no return as far as her health goes, and yet she still managed to pull herself together to find peace, joy and happiness in the last few months in her body.

cause of death: organ failure due to overdose. no one will ever know for sure if it was accidental or on purpose, especially given her history of attempts. what i do know is she was ready to go. this time, i couldn't be angry. this time, there was no text message, no letter, no phone call. just a silence in the night. this time it was not in anger or fear or despiration. there was no spite, or hatred for the world that consumed her. she was happy, and she made it all happen herself. not a single other person in this world...

"for the first time in my life i can say, i'm finally happy. i got my wheels, i got my teeth, i got my cable tv... i have my best friend here, my kids are happy... i have everything i need. oh and guess what, i got a kitten!"

i could hear a little meow, and she was laughing. i was standing in the garden covered in dirt when the phone cut out. that was the last time we spoke. no last i love you, no last goodbye.. the line is still open.


...


mom, i miss you every day. even though it breaks my heart to know i'll never hug you again, i'm glad you no longer have to suffer. thank you for this life, for my brother, and for all the lessons. thanks for holding on long enough for us all to realize what is important in this life. family, hope, happiness, helping one another, and above all, love...

Friday, November 7, 2014

all for what?

there's a few mistakes in my life that i'm glad i made early on.. one of them is doing things for the sake of others without really considering myself or how i feel about it. i've done that a lot in my past. most particularily returning to and staying in a place i didn't want to be. all in all i'm glad i did because friendships and positive relationships came to be that wouldn't have otherwise, but in the grand scheme i was fairly uncomfortable.

being at where you came from isn't easy, especially when where you came from houses the demons of your past. these demons are not just my own, i shared them with the other streets, other addicts.. and they're still out there doing the dirt. i think one of the most uncomfortable things about being in my hometown is not being able to walk down the road without them seeing me, calling at me.. hating me for rising out of the dirt to become a working-class citizen, able to afford shoes without holes and food from the market. they feel entitled to what i've earned.. a couple would threaten to jump me. having my back up all the time, i never realized how much tension it was causing me on a daily basis. anxiety welled up in my throat every time i'd go to leave the house or work.

i had a sort of sanctuary in my back yard. the garden we would build in the summer was tall enough to block the view from the road, and private enough to camp and have a fire. when my garden was suddenly under attack by vandals i felt like my bubble had been burst. the last place i could feel safe was no longer mine. the garden i'd built in memory of my mother had to be sacrificed.

she's a big part of the reason i stuck around. i'd use other things as excuses, like a boyfriend or some other situation, but really i felt horribly guilty for leaving her to rot in that place alone. even though i'd only see her seldom as at times we could barely stand one another's company, i couldn't go far for long. a lot of what i did i did for her without even realizing. i think she realized it before i did, and the weight of that guilt added to her discontent. staying in the city that consumed her was another big factor in my urge to take leave.

i'm not saying she gave up on life to let me live mine, but i know that's how she felt at times. she would tell me that she felt like she was holding me back. though i insisted otherwise. now that she's gone it's almost like she isn't gone at all. she's more with me now than she was when she was living. people talk to god when they witness the beauty of this life or become afraid, i talk to my mother. she's around. i know she'd be happy that i made it out alive. and when i hit a hilltop or venture down by the water and say, 'hey ma, check this view!' she can hear me.


so what am i here for? do i want to go back? am i homesick? these are questions that have been coming up these days. i'm here for the adventure. everything is a challenge, it's all brand new. i think i'd like to enjoy that for a while. i'm here for me, because i want to be, because it makes me feel good. i like being surrounded by mountains and close to the coast. i thoroughly enjoy the view from my part-time landscaping job up on the harbour. i love that i can hop on a ferry and leave the mainland from here. i love that there's salmon and eagles and bears all within reach. i'm stoked about this place that i'm staying in, that there's new housemates every week from all over the world, and i get to tell them about all the places in Canada they want to hear about because i've been to most of them. i love the climate zone here, and that the spring comes early and fall drags on. i love not having my back up all the time...

the only reason i would want to go back is the people i miss. my friends and extended family, a lot of whom i'd seldom see. though it's amazing to have them close by, the discomfort i'd have to endure to keep them at arm's reach almost makes it moot. thanks to technology it's a lot easier to keep in touch than it was even the last time i took off from the homeland, which certainly helps. i do have a select few friends where i'm at now, thankfully so.

am i homesick? ...i am home. maybe it just hasn't hit me yet, but there's been no urges to go back. i'm waiting for it, still giving it a chance to sink in, and another 'major holiday' to pass, christmas and the new year. if i make it through that, i think i'll be okay. i'll miss going to my folk's house out in the country to sit and talk life with them around the white tree sipping kahlua and listening to the trans siberian orchestra. i already do miss random roadtrips with my baby brother, and latenight tea with my girlfriend down the way. i miss my team, i miss my housemates and the animals and my partner in crime.. will it bring me back? maybe. but not right yet. this is for me.

Monday, November 3, 2014

November in Raincouver

i was warned about the weather. yeah sure there's no snow in the winter, but there isn't much to be seen of the sun either. for the most part it's working in my favour right now, the overcast skies and sundown at five makes for easy day sleeping when working the night shift. my two new housemates however are not as impressed.

one comes from France, and the other from Australia. both are overwhelmed by the rain thus far, but both had made the decision to start their Canadian journeys here in Vancouver to dodge most of the typical Canadian winter.. sub-zero temps and lots of snow. well, it doesn't rain all day every day... but yeah, every day.


like most other things so far on this adventure, i even managed to luck out on my work schedule. i work every other night and a day shift Friday, so the only overnight on the weekend is Saturday night. better than no weekend at all.. and it just works out that i can still do the gardening gig wednesdays before working wednesday night, then i can crash out all day thursday. i'll have to either find another part-time job for days in the winter, or pick up more hours at this place to make it through. this place is expensive.. but still worth it.

a monthly transit pass here is a worthy investment, especially in the winter months. i was starting to go a little stir crazy there not being able to speed around town besides work and back, now i can go on random mini adventures even if it's just to an Asian market downtown to get some cheap fruit.

halloween was pretty sweet. and once again, my weekend was blessed by some unexpected good company. i handed out candy to a couple hundred kids while we hung out on the front porch waiting to hit up a punk show. by some sort of miracle, it stopped raining early afternoon on halloween, and the sun came out the next morning for most of the day. after partying all night long it was nice to crawl out onto the back porch with a big cup of tea and soak up the sun. after days of not seeing it, one can't help but smile regardless of the level of hangover.

ahh life is good. crazy, unpredictable, and somewhat out of order, but good no less. i love that i still never have any idea what day of the week it is. i suppose i should take a nap or something to prepare for work tonight, at least my schedule is just as awkward as my natural lack of a sleeping pattern. so far it's working out well. i need to go fall over now.. happy November. onward!

