Wednesday, November 25, 2015


november. i'm not entirely sure how i always end up 'homeless' in the winter, but it happens. here i am. the second last night of october, vancouver was hit with the first big rain storm of the season. as per expected, the roof of the slanty shanty finally fell through. it rained for two days into my bedroom. and almost every day since. i had no choice but to leave. i knew it was only a matter of time..

it's a really good thing that i started to talk to strangers. if i hadn't, this whole 'homeless' thing would be a lot more difficult. i've worked full time off and on for most of my adult life, and been homeless for several long stretches spanning all of the seasons [especially winter], but this is my first time having all of the things at once. the environments are reversed, instead of being homeless outside and working inside, i now work outside and have somehow managed to find a few places that i can crash to cover each night of the week. so far.

that said, it's probably more of a challenge than it was working part time and living outdoors. because i pretty well need an indoor space in between my work days, i have to stash all of my belongings divided equally to correspond with where i am each night, where i'm working the next day, and what i'll need to do so. the biggest part of that of course is dealing with my rain gear. by the end of almost every shift, myself and all of my gear is soaked and full of mud so my top priority is getting clean and dry and ready for the next day. not being in the same place every night makes it difficult at times, especially since my two main crash sites are cities apart.

so is all my stuff. i mean, besides just my work gear... all of my belongings are now spread out over five different houses in four different cities in two different provinces, and a pickup truck. oh yeah, i bought a truck. with the sudden failure of my dwelling timing out with the sudden failure of my partner's vehicle, it made most sense to me to just buy a truck right away instead of waiting until spring. the original plan was to wait until the next time i go to ontario, buy a truck there, load it with all of my things and drive it back. i have to get my driver's permit updated before i can do all of that, at least now i have a vehicle to do my road test in when the time comes. that time being my layoff period, which is another factor in the game. soon enough i'll be floating without a source of income for any given amount of time, living on hope and a prayer once again.

and not because i'm 'homeless'... i am home.

now back to the headline. i was sitting on the drive next to my streetkid friend at one of his regular spots, as i have several times before for hours at a time, and for some reason this last time was the first time i noticed this giant sign [that's apparently been there forever] that reads "how do you define 'home'?" i was baffled. had it really been there the whole time? anyways.. home is where i'm at. it's my best friend's kitchen floor, it's under a hat, attached to some backpack straps, a forum on the internet, a particular park bench.

even when i had a place of my own, i've always essentially lived out of my backpack. only difference now, that backpack is a little heavier than when i had my own dwelling. i'm like a turtle, i carry my home around with me. sea turtle. just 'cause. that said, despite shit seeming utterly crazy from the outside, and there's far more insanity to the story than my living situation, i'm actually for the most part quite comfortable with the [potential] arrangement. unfortunately pretty well all of the people closest to me are suffering some sort of unfortunate living situation, tragedy or health malady. me too.. i gotta get myself fixed up soon. i'm no good to anyone else if i'm falling apart myself. all i want to do is help. and i am. me next. i gotta quit smoking, that's for absolute sure. one of my many 'home's is this vessel. i'd like to find a dwelling someday soon, it'd make improving my health a lot easier. in the meantime i have to figure out ways to start the process despite my situation.

anyhoo, the saga continues. december soon come..

Sunday, October 11, 2015

chasing rainbows

i've got to start somewhere. some things just need to be written. i have been neglecting the writing for fear of being read. my life story reads out like a synchronicity thriller romantic comedy that will never be seen in full light as it is way too chaotic, kinda silly at times, and makes absolutely no sense. until it does.. then it's also freaky as fuck. i could never even write about some of the best years, that shit could get a lot of good people in a lot of trouble. this chapter in particular tho.. just wow.

where was i going with this..?

what am i here for? i seem to think i know or act like i remember every few months or so and then it fades, it changes.. i'm here for a time, and a time i'm having. quite possibly the most interesting, ass-busting, heart-breaking, epic time of my life. i've been here thirteen months and thirteen days. 13, 13. it's kinda like that double rainbow... what does it mean? and everything happens in trees. threes.

i don't fucking care if i sound mental writing this. i am mental most of the time, i just do a really good job at hiding it. i'll probably lose a few more bits of my mind before i feel any better. in fact, that's probably essential. i'm not complaining. truly i'm not. shit might get weird at times and it's not all rainbows and glitter but i certainly would never take any of it back.

