bright blue hue

Today the sky decided to cooperate for once. Rather than showing us its usual grey and dank disposition it decided to show off with it’s brightest blue. I decided to celebrate the sky with a little walk and thought I’d better take some photos while I was at it.

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Another new year is here and to mark the occasion that is 2018, I decided to pick up a couple of new hobbies. One of those is photography and the other is water colour painting. I’m not sure why I decided on the latter because I have never really had any artistic talent (which has been made evident by my first few attempts), but I figure I don’t have anything to lose and it’s something I’ve often wanted to try, so… why not?

I’ve also toyed with the idea of deleting this blog lately because I neglect it so much. Most often it manifests in my life as a source of confusion and guilt. Guilt because I’ve never been able to find the passion for it that I once had, and confusion because I can’t quite bring myself to get rid of it despite never updating it.

Where do you guys find the motivation to write and share? Is blogging dead? Should we all just start youtube channels? What is life?

Please leave your answers in the comments, especially for that last one because I so often wonder 😉

And oh yes, Happy belated new year wordpress fam ❤

 

 

Let’s go back to Switzerland

Let’s go back to Switzerland

I’ve been home from my grand European adventure for almost a month now. In the last three weeks I’ve started three new jobs, gotten a year older, and donated even more of my apartment to charity (forever en route to minimalism). I’ve slipped gracefully(?) back into Toronto life– aka big-city-life aka sirens-never-stop-life aka never-see-the-stars-life aka it’s-actually-okay-here-life.

I usually find it a little difficult to adjust to my regular world after being away for so long (I was gone for over two months!) but this time it was rather unremarkable. Instead of being all ~woooowww I’m home! How novel~ I was just like –oh yeah. This is Toronto. Okay-

This morning I ran out of soap in the shower and it was time to bust open the last remaining piece of my adventure– a bar soap I purchased in Cologne, Germany. As far as I’m concerned I’m still overseas in my heart so long as the soap remains….

maybe that’s a little out there. But hey! This is my inner dialogue and I can pretend, okay!

Alright… let’s go back to the beginning.

On August 26th I was hastily cramming my new backpack full of what I thought was necessary for two months of life on the road. I went through my mental checklist– clothes, toiletries, tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, collapsible pillow– seemingly I was good. My boyfriend was a lot more confident in our packing abilities than I was, and so he waited patiently for me to say “oh but!” and “wait! what about” at least a few dozen times as we were preparing to leave.

We were subletting the apartment for two months to a couple from the UK who were miraculously a lot like us. The girl was around my age and we connected on some very key points so I felt pretty confident leaving my place in her care. I gave her my key and she said,

Okay, bye! Happy Travels!

Thus I left my home to be someone else’s home for a while, and I sauntered off to the airport weighing much more than I usually do when I leave my front door. As I mentioned a while back, this was to be my first ever proper backpacking trip. I was mostly excited, although somewhat unnerved… I mean, what was waiting for me across the pond? So many doubts running through my head: Can I really make this work for two whole months? What if I run out of money so fast that I can’t afford to eat and I end up sleeping in my backpack on some unknown European street, unable even to ask for help because I can’t speak the local language!? Oh god.

Despite these nagging doubts I actually went into this trip with a healthy attitude– I knew it wasn’t always going to be pleasant or easy (I was right), but I also knew the adventure would teach me so much (also right).

After checking in and with our burdensome backpacks vanquished into the ether it was time to board and get ready for one of the least pleasant parts of traveling… the dreaded flight. We were scheduled to land in Zurich around 8:30 in the morning, which I think is pretty brutal. I’d much rather land just before bedtime so I could sleep and adjust to the time difference. The thought of landing after an exhausting flight and then having to face a brand new day was a bit daunting. But hey, maybe I could sleep on the plane. I once slept through an entire flight (Auckland to Calgary) from beginning to end. Maybe flight miracles can happen twice?

