On not climbing Mt Everest

I decided that if I’m going to spend anytime online, I may as well try to focus some attention on this blog and writing rather than watching youtube and wasting time. I haven’t touched this blog for a long while, but I don’t care. I’ve had no reason not to write. There’s no reason to write and no reason not to write. So what to do?

Today I was walking my dog and started to have a small panic attack because I could not handle the cold wind and snow blowing in my face anymore. For some reason this winter has seemed extraordinarily long and it’s really getting to me. Everything has been covered in ice for so long I actually can’t stand it. I wish I had a dog who hated the cold and who just wanted to go out, do his business, and get back in as soon as possible. But no. I have a tiny dog who loves snow and who will still demand an hour walk even when the temperature outside is mimicking that of the death zone on Mount Everest. Speaking of Mt. Everest. I recently became pretty infatuated with the idea of climbing it. (Did you know that there’s a sherpa (Kami Rita) who has summited Everest 22 times?) I was reading about what goes on up there and it all sounds really awful and yet, kind of enticing. Then I go outside for 30 minutes when it’s winter and snowing and I remember how much I hate being cold and snap myself back to reality. I’ll just say it in writing so I can get over it… I’ll never climb Mount Everest. If I tried I honestly believe I would die 100% for sure.

Here’s the view from my apartment balcony

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Doesn’t it look dismal?

Anyways so that’s an update on me. It’s cold here and I haven’t climbed Mt. Everest.

What’s new with you?

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 ❤

 

 

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

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

 

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?

 

 

The road taken – surprise week in Mexico

The road taken – surprise week in Mexico

I was woken up by a text message from my best friend in Calgary a couple weeks ago. I was a bit dazed from a rough sleep and it was still early morning, my body was protesting heavily as I rolled over and squinted at the blazing light of my phone screen to read her message:

“I’m planning to get away next week, do you want to come to Mexico?” it said.

Yeah right, I thought. Wouldn’t that be nice?  I responded very bluntly and swiftly: I can’t, sorry.

Because I couldn’t, you know? I have work, life in Toronto… it’s obviously too last minute… all that jazz. Plus, I’m sure she’s not serious. We’ve talked about running away for a trip together for ages but we’ve never made it happen so surely it wasn’t about to happen this time. I put the thought out of my mind and went about my day.

Later I was in my car and was overtaken by a dawning epiphany. Actually, I CAN go to Mexico next week. Why not? You only live once, Heather, so go to Mexico with your best friend! You’ve never been, and the two of you haven’t travelled together since you were children.

I messaged her at the next available opportunity my new realisation. Let’s make it happen. Now is the time for our beach holiday.

I said to her I’d go wherever she thought was nice. Bless her, she took care of EVERYTHING- coordinated our flights so that we’d land around the same time, booked our room, did all of the grunt work with our travel agent. All I had to do was wire her my share of the money when all was said and done and be on the plane when it took off. I can’t love my bestie enough.

I’ve decided I love spontaneous travel, I wish it could happen way more often. This is certainly the most last minute trip I have ever taken. Instead of spending last week bundled up in grey, cold Toronto, I was in a bikini admiring sunsets by the ocean in Puerto Vallarta…

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I think I made the right choice. Sand between my toes, spanish on my tongue, my best friend who I never get to see at my side, a drink in my hand… life is full of beautiful surprises. I love each year more and more.

Do any of you guys have spontaneous travel/roadtrip stories? Share them in the comment section!

 

 

I wrote this for The Daily Prompt, check it out if you’re interested in submitting your own.

PS you can see more photos of my trip on my instagram!