Friday, October 31, 2014

All Hallow's Eve

the end of October, eh? yea. so i guess i've been west for a couple months already, my how time passes.. i've been feeling a little anxious lately, i can't put a finger on it exactly but i suppose it's a lot of things. the chaos and fear of the unknown are both unsettling yet comforting.

at times when i start to feel a little overwhelmed i have to stop and remind myself that i am blessed. no matter what happens. even the things that hurt are lessons.. maybe even especially. i'm grateful for my 'luck' so far on this mission, even though i'm not sure what all this mission should entail. i suppose survival is the name of the game right now, on more than just a general level.


something kind of eerie happened a few nights ago that had slipped my mind until it happened again last night. i came home and put my key in the main door, and as soon as i did it felt like someone was turning the knob and pulling it open from the inside. not so unreasonable considering there's usually a few people living here at a time, so i just let the door go and it swung open. the lights were off and no one was in the kitchen.

the same thing again when i came back last night, and i had forgotten about the last time, it was just so very strange. and again comforting somehow.. as if the house itself was welcoming me home. i'll just take it as a sign that i'm to be here where i'm at, and that maybe i should stop worrying so much. i am home.

water shelter food warmth love. all accessible. blessed.

alright now, back to reality. gotta go work my first day shift in a couple weeks before flipping back to nights tomorrow. i don't mind, at least it allows me to maintain somewhat of a social life. make a lunch, pack my bag, and hit the streets. it is time. onward..

Monday, October 27, 2014

10.27.14

the air was crisp and cool this morning on my walk down to the park. i've made it a sort of ritual to go meandering through the alleyways to eventually end up at a bench in a park at the edge of a baseball field that overlooks the entire city. no panoramic photograph could possibly capture what i feel when i sit there. how small, how free..

i purposely walk a little further south than i have to just so that i can walk back north towards the mountains and the rest of the city. it still takes my breath away when i walk along the ridgeway and come to cross a street that gives berth to an incredible view. yesterday when there was a break in the clouds i could see the very tip top of the tallest mountain in view was gently brushed with snow. soon enough they'll all have snow caps of their own.


this is what i came here for. i don't always remember that when i'm feeling suddenly alone. i came here to find my breath, to find my space, to meet myself again. to take a minute to grieve.. to get some of this weight up off my chest. i came here to get away from all of the distractions i had collected and created for myself, all of the things and people and situations i had surrounded myself with to keep me occupied. i just need a long, long moment..

i've had a chance to sort of feel out what i really need now that i've had a moment to separate myself from everything i've been holding on to. life is simple, or at least i'm doing my best to keep it that way. my recent obsession with 'tiny homes' and various styles of miniature dwellings has afforded me a joy i may have never had otherwise for the little space i am currently calling home. tiny it is indeed, but it's perfect for just me.

there's a bed, a dresser, a desk for my laptop and a table lamp. the headboard holds my books, and there's still lots of room for the ones i plan to bring back from home. since space here is limited i don't need to feel like everything i left back home has to come with me here. just the criticals. and my opinion of what exactly is critical changes on the daily. sometimes i think i'd still be content if i never went back. sometimes though, i really miss my creature comforts. there's a couple hoodies i've been longing for, and my hats. always with the hats. there's some people too, but it's gonna mean a lot more than cramming them in a suitcase to get them here. maybe some other time.

the next few months will come and go as quickly as the last few have i'm sure, so i've been somewhat trying to plan out how i will utilize my time off, and what exactly i need to get done when i go home. the bus ride consumes over three days in each direction, and i've been batting around the idea of making two trips. that'd work out to over two weeks of solid bus time out of the six or so i have set aside to get everything done.

if i do manage the two trips idea, it'd cut back on idle time, and at the same time force me to sit still, and maybe even meet a few more people. on the trip west one of the girls i'd met was on her way back from doing one steady back-and-forth trip, pretty much a week straight on a bus. she looked about done with it come the final day, and i wondered if i'd have the strength to do it myself. i suppose time will tell. i'd likely take a few days in between each direction to recuperate and sleep horizontally in an actual bed. something that feels incredibly godly after any amount of overnights on a coach bus.

ah well. that's about all i've got for now. these are the things that have been cycling around my brain while i slow mosey around the city. work again tonight, maybe i'll squeeze a nap or a movie in before shift. books are cool too. thank god for paperbacks..

Sunday, October 26, 2014

raincouver

i suppose it could be the weather.. i've never really been one to complain about the rain. makes sense though, grey skies forever can take it's toll on the soul. been feeling a little better the past couple days, good company and a pretty awesome ska show may have been a help. the night shift has put an interesting spin on things as well. i wonder how long that will last..

now that most of the pressing matters are settling like finding a source of income and a place to lay my head, other things that i haven't taken the time to deal with are floating to the surface. i've never missed my mother so much.. sometimes i still pull out my phone to call her when something crazy or new happens and then.. yea. but most of the time i'm confident she can hear me. i blame my happy coincidences and lucky windfalls on her. she must be lookin out for me from somewhere, because i don't think i could luck out so much on my own.


not that i don't appreciate having a warm place to stay, but the cool and constant rain makes it that much more appealing. my perspective on needs and what is important to be comfortable has shifted once again. twenties me was perfectly content with not much more than a tent for shelter, but these days having just a tiny cozy room with a reading lamp, space heater and someplace to keep books and dry clothes is heavenly. i think i'll enjoy this for a while.