Friday, September 25, 2015

talk to strangers.

i can be a pretty outgoing person at times, i'm known to be kind and friendly, but that hardly changes the fact that for the most part i'm an introverted sociophobe. i've forced myself into situations several times in the past where i'm immersed in a crowd or in places i've never been before full of people i've never met. which is actually kind of easier than moving to a new place and trying to settle and make new friends. talking to strangers is definitely more comfortable when travelling, you pretty much have to to figure your way around and learn about the place you're in. but it's been a challenge for me here, it's been a year and i'm just finally becoming comfortable enough to do so.

earlier this summer a friend from back home sent me a 'challenge' to help get over the funk i've been stuck in, and i think my favourite card out of the whole pile is the one that challenges me to talk to strangers. according to said challenge i only had to talk to three people i didn't know in the same day, but i've taken it to the next level by adopting this challenge as a part of my modus operandi.

i've managed to make half a dozen friends in the past month by simply not being strapped into my ipod everywhere i go. kind of old fashioned like, imagine that.. talking to people in the lunch line, at the grocery store, on the city bus, outside the train station after work.. a lot of people in this city are sort of closed off to that sort of thing, walking around with their faces in their cell phones and giving zero shits about the world around them. but every once in a while there's a friendly face, someone itching to strike up a conversation. i'm doing my best to embrace those situations.

one of my favourite random encounters thus far was on the city bus about a month ago. the bus was stopped at a station and the driver wasn't on board to collect tickets as people were boarding. i walked on, and immediately locked eyes with a fellow sitting in the back corner. i sat in the empty seat by the back door. a moment later another guy boarded, stuck his ticket in the fare box, and because the driver wasn't there to push the button his ticket didn't return. he looked around frustrated and then sat down next to me. when the driver boarded, he reset the fare box and out came the ticket. i noticed, so i walked up and grabbed it, and gave it to the man who'd lost it. the fellow in the corner smiled at me. i couldn't look away, he had such a friendly, familiar face..

as we were approaching his stop he got up a minute early to stand at the back door. he looked me right in the eyes and asked, 'what is your name?' as if he'd felt he had met me before as well. we introduced ourselves, shook hands, and then he asked me where i was off to. i said 'oh, nowhere in particular.. you?' he pointed to an all day breakfast place at the corner and said 'breakfast for dinner' and smiled. i thought that was an amazing idea, as i was starving and asked if he cared if i joined. i can only imagine what was going through the heads of some of the other passengers that witnessed us two perfect strangers introduce at the door, and go to dinner. i caught a glimpse of a tilted head or two.

 for whatever reason neither of us could figure out, we had felt like we'd known each other from long ago. with twelve years difference and a few thousand kilometers between us most of our lives, chances aren't likely. we had a deep, engaging conversation about where we're at in our lives right now and where we've been. we shared similar pasts, being street kids and travellers, having some of the problems that follow those kinds of lifestyles, and the things we've done to overcome them.

we walked and smoked and talked some more on our way to the station. his story was one of the most beautiful and inspiring stories of being reborn in a sense, that i'd ever heard. he was happy to have someone to tell it to. we arrived at the station and before parting ways we looked at each other thinking, should we hug?! haha and we did. it was one of the most genuine things i had felt in a while. i hope to run into him again.

even the internet, as strange as it is to me, has become a resource for meeting people i never would have otherwise. a few of the best friends i've made here i met sort of at random online, and i've been 'one of the boys' ever since. i couldn't imagine my life here without them. i've only just known them barely a year and they're like long lost family. we get together for golf, holiday meals, and epic card games and drinks. it feels like we've known each other forever, which is nice.