 

Though our faces and hearts were optimistic, it was not to be…

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Somewhere, way up high in the sky, amidst this beautiful and seemingly zen window seat view, I got yelled at by the woman in front of me as I was innocently trying to sleep.

I think most people can agree how agonising it is to sleep on planes. No matter what you do there is absolutely no way to get a good night’s sleep or even moderately enjoy yourself. *inhale* You flip through inane magazines, watch movies you don’t really care to watch, half-heartedly read a book, or play chess with the computer and when all of that inevitably fails to entertain you, you toss and turn and pray to the universe that you might get just a small sliver of shut-eye, even though body part after body part is falling torturously to sleep and everything you ever learned about your breath and meditation is coming up short until there you are – somewhere in the sky in no man’s land – questioning your entire life and wondering how you ever found yourself on this god forsaken plane in the first place. *exhale*

Or at least that’s how it is for me.

So back to this woman… at some point during all of this turmoil I suppose I accidentally bumped her chair as I was shifting between uncomfortable positions, and where most people would feel a slight sting of annoyance and shrug it off, she decided to turn around over top of her chair to aggressively poke me and wake me up.

“You kicked my chair,” she just about yelled.

It was apparent that I had ruined her holiday before she even landed at her destination.

I was a bit dazed, but I immediately apologised and told her it wasn’t on purpose. I think most everyone in the world would understand, but no…

You’re making it so I can’t sleep!!” she exclaimed, and then she just stood there looming over me with hatred in her frazzled looking eyes, waiting for a more satisfying response.

So I said, “Yes, well I can’t either because there’s a crazy woman yelling at me…”

….

..

.

Okay I didn’t really say that. I took the boring road and just said I would be more mindful which I guess she accepted because she finally turned around and slumped angrily back down into her chair. But jeez it was a really awkward situation. I mean if I kick your chair, and you yell at me, and I earnestly apologise, then… what more do you want from me? Should I sing you a lullaby? Guide you into savasana? Prostrate myself at your feet? What?

Anyways there wasn’t much getting back to sleep after that, but it didn’t matter. The hours went by and we would be touching down soon enough. Switzerland was finally in sight through the plane window, and that little magical feeling was beginning to set in.

It was happening.

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There’s not much to say about that first day, it was all a bit of a haze. One thing I can say with confidence is that I took the world’s best nap which more than made up for the grind of the flight. We were lucky enough to stay at a friend’s apartment who was out of town, so we had a cozy bed, a kitchen, and a base to make the most of the first day– which was mostly wandering as you might expect.

Zurich is a lovely city with some really nice architecture and even nicer canals. Also, the day had literally PERFECT weather. Clear skies and bright sun. It was so hot and I was so glad I decided to pack shorts, although it turned out to be one of only three or so days where shorts were acceptable attire, and the rest of the time they just took up space. Another thing we learned that day which we had to relearn every week thereafter– grocery stores in Switzerland are closed on Sundays, and many restaurants as well. Just doesn’t happen where I’m from.

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When we finally felt tired from our long day, we decided to hang out with some ducks and get our feet wet in the water…

Well that pretty much sums up day one.. so that’s one down and another sixty or so to write about.

Have a great weekend everyone! xo

there and back again

there and back again

Hello friends!

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Maybe some of you thought I died on my travels, or maybe you thought I’d given up on blogging… more than likely no one has thought of it at all! But I’m here, I’m back! I didn’t die– although I came close a couple times. When I say I came close I mean in the most hyperbolic way possible, of course. Although you might think you were close to death as well if you wandered through a forest in Denmark and ran into this:

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It was the first of a few menacing mannequins/possibly demons(?) that made me think I was in the middle of a horror movie…

but then nothing happened. Still, what an adventure two months in Europe was! I think I took more than 2000 photos. So many things happened, I met so many people and I learned so much. I can’t wait to share the adventure with you all.  I’ve been readjusting to regular life in Toronto for the last two weeks and though I’ve been keen to start writing, I’ve also been busy trying to get some new projects off the ground here.