the job too. i know i complain sometimes about 'working for the man' but there's always a benefit besides the money. it keeps my mind busy, gives me something to focus on besides my crazy life. meeting new people is pretty cool too. there's a comfortable level of social interaction that comes with my particular job, dealing mostly with truck drivers and vendor reps, no customers involved. thus trucker mouth is perfectly acceptable and i get to be myself. not having the routine for a few months allowed me the space to appreciate having some outside force keeping me to a schedule. it encourages me to eat better and make effort to get proper rest. eventually, i might even start to remember what day it is again.. or maybe i'll allow that to be one of those things that never matters. i can't believe it's almost november..


i'm also enjoying the particular neighbourhood that i decided to take up residence in. it's chill, quiet, mostly immigrants that love to grow food. i'm down with that.. already making plans for joining in on the action this coming spring. luckily people who garden love to share, so i'll get some first hand lessons on what to grow in this climate. the sun come spring will be amazing after this long long rain..

until then, umbrellas up, parkas on and enjoy raincouver. makes for some pretty neat mushrooms anyways.. and thank goodness there's lots of live shows and a happening music scene to keepVancity lively. onward.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

an attempt at words.

well, here i am again, writing.. it's not always easy to make the words go. i'm not sure how many people actually read this thing, i suppose it doesn't matter. it's for me. but i think i'm afraid sometimes to write things into existence, permanently.. it's one thing to think something, another to say it, and yet another to write it down.

i promised i'd share my story. for whatever reason, people want to hear it. but it's not that easy. mostly i write about the good things, shine a light on positivity and and share my lessons. but i skip the in between. i leave out the real feelings, the fear, the negativity. maybe because i don't like being judged even though i say it doesn't bother me. maybe it's because i don't want to bring anyone down that might read it, to think that the ambassador of positivity has some mighty dark days.

the honest truth is, i'm afraid. i'm not really sure how to explain it. i'm not afraid of death. my death anyways.. i'm more afraid of not living. i have no fucking clue what i'm doing anymore or what i'm in it for, but i'm here. sometimes i have a hard time believing that everything happens for a reason, but i'm beginning to see that everything does happen in it's time. right then, that's when it needed to be. and sometimes that shit hurts and it isn't easy to accept. but it's happening. i can't always be as patient as i'd like to be. maybe that's today's lesson..


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

stuff and things.

dammit. i'm just horrible at this. i used to write all the time. more so in pen and paper, but my pile of books is getting heavy. speaking of heavy, i'm starting to feel the weight of my decisions. i take full responsibility for all and any of my actions.. including the things i choose to carry. i didn't realize how much i'd been carrying around until my mother passed. and since then, i've taken on more. the history of both of us is stowed away in a storage locker half a world away that i can't afford to hang on to much longer.

i know it's just stuff. for the longest time despite our liking or not for one another at the time, mom was always cool about hanging on to my stuff. i made a habit of never keeping anything of monetary value to reduce the risk of anything getting pawned. once she had settled into the sickness the likelihood of her moving around wasn't so good. my past was safe for years, wrapped in plastic to hold off the smoke clouds, stashed in her walk-in closet.

emptying out her apartment was one of the hardest things i've ever had to do. i wasn't ready to let go yet, to her little hand-painted crafts, the dining room table, the dressers she scored somewhere from the seventies that currently hold my winter clothes. so i rented a locker and crammed it all in with my own. in a few months i'll have to go back there and decide what to do with everything.

it's a little overwhelming right now to think of but i have to start thinking. i kept all of the things from my youth that reminded me of better days. that cabinet my dad built me full of beanie toys is probably the least practical thing i've got stashed away, but reminds me of a time i didn't have to care so much about what the hell i'm doing with myself. they're the only things i kept in good condition, i'm considering giving them to some sort of cause like a charity auction or donating them to toys for tots.

just about everything else is a little more personal. photo albums, clothes i've had since i lived outside, the stereo i got my mother for christmas one year that just happened to be her favourite thing in the world [plus all the music my brother and i got her to go with it].. then there's my very own personal library. let's not forget the books, paperbacks i'd had stashed in various places all collected into a huge stand-up shelving unit.. way more than i thought. i might suck it up and make two cross-country trips just to bring back what i can as far as books go. oh yeah and that big black steel trunk. you know, the oldskool looking ones with the copper strapping, covered in various bumper stickers and things my mother wrote on top to remember. it houses artwork from school days of my brother and i, our baby clothes, my mother's rack of collectible spoons. unless i get a vehicle, that thing won't be going very far.

there's totes of memorobilia. not all of it is mine. i have things that were given to me by friends that i held onto dearly, old manual film cameras, jackets, hats, and of course a whole other seasonal set of camping gear. even the tent is full of memories of living outside in as many corners of the country i could have ever hitched to and through. my sky-blue mini dome palace in the trees. things like that i could sell and just get again later if i need them, in the long run it'd be cheaper than paying to store them for months on end.

then there's a bunch of stuff i collected in the few years i became domesticated, workout equipment, art and craft supplies including paints and canvasses, a million different kinds of beads, probably a hundred pounds in half-used sketchbooks and and pieces that somehow survived since highschool. i'm already trying to find homes for things i know i have in my inventory to make the process of purging easier.

i'm not yet sure what i'll do with a few of the criticals. if i try real hard i can probably cut back so that all of my keepers fit into the trunk. if i can find a place to safely store that away in the meantime, it will help put my mind at ease. until then i've got to remember to relax. worrying about what must happen in the future isn't doing me much good now, all i can do is try to plan for it and stay positive. i wish i could have the strength to just let it all go.. but there's some things like the letters my mother held onto, the journals i so carefully made sure never to lose, and the photos of lives long passed that i'd have a hard time forgiving myself for letting go of.