all that said, it's taken a while, but i feel far less lonely here than i did. i still have my moments where i wish more than anything i could hug my many loves back home, hop in my bro's car for a road trip out to dad's house, or bum around my hometown crashing couches and visiting my collection of adopted mothers.. but it's getting easier each day. what can i say.. talk to strangers.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

'super crazy fun time [VanCity] challenge'

it's been a pretty strange summer for me. most usually i do whatever i can to get some time off for travel or epic relaxation, but this year i've been playing catch up. i moved my home base out to a new place and spent a good chunk of time just moseying around. and here i am, East Van. anyways, since my focus has been narrowed down to city survival i just haven't had the time to do as many new things as i'd like, i'd pretty much stopped writing and drawing, and meeting new people has been out of the question. it's been making me anxious to the point where at times i forget why i came out here. a dear friend's response to this was to send me a challenge.

 i received an envelope filled with brightly coloured flash cards and instructions. it was to be a 'challenge a day' type thing for the month of August, but i didn't receive it til late in the first week. the craziest thing about that is, i somehow managed to start the challenge before it even arrived. flipping through the cards the first time made me laugh out loud. how did she know?! ...or how did i know.. either way, i guess we have that sort of connection, making random things seem not so random and having everything work out in the end.

one of the strangest coincidences i'd have to say was the one about finding an Ethiopian restaurant down on the drive. i had a friend visiting from the east coast early in the week, and he had his sights set on finding some Jamaican food. the one we found was not-so-authentic and not at all fresh so we continued on down the line. we came across an Ethiopian place with a really kind server to show us the ropes. it was my first time trying such a thing. it was delicious. when i got the package a few days later it was one of the first cards i'd pulled out. find this Ethiopian place and give it a try... weird. that worked out nice.

the other that kind of blew my mind was instructions to get a hold of a particular person on the island and have her give me knitting lessons over skype. something random involving someone rad. the night before, my housemate asked me outta nowhere if i'd like to learn how to crochet. had no idea she was in to that sort of thing, so i said okay. and a week before that i had already made plans to visit with said rad individual on the island. all the things only slightly different, and more coincidences at hand.

as if the coincidences couldn't get any more strange, this one takes the cake. one card had very specific instructions to "take a selfie with someone you see regularly but wouldn't expect it." when i read that one out loud i was officially creeped out at how specific it was, and how it'd happened just a couple days before. i see my housemate every day. we work together part of the week. we don't really take many pictures when we hang out, and for absolutely sure had never taken one together. it was a super soaker rainy wednesday and we had just worked most of the day in it. i pulled out my phone to check the time and it slipped out of my hand. craccckk. on the bus ride home i took a moment to survey the damage and noticed the crack went right through the "selfie camera" lens. we were playing around with it as the light made trippy patterns through the split. i pointed it in our direction, we both pulled a face, and bam. there it is.

i'm grateful to have this challenge to help get my creative juices flowing again and give me an excuse to write some things so i don't forget it all. the summer that is, and all the random happenings. the good stuff life is made of. i'm going to savour these little cue cards well into the fall, and maybe even save some of the best ones for winter [and watch the rest randomly manifest]. maybe i'll write a few of my own.

 all that said, what i'm getting at is.. thanks! to that lovely amazing friend back home, for sending me a buttload of intention, for helping me hit the restart button on the random freshness in my life. my mind was getting stale you know, i needed that. and to remember why i write this thing in the first place. it's time to pull another card or two and be on my merry way.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

eleven months

it's almost been a year since i abandoned my hometown home base. i've left so many times, and travelled so many miles, but had never fully uprooted. seems so long ago already, i can't believe it really.. and the adventure continues. not gonna lie, it certainly hasn't been all sunshine and rainbows. sometimes my anxiety gets the best of me. i'm grateful for the friends out there who always manage to talk me down when i'm strung up on shit i have little or no control over, like what might come around tomorrow. today is all i know.

so far taking up residence here in the west has sort of felt like a long working vacation, the goal is to keep it that way for a while. i don't want to get locked in to monotony as i did the past few years back home. i've had a couple jobs since i've been here, mostly along the lines of retail/warehouse. i have one part time gardening job right now, and i'm hoping to fill the rest of my week with some landscape maintenance. the hardware store gig is cool and all, but it doesn't pay well enough and yeah.. it's still inside a box.

