Moment of awesome
The day before my Amtrak-serviced exodus from the United States I went on a day hike with my new friend. A good buddy of mine connected me with his mother in Seattle who showed me her neck of the woods (pun intended). The mossy, damp, and foggy forest set the scene for exercise and great conversation. While skillfully avoiding the topic ‘Donald Trump’, we talked about all facets of life. I don’t think I have ever connected with anyone on such a wide array of topics so quickly. We got on like a house on fire. We celebrated our new friendship with a classic claw picture and felt the irrevocable urge to howl like a wolf. IT WAS AWESOME!
Read more about this week’s adventures. Read More
The semi-dramatic title for this week’s post refers to the similarity between those who went North in the 19th century and me – we both had to flee into Canada. Although I didn’t take an underground railroad (and neither did the slaves who fled the US – the terminology was borrowed from the slaves being referred to as ‘passengers’, who got a ‘ticket to freedom’) I did have to escape the US due to visa requirements (see last week’s post). I had two alternatives to get to Vancouver; fly there straight from San Francisco or add a one day stop in Seattle. Flying to Seattle, doing a hike, and taking the train not only sounded more appealing, it was also cheaper. Decision made!
Having arrived at my hostel in Vancouver, I was happy to find a friendly Ozzie whom I would be sharing a room with. He had taken 6 weeks off work to chase the powder on a skiing adventure. He had been in town for almost a week trying to arrange his gear for his epic trip. I had decided I was going to need some serious hiking boots for my next leg in NZ, so we figured we could be there to support each other during the misery of shopping. After two painstaking hours of being reminded of my passionate hate for shoe shopping, we sat down at a nearby coffee bar. While enjoying a well-deserved latte he talked about what he does for a living. He works with a good friend in real estate. They know property builders’ projects and pitch these to individuals looking for a way to invest. I could see how his charms have landed him this year’s sales. He was endlessly interesting and fun to listen to. Not only was he a smart and witty guy, he also seemed to be able to seamlessly switch from serious talk to reminding me how ridiculous I looked that day. I liked this guy! On our last night we had an eggnog cocktail at a fancy bar (because that’s what guys do). We said goodbye at 5am after a short night as we both headed off to our next destinations.
I was dreading the holidays as I had no real plan for to celebrate Jesus’ birthday. I was invited to my friend’s house in Nelson, BC for the days after Christmas. After having trouble finding transportation to deep inside Canada, my buddy offered to drive down with him on 24 December (I am currently writing from the man cave in his parents’ home). This region is beautiful and is known for great skiing and hot springs. I’m very excited about the days to come. Expect cool pictures for next week!
The damp, mossy woods at North Bend, just outside Seattle, WA.
Insight of the week
— This moment, how terrible or amazing, will pass. —Read the explanation
While listening to one of my favorite books (Dan Harris’ 10% Happier), I was reminded of this little nugget of wisdom. In a nutshell, the Buddhist Dharma, as described in the book, teaches that we should not try to hang on to any moment as it’s sure to pass. Our minds often try to hold on to moments of joy, and push away those of discomfort. This causes us to constantly look for ‘the next thing’ or to long for a moment in the past. In either situation, we steer away from the moment we are currently in. You can think about is like this: if you live with one leg in the past and the other in the future, you piss on the present.
This insight has served me well during my travels. Joyful moments follow those of complete misery – not infrequently on the same day. It’s important not to get carried away by something positive, or loose your head when things don’t go your way. If you decide to go travel, expect an emotional roller coaster neither Six Flags or The Bold and the Beautiful can prepare you for.
A word of wisdom
“Give me 6 hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first 4 sharpening the axe”
– Abraham Lincoln – 16th President of the US.
Dash for cash