until then i have to figure out how to maintain here in a new place and hold the little life i'm building together. right now my expenses are pushing me beyond my means, there's no budget beyond food and shelter, no room for quality of life leisure spending, not even to save to go home. i'm living on a prayer that the things i'm gearing up for work out in my favour so that i don't dig myself so far into the red it's impossible to recover. when i get home, i'll see what i can sell, salvage and give away to save myself from another year of hanging onto my past four provinces away.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

peace in chaos II

there's something comforting about the unknown. there's no need to feel responsible for anything but yourself and the path beneath your feet. i came here expecting nothing and ready for anything. there was only one thing i knew for sure, and one thing i hoped for more than anything, that my good friend would be waiting for me at the station upon my arrival. late on a friday evening despite the throes of party night, there he was.

i wasn't certain about the situation or exactly where i'd be staying or for how long. like me many of my friends gravitate towards a transient lifestyle, and even when seemingly content could pick up and change course at any moment. that said, the prospect of a place to crash had existed but wasn't expected. and then after all, i was blessed with more than one.


it could be good karma, or good fortune, or the fact that i've been making a point to accept whatever situation i happen upon with an open mind and heart. some things start out shady, and end up cultivating lasting friendships with people you'd least expect, or a home in a place you'd have never found without a nudge in the right direction. being open and also ready, i know when to trust my gut. some decisions are made or called off based on a feeling, only to find later on how lucky i was for my choice.

in fact, that's how i've been making my decisions thus far. feel it out. when i think things i over think them until they no longer make any sense. but when the critical moment arises [and i never know when until it's time], i act, or react accordingly. good things are coming but i don't know what. the adventure is here and now. no matter where i landed i would have found it, but i'm glad i am where i am. blessed.


i'd opened my mind to finding what i seek on the ferry ride back to the mainland. after taking time to relax on the island i started to get a feeling something was waiting for me. i chose a date of departure and started my search right away. not long after, i had found, or rather was found by something that could perpetuate into one of the greatest opportunities for both learning and future independent ventures. and shortly thereafter, sifting through literally hundreds of ads, i found my place in the world. a tiny haven on the side of a hill where i can garden, read and rest. if all goes accordingly, i can make residence there this week.

my destination is in each step. i've learned something about myself. i need to always find the balance, the best of both worlds. i crave an anchor of stability be it a homestead or a hole in the wall, someplace that is mine. yet i require the freedom to adventure, to move along, to start anew. to unlock achievements in a new game, to open maps unstepped. finally, i've begun to pull it together.

today is a new day. a rainy one, but refreshed no less. i wonder what will happen next..

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

keep calm.

easier said than done. it's been a couple months since i 'retired'. of course i have a hard time sitting still, and a bad habit of constantly worrying about the future. i haven't been bored, that's for sure. there's always lots to do, learn, read.. enough to keep me engaged. after hanging out around my homie's flat for a month or so, i journeyed to the island to enjoy a 'vacation from retirement' with a friend.


she was house-sitting, and dog walking, for which i was invited to join her.. and that was about the extent of our worries. and of course which cheap sushi we would pick for lunch. well, she had homework, and i had that nagging feeling that i should probably be doing something about my lack of income. my intentions weren't to get out here and find a job right away.. i promised myself some time, by collecting my deferred profit money i'd be able to skip out on the nine to five for a few months and feel out whatever it is i want to do with myself.

it took a few days, but finally for a while i had forgotten what day of the week it was, what number, what month.. success. i had managed to keep calm long enough to just let things float to the surface of my mind from deep within. things i needed to talk over with myself [and with my friend] that needed air. things that i've been curious about but didn't know how to approach, what has really been bothering me, and what my priorities are. i had just enough time alone to feel it, and yet the blessing of the presence of another that reminded me of 'home'.


seems strange i suppose to take a vacation from being retired, but even retirement can be overwhelming with things to do and chores and choices to be made. i'm glad i took it, and took a moment to breathe. i'm back on the mainland now, and i feel more mentally organized than when i left. i know what i want to do [mostly], and now that i have a clue, i know what to ask for when searching for employment. time is worth more than money to me, but unfortunately to be a member of society where all the people live, money is required as well. i'm trying to align the best of both worlds.. i have some learning to do too.

back to the grind [sort of] today, i'm being bombarded with responses to flooding workopolis with my resume for some temp work. apparently i was anxious for nothing, it shouldn't be hard to find a job when i'm ready. for now, i'll see what these places have to offer that will benefit me and support my mission for a stress-less, more-healthy, fulfilling sort of life.

Monday, September 22, 2014

...on a boat

my first ferry ride to Vancouver Island. it was pretty sweet... with a combined seven hours of public transit and BC Ferries i made it from the 'big city' all the way to island haven cottage country. and what a journey. of course there was that moment where the captain announces the presence of a killer whale off side the boat, and by the time i'd gotten my camera up [and through the crowd that rushed the rails] i'd caught a glimpse with my eyes but missed with the lens.





it was sort of a strange feeling watching the mainland drift away on the horizon, knowing i would be passing briefly through american waters to get to the rest of Canada. the last time i'd experienced something similar was taking a shuttle bus over the 11km long bridge from New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island.. though the feeling just wasn't the same. i felt so... disconnected. which was a welcome break from being immersed in city life.





i couldn't take my eyes off the scenery as we approached the little islands. coastal cottages, dreamy little places down by the water and lighthouses at every corner. my eyes and mind scrambled up the mountain side as i dreamed of what adventures may come. certainly no regrets taking some 'retirement' time.. every second has been a blessing.




