Highlining… sort of

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The first time I tried highlining I became a butterfly.

When I say that I don’t mean I bloomed into this beautiful creature that went soaring to new and wondrous heights. No, no.

I mean my belly was full of butterflies… in the “I’m so nervous I could pee” kind of way. As I was shimmying my way out onto the line, butterflies stacked on top of butterflies in the pit of my stomach until eventually my whole body was taken over and I was just a rigid sack of human nerves. An overwrought human butterfly, but without the wings or grace.

What I’m trying to say is that I was terrified. So, so nervous. And scared. And wondering what I was doing and why I was doing it. I’m afraid of heights, despite having a skydive under my belt, but that’s not even the number one reason to be anxious. The biggest reason is failing to be able to pull myself up to the line and thus being stranded and in need of rescue. You see, when you suck at highlining as much as I do, you fall a lot. And that means spending a lot of time dangling under the line. The transition from line to dangle is the fall, aka the fun part. I don’t mind falling. Honestly it’s pretty fun. The height doesn’t bother me too much, either.

The anxiety inducing/worrying/scary bit is the idea that after I fall, I’ll be trapped under the line because I won’t be strong enough to get back up. See, when you’re dangling from your leash you have no choice but to muscle your way back up over that line. Let me tell you… that shit ain’t easy. Climbing that leash like I didn’t almost fail gym semester after semester in school was not something I was looking forward to. So now you understand the butterfly reference.

The first time I sat on the line my breath was frozen in my throat, my legs dangling in the open air like two planks of wood, my eyes fixated on the impossible task in front of me: stand up. That’s it. That’s the only goal. Sounds SO easy, right? On land, when I’m just slacklining in the park, I can manage alright. I’m not walking monstrously long lines yet, but I can walk a decent one. Forwards and backwards. With much focus and effort, of course, but I can do it. Up that high in the air it’s harder. A lot harder. The line itself is heavier, it moves more, it’s a lot longer and takes a lot more skill to master. Did I do it? Not a chance.

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I couldn’t stand up. I could hardly even get into position to try to stand up. I just fell and hung dangling in the air over and over. But miraculously, to my total and utter surprise, I could pull myself back up to the line. Muscles that I didn’t even know were there banded together to help me and I managed the whole day without needing a rescue.

It was exhilarating, something wholly new and different. It was challenging and exciting and it was filling me with energy. So I went back a second time. I still couldn’t stand up. But slowly I was making progress. Fine tuning my body position and reading the line a bit better with each attempt.

The third time I went back, magic happened.

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I stood on the line. For like, a couple full seconds. It was bewildering. I remember as soon as I was up I thought oh my god it’s happening. I’m up! I’m up! I can’t believe it! This is amazing! Look at me everyone, I’m standing!! A miracle has happened, the most amazing thi- and then before I knew it I was down again. But let me tell you, that moment, though so painfully brief, was glorious. One of my shiniest moments to date.

If you want to see the moment in all it’s real time glory, I invite you over to my instagram where I posted the video that my beautiful wondrous friend somehow managed to capture for me.

Now I’m hooked. I am busting with excitement at the idea of actually taking a few steps on that thing. Highlining is going to be more and more a part of my life, I know.

So that’s it. An account of my first highlining adventures.

As always, much love to you all! Happy hump day!

And thank you for reading 🙂

xo

Rogue camping adventure

Rogue camping adventure

On Saturday my boyfriend and I along with two of our best friends drove 2 hours out of Toronto to go camping. Recently my bf and I invested in a compact two person tent, sleeping pads, sleeping bags, miniature burner, and a few other camping things to prepare for a more extended backpacking trip we have planned. This was our opportunity to see how our gear fares in action for the first time.

Fun fact of the day…

I haven’t been tent camping since I was… say.. 8 or 9? years old. My family quickly moved onto trailers/campervans so camping for me has always involved a cozy home on wheels. I was excited, but also kind of nervous, about some real deal roughen it style camping… I’m a girl who really enjoys her shower. What can I say?

The campsite we decided on was situated along the beach on Lake Erie. It was a beautiful spot with the good kind of sand that’s powdery and fun to squeeze between your toes… the kind that’s fun to be buried in, you know? Sadly, when we arrived at the campground we discovered that all the sites were booked. We were out of luck, but after driving for 2 1/2 hours we weren’t exactly willing to give up on our fun weekend plans. We paid the entrance fee to be able to park there for the day. They allow you use of the beach and the picnic tables until about 10 pm and then the warden comes along and shoos everyone out.

