Sunday, January 19, 2014

Toronto to Vancouver on the Train

I didn't realize what I was getting myself into when I booked my train ticket from Toronto to Vancouver. It was a spur of the moment decision to take the train and was largely due to me being able to take my bicycle along for relatively cheap ($28 CDN). At this point I've decided to rephrase the saying, "follow your heart" to "follow your bicycle" because I had a glorious experience. I am still in recovery as far as I am deeply missing the people that I met on the journey that we shared. Which is what it becomes when you travel a long distance at a slow pace, whichever method you choose: bus, bicycle, motorcycle, train… It becomes a journey and it teaches you to slow down and take in each moment. There is no rush, no way to hurry it along, all you can do is sit back and find ways to enjoy yourself and that is exactly what we did.
Within 24 hours of getting on the train, just about everyone that decided to hang out in the observation car had a nickname. Mine was yogi, as I would get up periodically and find interesting ways to use the small space we were in to arrange my body into new and creative yoga positions. I don't understand why everyone doesn't do this! I must be in the least pain of anyone I know, or maybe I just have more tension in my body because I force myself to sleep on a train in economy for 4 nights…go figure. I believe I slept on a different surface every night due to the fluctuation of people getting on and off and different seats becoming available to "stretch" out on. Some other nicknames that we all came up with were Dimples, Head, Frodo, Chewy (aka Chewbacca), Harry Shu, Harley and Mom.
I felt like a kid at summer camp all over again. Instant friends, instant camaraderie, we were in it for the long haul and we had a lot of time on our hands. Dimples had a couple of instruments and as always I brought along my trusty ukulele, so there were many a jam sessions and constant live or digital music, beautiful scenery, laughter, games, life stories, breakfast in Winnipeg, a brisk walk around Jasper, we all got into a bit of trouble at one point. I don't even know what we did but the days passed quickly and before I knew it we were pulling in to Vancouver and saying goodbye.
It was a pleasant surprise to have so much fun and I miss it. I miss the people and I miss the feeling of not having to do anything, no expectation, no where to go, being forced to relax. A great way to travel, 10 stars.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Toronto to Montreal- train of thought

I arrived in Montreal after a week in Toronto last evening. I am currently at the apartment that I lived in 2007. The funniest thing happened just now when I was signing in to my email I typed my old password from that time without even thinking. It triggers certain memories to be here, while I create new ones as well. I was pleasant to sleep in a bed for a change, so much room. Travelling makes you appreciate the little things: a few home cooked vegetables, being warm, and sleep. Friends have been unexpectedly kind to me and other's unexpectedly unavailable. But I don't get caught up in one moment for too long and I breathe and try to let go of my expectations, allowing myself to appreciate what everyone is able to give. Each moment can become very important because it is the last for a while, perhaps forever, but a moment cannot be created or forced into an important message or package to make "your life better". It's to do a lot with presentation. My mother always told me that I should think about my presentation when I wanted something from my father. I never liked that she said this, it seemed like a game I didn't want to play. But I was afraid of my father at the time, so a positive and enthusiastic presentation was more difficult to inspire. I have had a few conversations with different women friends as of late and come to the realization that few of them have very comfortable relationships with their fathers. Is this the majority, or do we all hang out together because it unites us? Why would this be?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

It's been awhile...