Monday, September 15, 2014

vague projections into time and space...

i was having a bit of a rough go there for a minute. honestly, i've been having a bit of a rough go all year. sometimes it's just unrealistic to stay optimistic all the bloody time. sometimes shit hits the fan, and the only thing you can do about it is sit down and cry, all covered in it. and then, i must pick myself up and move along.

one of those things you learn as a backpacker is to plan ahead, but be prepared for a complete change of plans. it's been a while since i've been out, and i almost forgot about this... not really, i did have backup plans, sort of.. but of course everything i had in my head before i left the province had since fallen through. thankfully someone kept to their word, and has been more help than i could ever ask for. and i made a few new friends who feel like they've been around forever. lesson re-learned, don't rely on others too often. and when they duck out, don't take it personally. life goes on.


so just about the moment i realized that everything i was riding on for future plans had crapped out, new things-to-do started popping out at me 'from the universe'. and the craziest part is, i get to be in vaguely the same places around sort of the same time i was planning for, only to visit different people and accomplish different things than i had set out for originally.

now my main stressor is waiting for the money. it's been 6 weeks since i 'retired' from my job, and since so many others did at roughly the same time, it's a hurry-up-and-wait game getting my hands on my account of deferred profits. i had given myself a month between retiring and skipping the province to allow things to settle in that department. the last time i had called the financial place, the company i was working for hadn't yet sent them the validation that i was no longer employed, and that was a month after i'd left the company.

i was kinda sorta relying on that loot coming in at some point around the beginning of this trek, and i'm running low on funds. hopefully that'll all be worked out shortly so i don't have to dip too far into credit, i'd like to be able to continue to travel and visit and learn for the rest of the year before settling to work again. and when i do that'll only be temporary too. i get anxious after a couple seasons in one place, i have come to accept. i am a transient being...

so anyways, i'll do the island thing for a week or two, however that works out.. then i'd like to be back here in Vancity for thanksgiver and halloween. My next stop will hopefully be Alberta for a good long while, until i get sick of the winter and head back to the coast for winter solstice and the new year. back to Ontario shortly thereafter to chill with fams and friends, and rack up some loot for the next adventure. onward!

Friday, September 12, 2014

one day at a time.

it's easy to get overwhelmed when you leave a life you've grown accustomed to and rejoin the chaos that is the rest of the world.. especially when you get more than you bargained for, most of your plans fall through, and people happen into your life that tend to change the course of things. i'm caught up in that frantic mode of 'hurry up and wait'.

i wanna get stuff done, and i'm still waiting on paper mail from my previous job and an account that i opened so i can get all my legal junk out of the way. i was sort of in a rush to get here and get myself situated before the winter set in. and i was hoping to enjoy some summer sun while it lasts. for leaving as soon as i can, i had left some other things undone. things that i'll have to return and take care of before the spring comes.


almost six weeks i think it's been already since i've worked for money.. i've kept busy with gardening and getting myself ready to be on the move, then being on the move, and the past couple days i've just kind of done... not a hell of a lot. if i sit too long i start to feel useless, and that's a terrible feeling. doing my best to make other plans to fill the time where others fell through and in the meantime living in the moment. just have to relax a minute and let life be.

i've let a few things slide since i've been out, my workout regime went right out the window but i'm slowly attempting to get back on top of it. it's different now though, walking around this city is like climbing a small mountain every day so the muscles i need to work on my own time are changing. i've even lost a pound since my arrival without even trying! ha, slick..

well anyhoo, though my plans all fell through i'm starting to collect new ones. there's a few bands i wanna see while i'm here [there's live shows everywhere, all the time] and even a birthday party i wanna hit up before heading to the island. a friend of mine from back home is coming this way for a couple weeks to puppysit a couple dogs so imma get in on that action! i love hanging with homies from back home in other places, always makes for a unique adventure. from there i'll head back to Vancity for thanksgiver and halloween, and then perhaps pick up some work for the start of the winter.


i didn't come out here with much in the way of apparel, my rucksack was packed with camera gear and a crank juicer. thankfully Vancouver appears to be the king of second-hand stores, which i love. the seasons are starting to change [not summer snowfalls like Calgary], and it's getting cooler. the rains will come in the next few weeks as well. my first excursion to a Salvation Army proved very successful. i found four teeshirts, two pairs or pants, one being a really kickass pair of sturdy lightweight snowboarding pants, and the most comfy green hoodie in the world, all for under forty bucks. all i need now is a rain coat, a couple long sleeves and maybe a pair of long underwear for the chill.

speaking of chill i think i've done enough of that for a couple days, today i'll venture early and find something to get into. it's only seven in the morning here but i'm still a few timezones ahead. onward..


Sunday, September 7, 2014

between places.

i'm in an interesting place, my life divided between two distant provinces. i have a love for the coast and the sea and the mountains, and roots back home in niagara that i have yet to explore. just like every other situation and scenario in my life, i am torn.

suppose it's time to do the pros and cons thing. weigh it out, which province is more beneficial for me to make residence. whichever it is i hope not to sit still for a good few years, so i'll have to determine which is a better anchor point to come back to.maybe i'll find a way to hold down both..


the gameplan for the next whatever span of time is to establish a system where i can work and nest and bank money seasonally so that my summer and fall is free to travel and farm and harvest and enjoy. this should be doable in either place as both are university towns and tend to have lots of short-term student housing available. i know i'm pushing thirty but i still get asked for identification when i go places that require being of age, so i think i can ride out the student thing for a good few years.

thing is i have stuff in ontario. stufffff. not worth anything, just sentimental. some furnitures from my mother, that's cram packed with a bunch of other sentimental junk like pictures and mine and dan's first outfits. random junk that through all the moves and living out of the station wagon mom still managed to hang on to. stuffed into this big black trunk. and then a cabinet my dad built, with little shelves for my little beanie toys. i loved those things, eff barbie dolls i wanna be an animal! ha! ...and then a few crates of my own photos, a small library's worth of books, art and old camera gear that i somehow kept all these years. anyhoo..

it's not stuff i have any means of transporting any time soon. i'm not exactly comfortable enough to drive across the country nor do i yet have the proper documentation to do so. something i gotta take care of when i go back. having a license to drive is one thing, i'm not sure i'll ever be comfortable enough to transport myself around in a giant steel and plastic box on wheels. i chose to learn to drive just to have the knowledge of how to operate a motor vehicle if the need were ever to arise. is this a need? hmm. or i can continue to pay for the locker... i just don't know yet.

what i do know is i quite enjoy the climate here. i like that the ground doesn't really freeze in the winter and here on the coast they almost never see snow. i'm not sure how i'll feel about the lack of sun for so long, but then again when working all day i never saw it in ontario in the winter anyway. i don't know, i don't know.

and then the people. like the sweet boy i'm sure i'd never convince to come here for a while. and some friends that i know would really dig it.. ahh that i think is mainly why people go back. i know i'll make a few friends here, but i'll always miss my homies back home. i always do when i leave for any amount of time. and the bit of family i have still exists in the region. *sigh*.

transience is the only answer really. i'm never decided on what i want, i can't make up my mind ever, and i always want the other. plus there's tons of neat stuff to do when you needn't be anywhere in particular, so i may as well figure out how to exist everywhere and nowhere all at once. it is decided. onward...