If you’ve ever seen my instagram feed you’ll know that I’m getting fairly involved in slacklining of late. One of the first things we did, naturally, was set up a good long line to walk in between an afternoon of swimming in the lake and napping in a clump under the afternoon sun.

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As the sun began to wane we had to decide what to do… drive home 2 1/2 hours defeated and disappointed? Or try our hand at rogue camping and risk being fined and kicked out of the park in the middle of the night by the warden?

In the cover of night we grabbed our packs, bolted stealthily up a sand dune and started pitching our tents in a sliver of a spot disguised by some trees along the beach. We only had the moonlight to help us see what we were doing, and we were hyper aware that the warden would be coming by any moment to makes sure no one was left in the park. It’s not like it was dangerous or anything, and it’s not like the consequences would be disastrous by any proporton, but…

…it was exciting. It was a little thrill that made me go, okay, here! This is FUN. This is life.   

After pitching the tents we had to leave them behind and saunter our way back to move the car, driving a couple kms down the beach to an overnight parking lot where we could leave the car.

We walked back to the tents under the full moon, listening to the waves and the water, bare feet in the sand and the stars over our heads… it was beautiful.

We slept through the night without incident. No wardens came knocking, no tickets left on our tents. We woke up with the sun, the waves, the fresh air and packed everything up. We made our way back along the beach, this time in the morning sun.

The final treat was seeing this rainbow on the horizon. Like a little reward for doing the weekend right.

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Life is like a kind of choose-your-own-adventure game. I’ve had a few tough blows as of late, but after a weekend like that I can’t help but feel invigorated and optimistic about everything that’s to come.

I hope you all had a great weekend, too! Do you guys have any fun camping stories? Or any camping horror stories even? I’m really keen for any tips and tricks from the seasoned campers out there. Feel free to share in the comments 🙂 🙂

As always, thank you for reading!

xo

Lucky or not quite so lucky?

Recently I’ve been paying more attention to the Daily Prompts that wordpress provides. The prompt today was ‘luck’. Seconds later I went to youtube and saw that a channel I follow posted this video:

I thought it was pretty strange that the subject of luck came up twice like that in the span of just a few seconds, but then I remembered that it was St Patrick’s day and suddenly it made sense. I hadn’t remembered that today was St. Patrick’s day, yet amazingly, I still managed to wear green underwear and order a green tea latte. Very lucky, indeed. Or perhaps my subconscious cares a lot more about this day than I do. In any case, the video is pretty interesting and you should take the 6 minutes to watch it if you can.

He talks about how luck can be looked at as a meeting of the conscious mind with chance. Or rather, that our own reactions to the curve balls and opportunities that life throws our way can actually empower us to, in a sense, create our own luck.

For example, today I really wanted to write a blog post here, but I also wanted to practice yoga, and I only had time for one or the other. I chose to go to yoga because I’m trying to make it a daily habit and I’ve been going every other day until now at around 5pm. So I got myself organised, grabbed my mat, walked to the subway, paid for the subway, rode the subway, and walked all the way to the studio only to discover that it’s closed on Friday afternoons.

Was I unlucky because I wasted all that time going there to not be able to practice yoga? Or was I actually lucky because the fact that the studio was closed meant that I had time to write this blog post?

I definitely felt the latter, but in general when I think of luck I tend not to put a lot of weight on it. Luck is such an intangible concept… you can’t really pin anything concrete on it. It’s just a word in our speech that we use to describe how we feel about random situations. When things work out surprisingly well for us we call it lucky and when they don’t we call it unlucky.

On the other hand when I look at my life I do feel very lucky. Or I guess I just feel grateful, but it can’t hurt to try and cultivate that elusive “luck” that may or may not be floating around out there. To me it all comes back to what you put into the universe you get back from the universe. The law of attraction. All that jazz.

 

Did anything happen today to make you feel lucky or unlucky? Let me know in the comments what you thought about the video if you ended up watching it.

Happy St Patrick’s day, everyone!

Thanks for reading xo

Alarm woes

What do you do when alarm clocks actually don’t work for you anymore?

Everyday my alarm is set to go off at 7:00 am and everyday at 7:00 am my subconscious either hits the snooze or outright dismisses the alarm without my consent. I swear to god my body will hit the snooze 15 times without my ever having noticed it. I have trained myself to be immune to alarms over many many years. What to do about this?