Now the most important question: how are you guys doing? Tell me things! Write me an email! Post a picture! Link me to your blog! I want to catch up 🙂

xo

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

View from the inside

There’s a kind of stark
bewilderment here,
a deer caught in headlights
kind of a vibe.

I wonder if you feel it
like I feel it.

I can sit for hours
waiting impatiently for
the space between thoughts
to collect into a sort of
zen.

That crystal clear sky,
that endless blue
without fail,
becomes thunder.

Every time I close my eyes.

Conversations with strangers: Adam

You know when you have an experience and it feels somehow like the universe conspired to put you in that specific place at that specific time? That’s happened to me often in life. Maybe it’s just because I like the idea that somehow and for some reason the universe is attempting to show me some sort of direction. Maybe it’s because there have been times where I’ve felt so lost that the second anything aligns in any sort of interesting way I’m ready to pounce like a starving cat about to sink its teeth into its prey. Or I’m just a bit of a hippy. Who knows.

I often find myself having some very interesting conversations with strangers. Sometimes inspiring, sometimes a little strange, sometimes funny. Last week I had one of the more impactful of these conversations.

I was out and about on my bike in the downtown core, casually pedalling my way through the usual hustle and bustle of Toronto: the impatient cars attempting to run me off the road, the incessant construction, the death-defying pigeons. I arrived at my destination just in time to witness the fpotd, or freakout-person-of-the-day. I may have just made that up. But I usually see at least one person having a bit of a freak out on the daily around here. I mean there are a lot of us crammed into Toronto’s downtown core so it’s only natural that at least one of us is going to snap…

This time he was a man in his late 30s, yelling brusquely about how much everyone sucks and challenging every man walking by him to a fight. Quite aggressively, too. He was getting right up in their faces demanding a punch. The hobble in his step gave away his drunkenness if the slurred yelling hadn’t already. He was quite close to me as I was locking up my bike and it was then that our eyes met for the first time. I knew in that moment that he and I were going to have an interaction. I could feel it. I stood there with some mild nerves, trivially attempting to avert my gaze from all the ruckus he was causing. I watched him try once more to provoke a fight from a passerby, and when that failed he staggered his way over to me, looking me in the eyes, and yelling:

What’s the point? What’s the point?” 

I just stood dumbly at my bike as he came closer to me…

Why am I waking up every morning?

I could have wrapped my arms around him our proximity was so uncomfortably close. With our eyes locked intimately he admitted, almost at a whisper,

“I don’t want to wake up anymore.”

My heart pounded in my chest as we stood there together with that knowledge. It was just raw, honest, and painful. The way he said it was so matter-of-fact it broke my heart. And this from stranger whose name I didn’t even know.

What do I do? How can I help? I’m not qualified to deal with this raving man on the street and my own life is out-of-sorts at the best of times. I don’t have anything to offer him. 

Such were my thoughts as I stood there. But for some odd reason I felt like I had been given this great responsibility from the universe to offer something to this man, however small or feeble or unhelpful it may appear to be. So instead of shying away from him, I started talking to him. I asked him for his name.

Adam.

Adam and I ended up spending the afternoon together in the park. We talked about life, people, ambitions, and the “point”. Here are a few things I learned about Adam in our afternoon together.

He’s homeless.
He’s spent most of the last 7 years living as a hermit trying to deal with a kind of PTSD I never found out about.
He loves dogs.
He has a mother nearby who he loves, but doesn’t see much. And he credits her for his plugging along this far in life.
He hates materialism, but he has a thing for motorcycles.
He’s very articulate.
He finds the park very peaceful and likes to spend his afternoons under the trees.
He’s given up on people and tends to dwell on the bad nature of others.
He’s possibly dealing with some mental health issues.
He’s a bit of an alcoholic.
He has very beautiful eyes and wild curly hair.
Most importantly, he has the capacity to be very kind, generous, and outgoing.

He’s a real person with a complicated backstory. Along for this ride with the rest of us.