speaking of boxes.. the slanty shanty in which i've been residing the past few months is eternally wasting away. for the most part i don't mind, it's kind of like camping. with all the critters around and inside temperatures always matching the outside, i haven't felt as boxed in as i usually do when i decide to live indoors. i fear this place has a fast approaching expiry date, but i'm soaking up every minute of it while it lasts. if there's any constant i can count on, it's change.

i suppose there's one thing i need to change on my own, my attitude. i've been really down lately and i seem to forget to appreciate all the goodness that has come of my journey thus far. because really, this past year has been one of the best [or at the very least, most interesting/self realizing] years of my life. the couple before were very close contenders, besides of course losing my mother.. although the fact that she is no longer suffering is a blessing in itself.

not really sure i have much more to say at the moment. well i have a million things to say, but i've been so pressed for minutes. at least i'm keeping busy, and also learning to relax. my golf swing is slowly improving, i kick ass at cribbage, and i've almost got the nerve up to get on the road. i have to switch over my license at some point or another before it expires, and learn how to drive all over again. it's a thing.

 ah, VanCity. eleven months and counting...

Friday, July 3, 2015


everything is a drum.
and four strings are better than none.


i'm going to blame my lack of sleep on my lack of expression.
maybe if i write i'll be able to sleep
who knows, just a theory.
i've been quiet lately
in more ways than one.

everything is a drum.
it's loud..

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

the balance

i want to remember this, but i'm having a hard time keeping track. i rarely write anymore, almost never tote around my camera, even my sketchbook is suffering neglect. i'm not sure what my problem is. a part of it may be time management, and admittedly part laziness.. a healthy dose of forgetfulness too. forgetting to remember, yeah that sounds like something i'd do.

this is me making an effort. i'm writing something which is better than nothing, right? i suppose shit got too real there for a minute. did the Ontario and back thing, made a somewhat triumphant return to VanCity, happened into a place to live and sourced out two jobs real quick to make ends meet. and they almost do.. almost.

be careful what you wish for. that seems to be the theme of the year. the past couple even.. that shit just might come true. and then what? am i satisfied? i should be. i got what i wished for. now i need to find the balance.

sometimes i forget to smile, to be grateful for every little thing i have. as i should be. i'm in a beautiful place, i made a few friends, there's plenty of opportunity for adventure and to learn new things. yet i'm still somehow exhausted at the very notion of keeping up with it all. sometimes all i want to do is sleep for an entire week, camp out on a couch for a month or spend half a year getting cozy with my tent, but at this point in time those are non-options. what i can and should do is learn to deal with the cards i've been dealt.. drew from the deck myself rather. this is my own doing.


a couple weeks have passed since i started writing this. summer is making itself known as the sun grows hotter each day. it's hard to sleep at night. not that i ever had much luck with that. it's been a few months since i returned from Ontario, nine since i decided to leave in the first place, and thirteen months to the day since my mother died. i'm lacking in direction lately. back home i had the house and the garden, a job i'd had for years, comfort, structure. i grew bored, but it was simple. long term goals, plans, and the direction i'm currently lacking. all these things i didn't have my whole life and when i finally had them, i walked away. the only thing i can be sure of, is that everything will change.

i don't know what else to say about all that, except that i'm feeling strange. still, i don't want to forget this.. another month later i finally hit the publish button. it's July. what is wrong with me?