I have tried changing up the sound. I regularly set new and excitingly obnoxious tones and songs in the hopes that one will be annoying enough to properly wake me up, but it doesn’t work. I’ve tried putting the alarm across the room and setting multiple alarms, but none of these things have been effective enough to stir me. Fortunately I mostly work afternoons and evenings so until now it hasn’t mattered much if I overslept, and generally I get to bed fairly early so I’m mostly awake at 8:30 or 9 which isn’t too bad. The problem is that in the coming weeks I have been scheduled to work at 7 in the morning which means I need to be up by 6 at the latest and that’s quite the jump from 8:30 or 9, you know? I prefer to run off my own biological clock. Now I’m scratching my head wondering how on earth I’m going to manage to wake up before the sun, which I hate. I seriously HATE when I wake up and it’s still dark. It feels wrong.

I remember once I had to leave to get to work at 4 am and man was that ever a disaster. I had to set my alarm for 3:30 but I was too afraid to sleep in case I overslept so instead I just stayed awake the whole night and spent the entire day exhausted and grumpy.

I follow this guy on instagram whose handle is Before5am. His tagline says “Success starts before 5am,” and I think there must be some merit to that so I’m always keen to read his thoughts on the subject. Recently he wrote a post with tips on how to wake up early and he offers some really solid advice like listening to music first thing, looking at your goals, using motivational images, or playing motivational videos… all of these things sound great. My struggle is that I don’t ever have that moment of consciousness whereby I can implement any of these strategies.

I’m the girl that needs the alarm that’s not really an alarm but rather a pair of robotic arms that come out of the wall in the morning and tip the mattress over to spill you onto the floor. I think that might work. Or every morning a pack of puppies is released into my apartment to wreak havoc and chaos. I’d get up for that, too. I’m sure we could brainstorm plenty of ridiculously innovative but impractical alarm scenarios like these, in fact we should.

In all honesty, though, I think it’s a smart habit to wake up early. I’d really like to get in the habit of waking up at the same time everyday. Do any of you have any tips for this? It would be great to have a proper morning routine. Wake up, write for a couple hours, post on the blog, enjoy some chai, then go to work. It would be very classical hipster, which I love.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

 

 

Clouds are magic

Today is an absolutely beautiful day in Toronto, which is a real treat and turnaround from the dreary, bleak, grey skies we’ve been experiencing for what feels like weeks on end. It’s amazing what a difference a crystal clear sky makes in everyone’s attitude; everywhere I go I see smiling faces and people out making the most of the day.

Since I posted that ridiculously long post about New Zealand yesterday I find myself feeling very nostalgic and scrolling through the 1000+ photos I took while I was there. One thing I got really into doing was photographing clouds. I wanted to share a few of them with you guys, cause, you know… 🙂

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Happy Saturday friends xoxo

4 years on wordpress

This morning I was notified via my wordpress app that today is in fact, my 4 year anniversary here. 4 years ago, wayyyyy back when I was but a wee university student, I decided to start a blog.

I remember having an epiphany about it one night. I remember it was very early in the am, maybe 1 or 2, but for some reason it struck me, I MUST start a blog. What would it be about? I didn’t know (I still don’t). What was I hoping to accomplish with it? No clue (and still clueless). All I knew was that it felt like something I wanted to do all of a sudden. So I went with it.

It was just a glimmer of an idea in my mind one night and for the first year I was really into it. After that I somehow got a bit mystified as to what I wanted from this and so it’s been more or less teetering on obsolescence for years. Like a fading friendship. You want to be friends, you want to see each other more, but somehow you only manage to meet for coffee once or twice a year. Before you know it you talk about the person in the past tense or think “I ought to call them”, but then it’s been so long and feels like it would be awkward. That’s pretty much me and my blog. You guys know… every entry is me coming back saying, “I’m going to blog more in 201x”, and then vanishing again for months.

My stats say it all: in 2013 I published 172 articles. In 2014- 34 (what a drop already!!). In 2015- a wistful 20, and last year a very dismal 15.

Despite my poor publishing history and utter lack of commitment, I’m still glad that I started writing here 4 years ago. Here’s to me for writing on the odd occasion, here’s to you guys for being so wonderful and taking the time to read, here’s to another year with this little blog of mine.

Cheers all around!

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2017 life

Hey guys do any of you remember when I said I was going to blog part 2 about my trip to New Zealand? Yeah, neither do I.

I feel like it’s time for some changes around here. I really miss writing on this blog regularly. I miss reading everyone’s work and everyone’s comments and all that jazz. The truth is I haven’t been writing too much poetry lately, nor reading it. It’s funny because when I moved to Toronto a while back I didn’t think my life would change that much other than I’d just be in a new location. Wow, was I wrong.