As we walked around together we got quite a few dubious looks from strangers. Adam was pretty drunk if you recall and so good at drawing attention to us, but it didn’t bother me. I tried to get to the bottom of why he was picking fights with people on the street. Apparently dealing with physical pain is a good distraction from dealing with mental pain, hence the provocations. He wanted bruises. He invited physical pain. I guess I can understand the immediate logic in that. It’s somehow simpler, isn’t it? Our minds are a difficult thing to master or even understand minutely. But even acknowledging that I still had to argue how unfair it was to the poor random people he was challenging. Nobody wants to be provoked into a fight on a sunny afternoon, or even a rainy afternoon for that matter. I just told him what he already knew, that it wouldn’t solve anything going on inside him, and that he’d have to make up his mind to deal with it another way.

But mostly, I just listened. I listened to whatever he wanted to tell me and offered whatever I could. I opened up to him about some of my own struggles which I thought he might relate to. It was a very mutual exchange. We were just two humans in a park talking about life.

For a man who had admittedly “given up on people”, he was certainly very kind to me. Which, to my mind, just shows he needs a helping hand to remind him that he can still become the best version of himself. Maybe with a little encouragement from a stranger. A little acknowledgement. A smile. Eye contact. An ear or two to hear what he has to say and take it seriously. Did I really help him? I don’t know. But I think he was grateful for the interaction just as I was.

I can’t imagine what it’s like to be homeless, it makes me sad to see so many people struggling without a roof over their head on the daily. It’s a bit hard to admit, but when I was younger I used to walk by homeless people and pretend not to see them. You always hear how giving money doesn’t help them/increases the problem/whatever. But whatever the truth is to that doesn’t excuse the purposeful act of looking away from another person who is reaching out for help. A smile, or a brief glance, or a hello… these things can go a long way. People feel invisible because others treat them so.

Let’s always treat each other kindly, please.

Just rambling… thanks for reading.

xo

 

A life not to be

A little heartbreak this morning.

There was a slight chill, fog hanging in the air, and some rain drizzling down as I left my apartment to dawdle my way over to the local coffee shop for a latte. One minute after leaving my apartment I stumbled upon this precious baby bird….

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The poor little thing was lying in the middle of the sidewalk belly up. The rain was coming down on him, the cold surrounding him. It was a strange place to find him, there weren’t many trees in the area and I saw no sign of a nest. You would think his nest was blown over by a strong gust of wind, and maybe it was, but I didn’t find any evidence of that. It’s a mystery how he ended up there. He must’ve just hatched.

On the grass to the side I saw another baby bird just like him, but he was already dead. This little one, however, had some life in him. His beak was opening and closing as if waiting for his mother to give him some food. It was so heart wrenching to see him lying there, so helpless. I didn’t really know what to do. I very carefully scooped him up into the palm of my hand. He was so delicate and tiny and precious. The thought of leaving him there was completely impossible. It seemed unlikely that any mother bird was coming back, and his situation was desperate. I called my boyfriend and asked him to start googling what to do in this kind of situation and made my way back to the apartment with this tiny life in the palm of my hand.

And that’s where he took his last breath. By the time I got back to the apartment, all his movement had ceased and he was just a little body that couldn’t hold onto life anymore. For whatever reason, his life was not meant to be. He was created, he developed into that tiny bird within his egg, only to hatch and end up belly up on the sidewalk in the cold rain. He should have hatched into a cozy nest with his mama at the ready and with his brothers and sisters around keeping each other warm. He should have been able to open his eyes and discover his surroundings. To grow his feathers, to fly, to live the life he was given… so awful to see that torn away from something so young and new.

We ended up burying him in a garden outside the building along with his brother.

It was very sad.

I’m so sorry your life was cut short, little bird. I’m sorry that I found you too late to help you. I’m glad I could be there to hold you for your last few breaths, though. I’m glad that you didn’t die cold and forgotten on the sidewalk.  I hope you had a little comfort in the palm of my hand. Your life was short, but someone cared about you and loved you for the little while you were here.

RIP, little bird.