Sunday, August 31, 2014

the journey west

it began about a week before i left.. living on greyhound buses traveling the peninsula to visit friends. it gave me a chance to get used to being seated and in motion, just a little taste of the 75 hour trip ahead. it turned out to be not so bad. meeting some of the most amazing people made up for the lack of comfort.

greyhound is the cheapest way to get across the country [i'm too old for hitching anymore haha], but it isn't for everyone. two hundred bucks from 'down east' all the way to the west coast. three days straight. worth it? if you're ready... mind state. yea, i know imma be sitting on my ass for days on end, i might not get to shower, and the food is gonna suck. but someone on that bus is on a mission just as epic and imma meet them.. and i usually do. all of them by the end of it. and i did.

in the end it comes down to self-reflection. what's behind no longer matters. even forget about what's coming or where i'm going... just existing in the now, on this bus, with these people, by myself. the long dark night in northern ontario was crisp and breathtaking. i couldn't sleep for the cold and the motion, but as my eyes drifted outside the window to the blackest of skies i could see the stars coming through clear as day. and after a few moments when my eyes had adjusted, i could see the milky way. love.


the prairies are always a favourite. not saying i'd be likely to live there [not a fan of the winters], but what a place to watch a storm. i was thankful that a storm was chasing our greyhound across the grasslands. with nothing obstructing the view of the clouds i could see both edges of the storm. it rained and rained, cleansing.. the entire sky overtaken. then after a good lightning show, the clouds let the sun shine through. double rainbow over the trans-canada..


almost home. once through the prairies the rest of alberta and bc goes rather quick. the ever changing terrain keeps me fixated outside the window, awaiting every rest stop so that i can jump off and taste the air. the most exciting part of course is leaving calgary. one because i get to leave calgary, and second because that's about when you can really start to see the mountains creeping up on the horizon. permasmile.


i love it. the mountains are amazing and majestic and i can't wait to wander them. autumn is coming, and you best believe i brought my cameras. haha! october is my favourite colour. i love pumpkin spice, i'm white as hell, and fuck starbucks. the adventure continues.. as i land in VanCity.

Friday, August 22, 2014

day 22

well that went quick. sometimes. other moments lasted a day themselves. i'm a pretty firm believer that everything happens in it's time, and i'm glad i took this time to just be. i'm so grateful that i was able to spend an hour almost every morning this month slowly pacing the garden, picking snacks, harvesting lunch and care packages. it feels so much more natural waking with the sun to toil in the garden or work for food than to get up by alarm and miss the day while inside hustling the best hours away.


it takes time to learn the value of a dollar. it takes wisdom to learn the value of time, of days and of moments. to me right now, nothing means more than taking my time. at any moment it could be over, and i'm particularly sensitive these days about not wasting any more time.

every day since i decided to opt out of the common north american lifestyle has been a blessing. i don't regret opting in in the first place. having lived both domesticated and not, i have a good idea of the balance i can achieve to have some sort of stability with the freedom i need to move around. i learned a lot about myself and the world, and now have a better idea of what i want to do with myself, a greater sense of purpose. the basis of my purpose being to get the most out of life while helping others do the same. and to give back, always giving back.


finally i've had time to give back to the people in my life who have helped to make it the epic experience that it has been. walking around the hometown i've taken for granted with the loved ones i never had time for, and traveling to other towns and cities in the peninsula to hit up friends and family for more laughs and moments. i'm especially grateful for this time after years of 40 hour work weeks and having weekends to juggle relaxation and recuperation with getting chores done and maybe, just maybe visiting friends. i like this better. the sacrifices i have to make to sustain this mode a while are well worth it.

i leave for the west coast tuesday. i've been living out of a pile in the corner that will be all i am bringing with me. i prepared my packs a couple weeks ago so that i can get a feel for what i'm bringing, and have time to swap things out that i may not need as much as other things. i haven't really been home much except to sleep which was out in the tent most of the summer.

today i'm mostly catching up, doing some laundry, maybe another trip to the garage, and sorting out my funds. soon come mountains, soon come ocean, soon come one long-ass bus ride. but first, a few more slightly less long bus journeys to visit more homies before i go. tomorrow, KW.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

moving on..




 we are thinking of moving in the spring..
so i look around the yard for what i might take with me.
i can leave the garden, perhaps take a plant or two,
and the planter box most definitely, it's from my brother.
and the water barrel from my dad
and of my mother, all i have are these hands
that plant the seeds into the soil.

my sisters are beckoning me
the white tipped tops of mountains calling..
before we make the move i must go sailing
to find the place where the sun sets
to put my mind at ease.

when my mother left, she took time with her
as if she was the only one keeping count.
the days no longer exist if not on paper
minutes no longer pass without the digits on the wall.
so this is freedom..


Sunday, August 17, 2014

where i'm at, where i'm going.

right now.. i only have one thing set in stone, a bus ticket west. i'm not really sure about where i'll end up, how long i'll be, what i'm going to accomplish while i'm out there, or any of the things i've been asked or wondering myself. i just don't know. planning things to a degree is good, but i'm leaving space for the universe to do with me what it will. usually works out better that way rather than trying to stick to a certain plan. i have lots of resources lined up, friends to visit and time to spend. there are opportunities to learn, to farm, to discover my own potential. and of course, to work.


there's been a lot happening between preparing for this journey, settling my mother into her resting place, and tying up loose ends. i'm grateful that i took a month before traveling to get everything done, or i'd have never had time to spend with the people i share my life with. another bonus of retirement, less stress on friendships and relationships. we'd never see each other, all working opposite shifts. i've been able to see friends i haven't been able to see due to schedules and general busy-ness, hang with my baby brother, and go on random adventures until late in the evening when usually it'd be far past my bed-time. what an amazing freedom. now i remember what i liked about this lifestyle. now if i can only make time to write.. working on it.