Friday, March 13, 2015

home and back... home.

yeah. blog wagon, i broke it... so i'll make an attempt. i've been meaning to write for a while. i'm not entirely sure why i chose February of all months to return to my homeland, i suppose it made sense at the time. it was a reminder both of why i stuck around so long in the first place, and why i left for good.

i suppose the journey began as it would, at the greyhound station. i'm always buckled over with anxiety before travel for days or even weeks, until i'm sitting in my seat. not sure why, given the amount of times i've travelled ridiculous distances in this country but hey, it happens. the ride back to Ontario was long, cold, and for a brief moment absolutely terrifying. of course a massive snowstorm would roll into the Rockies just in time for my departure, which naturally resulted in some delays. one of which was a perspective changing, near-death experience.. the last thing i'd expected from the trip.

twilight before the sunrise is a strange and lonely time on a long distance bus ride. i have a hard time sleeping in general, so on a moving bus it's pretty well impossible. i was one of three passengers awake at the time, and the very only one sitting up in my seat looking out the window. coming down a hill to a bend in the road our coach passed a transport truck laying upside-down off the side of the highway, right before a drop-off in the mountain pass. glad that ain't us i was thinking, when all of a sudden the highway in front of us was coming at me through the side window. our bus began to spin, the back wheels and trailer hit the snowbank sending the rear of the bus fishtailing back in the opposite direction mere feet from the edge of the bloody mountain.. the moment the driver started yelling 'oh shit oh shit' was about the time the whole life flashing before my eyes thing began, the moment i thought it was all over.

everything was silent. what all had happened in less than a minute felt like an eternity. i could see and feel everything so intensely. the force of the coach losing control, the gently falling snow off in the distance, the heartbeat in my chest, the soft white blanket covering the trees, the icy ravine below.. it was all so real, so vivid. if this is it i thought, i lived a full life, i had a good time. i wasn't 'ready' to die, but i accepted the possibility. no fear and no regrets, in the moment.. eventually we coasted to a stop. finally i could take a breath. my ears stopped ringing. it's not over yet.

that incident sort of set the tone for the rest of the trip. winter was unforgiving, the task at hand was majorly daunting, and i didn't get to see everyone i'd hoped to. i'm grateful for the time i did get with my fams and a few good friends. i spent a good portion of my time alone and under ground trying to figure this part out. reflecting on just about every period of my life as i went through every little thing i've managed to hold on to, deciding what to keep and what to give away. photos, journals, art projects.. i'm not even sure how i still had most of it. my mother held on to a few things dearly, which i inherited back when she passed.

about that.. it's almost been a year now. when it first happened i had a hard time letting go. half of the stuff in that storage locker was hers not mine.. i panicked dealing with her sudden death and being responsible for 'cleaning up the mess' so to speak. it's not an easy thing to stay calm about, and there are things one feels when the mother dies that no one and nothing can prepare you for. cyclical waves of heart wrenching pain and hollow numbness. time does heal. returning to the locker of memorabilia was far less painful than it had been at the start. i still have my moments, this might be one of them..


i have arrived, i am home.

the journey back west was met with far less resistance. the sub-zero temps let up the day i left, the sun shone down on the greyhound bus the entire way through the prairies.. not a single flake of snow fell in any of the five provinces. i felt this was the correct direction of travel. Vancouver had been experiencing the warmest February on record while i was busy closing up shop down in the coldest Ontario had seen in over a century. the shock of returning to green lawns and cherry blossoms was overwhelming. on top of a smooth ride i managed to fluke out with an available room to rent in a house full of friends, and i have an interview for a job this coming monday in a place where i'd never have to work nights, weekends or holidays. fingers crossed.. could i be so lucky?

my destination is in each step.

every moment is brand new, besides the déjà vu of course. a friend told me once that when you experience déjà vu it is believed to signify that you are exactly where you should be in life, on the right path at the right time.. or something like that. i've always kind of felt that way even though i'm sure there's a perfectly good scientific reason for the whole phenomenon. anyways, it's hard not to exist in the moment. i've done a whole lot of moving around, but always ended up back where i started. this is the first time in my life that i intend to permanently transplant myself in a faraway land.

it feels good to be home. to feel like i'm someplace i should be.. to start over. it's hard to be homesick when home is where the heart is and i left my heart here on the coast. tomorrow is a new day. onward..