New location, new jobs, new living situation, new people, new friends, new hobbies, new weather. All of these things force massive change on you whether you’re noticing or not. Old habits are ripped out from under your feet and replaced with new ones. Moving here was the best decision I ever made but I definitely left a few pieces of myself behind, and they are pieces that I miss. I really want to get back into writing and sharing my poetry this year. I’ve heard a lot of talk from people saying 2016 was a terrible year and they were glad when it was over, but to me 2016 was one of the best. I faced some of the most intense challenges of my life. I grew so much.

I’m starting a new job this year, one much more in line with my authentic self and I’m excited about it. I want to learn more, do more, grow more… make a contribution, you know? 2017 feels like a very important year for some reason. More so than previous years. It’s just a feeling, of course, but I’m rolling with it.

Okay before I get too into 2017 I do want to share one particular 2016 highlight with all of you…

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I went sky diving!! That’s me! 16 500 feet in the air! I never ever in a million years ever thought I’d be brave enough to go skydiving, but look! There. I did it. Like it ain’t no thang.

Hope you’re all well and enjoying 2017 so far! 🙂 Here’s to a great year.

xoxo

 

 

New Zealand part 1

I wish I was the one jumping off this building.

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Tip toeing delicately across the platform, heart pounding in my chest, voice caught like a dead weight in my throat. Inching closer and closer as I peer over the ledge; my sanity begging me to please come to my senses.  I can imagine both the fear and the exhilaration that must come from the fall. I ache for that fleeting sensation of freedom, the bewilderment of falling through the air. I can almost hear the wind whispering the secrets of the universe as I whip by it, though I imagine it’d be hard to decipher under such a circumstance.

“What’s the meaning of life?” I would cry, but I’d have already reached the ground long before I could catch the answer.

Of course I’m not talking about a 911 crisis here. I’m standing at the bottom of the Sky Tower in Auckland. It’s your typical city tower with sweeping panoramic views of a very pretty city, only for some reason someone thought “wouldn’t it be cool if we allowed people to jump off this thing?”

It’s my first day in New Zealand and I’m stood outside my hotel, gaping skyward as person after person plummets a whopping 630 feet from the top of the tower to the landing pad. I’m exhausted from the gruelling flight which stole an entire day of my life (seriously, I left Friday night and arrived Sunday morning) so maybe that’s why I’m tempted by such a crazy prospect. I think I must be losing my mind because I march straight up to the payment desk and ask how quickly they can suit me up. The clerk smiles at me and says I can suit up in 15 minutes… just as soon as I cough up $225.

This is where the story comes to a crushingly dull end. There’s no way I’m paying $225 to fall 630 feet when I can pay $400 to fall 16 500 feet. But that will come later.

It’s been a long planned trip, and for years it seemed like it was so far in the future it was never actually going to happen, but here I am in New Zealand for an entire month of adventure and camping. My father and I cooked up the idea to come here a few years ago. Let’s do it, we said. And miraculously, beautifully, joyfully… here we are. We’ve come with a hefty bucket list, keen hearts, and a sense of discovery. My older brother even decided to join in on the fun, making this the first family vacation since my childhood.

Here are some highlights from the trip so far:

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Coming face to sort-of face with the Moa, New Zealand’s unfortunately extinct flightless bird. The largest of these birds could be 12 ft tall and upwards of 500 lbs, apparently. I also came face to actual-face with a kiwi bird, which I learned are more bird-mammal hybrids. The park I visited finds and raises kiwis from egg to adult in order to increase their survival rate in the wild. The cost of raising just one egg is $3000 US!!.. well worth it, I say. They are unique gems, such a joy to see and enjoy.

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Hiking (oh! pardon me, tramping, as it’s called here…) Maunganui Bluff. The images above are all taken on the same hike. Can you believe how breathtaking this country is? I’m just blown away every time I wake up and admire the scenery around me. Throw a dart randomly on a map of New Zealand, and guaranteed, you’ll find something beautiful.

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Seeing Te Matua Ngahere… the father of the forest. A very old, very large tree. I think there’s some debate about the actual age of this tree, but let’s just assume somewhere in the 1000s. Girth 16 41m!!

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Glow worm cave tour! I actually just finished this up today. Sat in a boat and cruised in the dark through a cave lit by a stunning galaxy of glow worms.