something else has happened since i've been off. i have a far greater appreciation for the place that i live, both my hometown and the house itself. having time to actually wander reminds me what i like about being here in the first place, and i'm already excited to return, whenever that may be. there has been talk here and there of the housemates relocating in the spring, so i've spent as much time as i could in the yard and in the garden. i have already opted out of my space in the house until further notice, and Matty will make sure the garden and the kitty are looked ofter while i'm gone. back to the garden.. the sunflowers are gigantic this year, the fruits so sweet. it's been nice having time to savour the literal fruits of our labour. and the shade.


i took down my tent finally after a few good weeks camping out behind the urban farm. the next week coming is filled with various mini adventures around the peninsula before i leave the province. most of my books and overflow seasonal gear has made it safely into the storage garage. it'll be nice to have my own personal library and mini inventory of clothing and gear all neatly organized and ready for my return. that and a little workspace set up for when i get back into my winter crafting. i have a feeling this winter will be a long one in Ontario, it's already hinting at moving in.


it's a good thing it's 'back to school' season. i had to pick up an agenda, since retiring i've been keeping busy and i have to keep track of my days. my money too, funds are finite and i must monitor my spending. i have about a week left until i hop the Greyhound west. the pages are pretty full.. i'm sure it will pass quickly. i thought a month would be a long time, but it feels like only a few days since i retired back to the rucksack. a good few though. now to get back to what i've been up to...

Monday, August 4, 2014

Retired.

it's the end of an extra long weekend, and i won't be getting up for work in the morning. there's no more alarms, no rushing to get ready, no hourly dealines five days a week. there's other deadlines now, like getting things done before i leave in three weeks, making sure i have enough money to pay the few bills i still have on time, and contemplating ways i can sustain myself [make money] without working forty hours a week for someone else. i have to pick and dive in to hopefully see a return before i run out of loot. if not, of course there's always a plan b. work for someone else, only not as much.. i have one hell of a resume. that way i'd still have time to develop my own business plan. and yknow, actually enjoy living without being exhausted all the time.

i have to get a stone for my mother's grave. we finally put her ashes to rest on Friday afternoon. finally, a moment of closure for her family. i've been anxious especially to put down the marker, but the price has gone up quite a bit since the last time one of us was buried. i'll make it happen one way or another. it'll likely be the last thing i do before i leave, to bring my stepdad there to visit. but i want the stone to be in place first. i refuse to go before this happens. i'm working on a post about closure, so i'll save the rest of that thought.


which brings me to my point.. i'm having a hard time trying to relax. i did my best to take some time over the long weekend and just lay in my tent, or wander slowly without a destination. it's difficult to do so without the thoughts of 'real life' leaking in. i find relief when i stand barefoot in the dirt, in the garden. it's wonderful to just sit in the yard, and breathe deep. the green oasis that we built does well to mask the bustle of the city beyond.

i spent a good hour just laying on my mat in the grass under the tarp. i had a bug's eye view of the yard, when i had my eyes open. i could see the blades of grass dancing gently in the breeze. the crickets chirp at all hours of the day and night in this lush green inner city cove. the air is lovely down there in the grass, i couldn't help but drift off in the calm. eventually i was awakened by the sound of dog tags clanging together as their owner pranced towards me. a wet nose in my face brought me back into consciousness.

there's much to do, and i must get back on task in the morning, save my sanity. it was nice just hanging out in the yard, like in the summer days between the years of grade school. the sense of not needing to be anywhere but where i was brought me back.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Selfish.

i suppose it's about time. it took me a really long time to realize [and a bunch of people telling me] that a lot of what i do with myself is to the benefit of others before [or at least as well as] myself. but i rarely just do something for me. examples? well...

just about everything... i travelled for myself, but i came back out of guilt. i share living accommodations, and when i do, most usually i consider everyone in the house's comfort and convenience before my own. i take the smaller [or crappier] room, i most usually end up cleaning up after more than just myself, and somehow assume responsibility eventually. maintaining rooming houses for my homies to have homes... even at work when i delegate tasks i give them to the people that i think would like them most and do the crappy jobs myself. when sharing meals i [used to, not so much anymore] accommodate to the others' taste regardless if the food would make me feel like crap. all that said, of course there's no regrets, some incredible lessons and experiences for sure. point is, i never woke up to all this until recently.


today a conversation with a friend really hit it home. "will you come back for Matt?" she asked about my leaving the province. my answer, no. no i'm not going to come back for anyone but myself. i'll be back when i'm done with that part of my journey. i've been doing so many things with other people in mind, i rarely think of myself. i've been so bogged down by guilt to even realize i have nothing to feel guilty about, and it's okay to do things for me sometimes. i am learning to love myself enough to take better interest in my personal well-being. what do i want with my heart? i'll do that. life is too short to daydream about the things i wish i was doing. i'm almost thirty now, and i'm glad it didn't take me any longer to figure it out.

the greatest part is, eventually, once i get myself figured out, i'll be in a way better position to help others. when i find my health, when i get into the field of work that has fully consumed my interests and dreams.. it will actually benefit those that i care about. and i'm on my way.

i'm glad i finally let go of the lifestyle that i have outgrown. it's not easy once you become comfortable. i used to hate the idea of working full-time 'for the man', and now departing from this way of life [though i'm excited] feels strange. i have no definite plans right now, and for right now that's what i need. lately opportunities and connections that i fancy have been coming to me, which tends to happen when i learn to let go. i always forget this until the next time. maybe now that i've written it down i'll learn faster.

so, that's it. this is me, doing stuff for myself. i will get healthy. i will get fit. i will learn to live and grow more things sustainably. then pass it on. each one teach one.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

mid-july

it's been a strange summer. when the sun is out, the heat is intense. but otherwise, cool.
the sun hasn't been out as much as most summers. lots of overcast and rain. almost coastal weather..
not complaining, but it's strange no less.

i woke up this morning with a headache. not unusual i suppose, i've been getting them the past couple weeks. but today it was too much. i think the couple days of sun and humidity there got to me. i realized that i've been pushing myself pretty hard the past few weeks, and not sleeping. trying to get as much done as i can, and forgetting to rest. all of everything caught up to me, and i spent most of today in the garden or on the bed.