Saturday, January 31, 2015

it's all so... 2015

phh blog fail. it's been over a month since i last hit this thing, but hey what can i say.. shit's been crazy. i'm still having a hard time making words for how i feel about it all, there really aren't any that fit the picture. but i'll giver a shot. where do i start...? let's try where i left off..

first of all, i'm glad i've managed to keep this thing going. a good friend reminded me the other day that it's nice to have something to look back at to 'remind myself how strong i can be when shit gets too real', and i think i can't handle it. i'm certainly blessed to have the friends that i do, you're likely reading this, so thank you. i promise to remember not to forget. ha. i still think blogging is really fuckin weird, but for some reason you freaks wanna read what i have to say, and it's kinda neat to write it so..

alright then. december.. this was my first 'holiday season' away from the home base. no matter what or where i was, i always made it back in time for mom's birthday, seven days before the solstice. this time i decided to stay away. an interesting perspective gained on the whole 'christmas' thing. though i always kinda had a hate on for it for a bunch of different reasons, being so far removed from it all allowed me to really feel out the parts that bother me. and appreciate the parts that i missed.. or should i say miss the parts that i appreciate.

holidays were always a clusterfuck of obligations and emotions that seem almost pointless given it's a season meant to be reserved for joy and sharing and family celebrations. and of course my mother couldn't handle it, both the loneliness and the not-so-joyous memories from every christmas before.. i couldn't blame her. this year none of that applied to me. i'm too far away to get caught up in the circus, too broke to send any gifts, and my mother is finally at peace. the parts i miss are having conversations and laughs with my folks by the fireplace with some baileys, chillin with my awesome baby bro, the sudden influx of random home baked goods, and seeing everyone i hadn't for a year.. watching children grow like weeds. these moments will only happen when i can make them, when i have a minute to run away home.

this year i was on my own. no plans, no obligations, just go with the flow. which led to spending christmas eve with a good friend trippin around the city, visiting the other misfits, and later stumbling home in deep appreciation of the lack of blustering winds and zero feet of snow. i really, really love the 'winter' here. i had already accepted the fact that christmas day would be all mine to do with what i please, i and i alone. and of course, in the least likely of places and with very unexpected timing i managed to make a friend. how fitting. presence is a gift..

then 2015 hit. BEEP BOOP!! a sudden awakening reminder that life rarely goes according to plan, everything can change in an instant, and things always happen in their time. i knew when i settled in to this little groove of having a job and living under a roof that there was a very good chance it was all temporary, and here i am. i handed in my keys today, finished stashing all my shit this past week, ditched out on the job that was wearing me down and picked up my ticket for the next whirlwind of craziness. i'm about to end up right back where i started only this time much lighter in more ways than one.

no regrets. i needed a minute. sometimes you just fuckin need a minute. i didn't come here to slave my ass off for a minimum wage, spend all my weekends holed up in a cave, and end up in a miserable rut like the old one in a new place. hell no. i came here to simply uproot. to unplug. reset. just another one of those kids who went west for vacation and forgot to go home. home is here now where i'm at. somewhere and nowhere in particular. enjoying a little random adventure, good company and a healthy dose of recklessness before deciding what it is i'm going to do with myself.

the best and maybe scariest part is, i have no fucking clue what's going to happen. in just about every aspect of my life. i put off buying my bus ticket for as long as i could to postpone feeling obligated to leave at a specific time. there's only so much i can do to set myself up here before i leave, so my hands are tied. i miss the shit outta my family and friends but the idea of going back there right now is making me anxious. it's like the last goodbye for some truly unknown amount of time, plus closing up shop, and liberating pieces of my past both physical and not.. basically a three week long get'r done style 'welcome back, see ya later' party. it's gonna be one hell of a journey.

and then coming back west.. my original plan had me simply on leave from that job, but it was really affecting me, i'm too damn old for the night shift. i had to give it up. missing out on a social life was starting to get at me too. ditching the job meant ditching the room i was renting, which at first was nerve racking. full blown panic mode for a minute there.. i'm over it. as much as i'd love a little stability, right now might not be the moment. i'll accept that. for now. i kinda feel like i'm ten years old again, shit just got real, and i have no idea what i'm doing. moments are more vivid, time lost it's relevance, and i can't for the life of me remember what day it is.

what is this kitchen? cheque please..