And this isn’t even everything, I had quite the adventure in Hobbiton yesterday, but I think maybe that merits it’s own post. In any case, the further along in the trip we get, the more overwhelmed I become by just how much there is to do and see in this country. It’s hard to imagine spending any less time here. More updates to come! 🙂

Hope you guys are all doing well. If any of you have been to NZ, please drop a comment down below and give me some tips for things to do that you loved! I’d love some insight 🙂

 

Perpetual unemployment

Apparently I have a knack for two things: disappearing and unemployment.

I don’t think either are necessarily bad things. The summer when I was 20 I decided to go live in Japan for three months without telling anyone (except for my parents because I was a courteous daughter and still living with them at the time). I remember the Friday before I left my friend asked me to hang out the week after and I replied with a maybe. Then when he messaged me the next week asking what time I could meet I wrote back “Sorry can’t make it, in Japan.”

I don’t know if I thought I was being exceptionally devious or what, but the funny thing was the next year I did the exact same thing to the same friend when I went to visit Ireland for a month. Whenever we hang out now he always says “see you later, assuming you’re in the country.”

As for the unemployment part… I’m sure some of you recall my constant posts complaining about my job. Well as it turns out last month my mom was going to be travelling to BC for a couple weeks and invited me to go with her. So I requested a week off with the manager..

“Absolutely not,” she said, “in fact I’m giving you far more hours than you even agreed to work that week without asking you because I’m so unreasonable and crazy.”

“No worries,” I replied, “you can put me on the schedule as much as you like, just keep in mind that I won’t be showing up because I’m quitting this dumpy hell hole.”

Then I trashed the place.

Okay, that’s not exactly how it happened. (The more boring version includes me handing in two weeks notice and her spending a full hour trying to convince me to stay.)

Anyway, I was clearing the hundreds of photos I took off my camera just now and thought I might as well share some of them with you guys rather than letting them rot away in hard drive obscurity 🙂

The morning of departure:

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I kid you not I did not place Rupert next to my stuff.. he went and sat there because he knew something was up and he hates to be left behind. Unnecessary worry because he had a reason to come on the trip anyway.

What I really like about driving through this part of Canada at this time of year is you really get a full spectrum of weather.

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Field is an awesome spot to stop to let the dogs out because they have a lovely park to walk through right by the highway. Case in point-

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Pretty, right? Got a pic snapped with the mountain. The snow was pretty deep there.. to give an idea..

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Join me for a snowy picnic, anyone? Of course by the time you get to BC it’s all lush greenery and nice temperatures.

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Hope is absolutely one of my favourite places. Real small town in the middle of the mountains. It’s just gorgeous and has a really unique feel.

Finally made it to our destination (Chilliwack) after splitting the drive into 2 days. Chilliwack is a nice city in the Fraser Valley, it’s also surrounded by mountains, they’re just not as on top of you as they are in Hope. It’s a big farming place:

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Seriously look how green it is! Maybe it’s just cause I live in Calgary where everything is either covered in snow or brown and dead, but I can’t get over it. So nice 🙂 I like this pic because it is Chilliwack to a T. This is just a hobby farm, so this is a picture of someone’s backyard with their cows and their green space… you know how it is.

Speaking of cows

bc10I got to visit a whole bunch of them! I know a lot of people think they’re gross, but I think they’re so cute. This baby cow wagged its tail at me and kept licking my hand, like a puppy. Mad love it.

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You know you’re in farming country when…

One lady commented “surely there are better things to take pictures of” when she saw me snapping this. Umm, no. There really aren’t. I found it pretty amusing that they needed to specify so many different animals.

I entered Rupert into the dog show while we were there, here we are competing against the rest:

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This judge didn’t end up picking Rupert, can you believe that? We both took it pretty hard. So we trashed the place. And then Rupert took a nap.

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Just kidding. Actually one of the judges who had great taste did take a liking to Rupert and awarded him Winners Dog, if that means anything to any of you.

So a week and a half later and it was time to say goodbye to the green stuff.

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We took the Crowsnest Pass home (the longer, more scenic route). Spent the night in wonderful Castlegar (above) and hit up a few touristy spots.

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I can always tell I’m getting closer to home when I see the snow creeping up again.

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And what’s up with this?  For whatever reason the person who designed this map decided to include a single tree on this random stretch of road to account for the massive forest surrounding the highway. Thank you, GPS.

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And the continental divide. Once again inaccessible thanks to the mass accumulation of snow. At least this was taken in April so it’s not totally unreasonable. This was the situation a few days ago:

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Spring in Calgary. Perfect May weather. Why do I live here again?

It was a great and refreshing trip all in all. The only regrettable thing was that once again I failed to see a moose.

Oh, did I mention you are all awesome? Hope you’re having a great day 😉