i'm glad that i got to see the first sunflower open. i was worried that i'd be gone already, as last year they didn't open til september when i was just leaving for Nova Scotia. they're huge this year, almost eight feet tall. i love them. i can't help but smile when i see sunflowers. some of the mammoth seeds were pushed into the ground the morning my mother passed, before i even knew that she was gone. only she was there with me..

i miss her. it's getting easier in the day-by-day, but those times that waves of emotions surface from the ocean within, there is no stopping their tidal force. some days i wish so much that she could see me now, that she could see me driving or taking off for the coast. sometimes i don't need to wish so much. sometimes i can feel her smile in the sun, her laughter in the wind.

one week left until retirement.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

skywalking

i've been carrying my pack around lately. gotta get used to those straps again. the load is heavy at times, but that rucksack is my wings. time is moving at it's own pace. dissolving here and there. i have to keep a count to not lose track. i don't have many days left at my job. i'm glad to have an extended vacation, though i will miss my team. thank goodness for this futuristic communication technology.

opportunities happen when you accept what is. at least that seems to be what's happening to me. i get in these funks where i just don't care to acknowledge this, and things don't change. for years at a time even. and as soon as i accept, things change. it's not always easy, that's the problem.

i'm glad that i finally said yes to change.


i'm excited for the first day i don't have to wake up at any particular time to be somewhere besides my garden. i managed to book myself into driving school on every day i have off between now and the end of my employment, so i'll be kept good and busy until then. that first day though... either i'll sleep in, or i'll be up extra early to spend five hours in the garden before breakfast. whatever happens, it's gonna be good.

my packlist is coming together nicely. i decided that my laptop takes up far too much space in my pack, and it's too heavy.. so i'm having my netbook repaired. i have no idea why netbooks are no longer made, they're damn perfect travel computers. it's everything a laptop is minus the cd drive. who needs 'em! haha. anyways, so that's in the works as well. i shouldn't need many new things, i've accumulated a decent collection of various gear over the years. i had to update my footwear recently, but that'll be another post in itself. it's been a while since i've reviewed some gear, it's about time.

what am i getting at here.. i'm already drifting, somewhere but where i'm standing. it's becoming increasingly hard to focus at my job with all of this change on my mind. i pay my last rent, i receive my final paycheck. it's all happening, very soon. within the next couple weeks to be exact. my loot is finite. my attitude towards money and expenses has changed already. wants versus needs are defined. moments are more important than ever. the course of the day can be changed with a smile.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

becoming transient

after 'sitting' so long, i'm a little nervous about not having a steady job and a fixed address for a while. i'm nervous about being truly and completely transient in my lifestyle, which is usually my preferred mode of existence. it's been too long is all, so i must transition slowly. i've started the process of scaling down before being on the move once again.

things are different this time. the last time i tripped around the countryside with a backpack, i didn't have much of an aim except to get away. i certainly don't regret it, i learned a lot of what i know from that journey. this time i'm looking to solidify the sense of transience in my life. if that makes any bit of sense. i've become used to being anchored, comfortable in domesticated life. i have unhealthy habits, do the same things often, i'm bored. not bored necessarily with the world around me, just my perspective of it. i long for the days that i miss this place, and become excited to return home. even if only for a little while..

i suppose that's the point. i'm getting back to my roots. the ones i grew myself, from the seeds planted in my mind by my mother. precious ideas like always have a plan b, and be ready for sudden change. be comfortable enough to call the countryside my home, and be safe.

two things i like having is a storage locker, and a gym membership. no matter what, i have somewhere to keep my stuff, and somewhere to shower. finding a place to sleep is an easier challenge, knowing that all my belongings are safe and dry for however long i need to leave them means a lot. i have both of these things already. i was sure to get a super cheap gym membership, only 20 bucks a month. that way if i leave for a few months at a time, i don't feel it's a much of a waste to reserve that membership.


i've decided that i'll keep the garage as a sort of home base here in my hometown. it's comfortable, and relatively inexpensive. there is room to sit and think or sort through my stuff or create something, and my gear is organized and stored in shelves and my mother's old dressers. no matter where i end up when i come back, i know there's a place in the heart of the city where i can sit comfortably and catch my breath. that way, regardless of what happens at the farmhouse while i'm gone, i know my personal belongings won't get caught up in the mix or left behind. there's always the possibility that one day these floods will get out of hand [i say as rainwater creeps under my feet] or that my housemates will decide to bail on the place for some other reason. i wouldn't blame them if they had to, but i wouldn't want the loss of some personal junk being a reason for any hard feelings.

one thing that has really come into perspective is just how much gear and clothing i've accumulated over the years. this is my first time really having everything i own in one place as opposed to being scattered between where i keep stuff and where i'm staying and some other friend's closet somewhere. i won't have to do any shopping for a while, when i wear through an undershirt or socks i know i have a surplus in the garage.

about the clothing.. i suppose one thing i've been taking for granted for a while is having a big ol' laundry hamper. it fits a few loads, and it's on wheels so i can drag it down the street to wash. i've gotten used to being able to just put on a fresh new entire set of clothes every day. sometimes if i get dirty enough at work twice a day, and by the end of the week i've got a couple loads. as a part of the scaling down process, i'm setting aside the things i really like to wear right now, and storing some in the drawers in the garage. i have to get used to laundry day fitting in a backpack instead of a 4 wheeled cart.

it's a kind of stress relief, really. having less and less to worry about right now. knocking expenses off the monthly budget list is nice too. the frightening part is knocking off the bi-weekly paycheck, something else i've come all too comfortable with. my savings will float me through a few months of expenses, but i'll have to find periodical or seasonal employment to keep chugging along. not that i'm worried about finding a job, just that comfort zone thing again. been in the same place a long while.

i have a few other resources lined up. i renewed my WWOOFing membership so that i can stretch my money while i learn new things and earn my keep on various organic farms out in the mountains. i have a backup job lined up in VanCity for when the time comes to rack up more loot. the reality of 'going home' is beginning to sink in. all in all, it's a good feeling.