Life went on and time passed quickly as it does when you're reflecting. I had a couple of friends recently discover this blog because I started a new blog and I got to thinking that I'd like to do an 'in a nutshell' account of the past couple of years before I forget it :)
SO after Australia, I came back to Kauai, Oahu and the Big Island to catch up with my family for a month and a half and play tourist with my then boyfriend, Tom, and his parents who decided to come for a visit. I got to see parts of Hawai'i that I'd never been to before, it was excellent. I feel like the longer time goes on and the more I come back to visit my perspective of Hawai'i broadens. Each island is pretty unique and has it's own beauty and ugly.
Then I went to live in Victoria, BC for 9 months. By chance, I arrived the day after my grandfather passed away. So I hung with gram and helped make arrangements for the cremation and dealt with the various phone calls and paperwork that come along with death. Boy it is a job! I'm not sure how some people manage it if they don't have other's to help out. 
I got a job after some frantic searching and began apprenticing at a small organic farm that was part of Saanich Organics. It was wonderful and through my boss I learned not only the art of food production, but about food politics as well. Unfortunately I hurt my back either from my 1 hour and a half bike ride to and fro from work (on what I now know was not really the ideal bike for the trip) or the farming, or a combo of the 2. Sooo, I got a job working at the Salvation Army Thrift Store where I somehow got a terrible rash all over my hands and had to take a couple weeks off and wear gloves after that. I think I'm allergic to some detergents. 
It wasn't the easiest time, but I forged a few relationships that continue today and I make a point not to have regrets. So that was Victoria.
I eventually left because my aunt and uncle invited me to stay with them in Calgary until I sorted out what I wanted to do next in my life. Working at the thrift store wasn't really inspiring me and the management was a bit all over the place and didn't make for the most cohesive work environment. So off to Calgary I went. 
Once I got there I joined in the daily dog walking routine and we came across a cafe that I decided I wanted to work at, Vendome Cafe in Sunnyside, so I got a job there. It's funny how things work out sometimes. It quickly turned into the usual bump and grind of the hospitality industry, which is probably best because I was trying to figure out what I needed to do next so it's motivating to be tired of your job.
I decided that I wanted to become a midwife. I researched all the programs available in Canada and choose to apply to Ryerson University in Toronto. Due to the high volume of applicants and the very low volume of intakes each year (32), my chances were low, but I wrote my letter of intent and made arrangements to move to Toronto.
I spend Christmas in Oregon with my brother, who had recently moved to Portland. While I was there, I saw two of my bestest ever friends from when I was growing up here on Kauai. It was chance that they were both there. I got a chance to meet my brother's girlfriend's family and had a beautiful Oregonian Christmas.
Then I moved to Toronto. It was great because I already had a few friends from when I lived in Montreal. And I rediscovered the glorious machine....The Bicycle. Due to having a lot of time on my hands I ended up spending a lot of time at the DIY bike shop around the corner from my new place, Bike Pirates. Not only did I build my very own bicycle which was one of the top 10 experiences of my life, but I found community which allowed me to stay in Toronto for a whopping 6 and a half months. After I build my beautiful bike, Esmerelda, I found a job and joined the world of bike couriering. Say that 3 times fast :) It was a wonderful experience. It was a crazy job in retrospect. Very dangerous and thrilling at times, slow and boring at others when we were sitting around waiting for calls. Once I made friends and wasn't the 'new girl' anymore, at least I had people to wait for calls with. 
Toronto was great, it reconnected me and deepened my relationships with old friends, made me new friends, I got to live in a tent for a bit, it is a place that I will return to with pleasure. 
In a whirlwind of decision making and 2 weeks getting lost around Montreal, I ended up back on Kauai where I am now. 
Back to bicycles. I am now apprenticing as a bike mechanic, again with the flukes of life, learning to talk politics, and reconnecting with my family. I can't complain, my life is...pretty...sweet.
Since being back, I've had 2 canadian visitors that have allowed me to truly see and appreciate the beauty of this rock. I am saving up for my next adventure that will begin this coming January...Europe, Africa, Canada of course.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Another room, another bed...

..Another city. I've slept on at least 50 different surfaces in the past year give or take. I am no longer travelling. I am a gypsy. I carry my life possessions on my back, when I leave them on the ground because they are too heavy to take to the bathroom with me, I realize that I don't care about them anyway so someone could take them, and I would be that much lighter for the next leg of my journey. I've found that I have a fondness for blankets or anything blanket like, my winter coat is quite like a blanket itself. Things that are multi-purpose are absolutely a blessing. I can see elements of Thai massage popping up in my life, although I did have a difficult time in Thailand emotionally, that experience is really paying off.

Things happen, at times they're really hard. Sometimes I've felt the most angry, scared, furious, humiliated, lonely, flipping high on life. All when I'm travelling. I'm addicted. It makes me feel ALIVE. I just want to transmit this feeling through my words, through my music, through my eyes. And I can. And I do. I have these insane, intense, overwhelming, beautiful connections with people that are from different places, live in a variety of locations. I miss them, but I appreciate their visit in my world, their gorgeous spirit that played with, danced with, dreamed with mine, Not sex. Beautiful, passionate, intense, melding of spirits to create a baby of pure joy.

Right now I'm high, but days ago I was so low. Are these back and forth, ping ponging of emotions worth the effort? Would it be better to feeling somewhat closer to mellow all the time? It is an unanswerable question for me, I am torn between belly laughter and crushing merry go rounds of thought complete with the terrible music playing on repeat. Belly laughter. So hard that it hurts, you feel pain in your 'opu, you can't breathe, it even goes against your parasympathetic nervous system (unconscious bodily responses). It feels SO dang good. Even when I had stitches in my stomach from appendicitis, I remember laughing, oh did it hurt, but oh did I need to do it. Much thanks to Whitney French and Vanessa Delsooz for coming to my rescue in that hospital. Oh 17, how old I thought I was.

But am I so different now? I sometimes have epiphanies that I am still me. All the changes I have gone through, lifestyle, food I eat, where I live, what I'm doing, things I have learned. I am still essentially and totally myself. I just met someone I met when I was grade 6, I haven't seen them for years. And today we had a cup of tea like no time had passed. There is an essential 'something' that connects us to each other and that stays inside us for a long, long time. What is it?

I love so hard, so deeply my friends. The people that have been in my life an extended period of time. Also that I connected so deeply with. Connected. What is it? What does it mean? How does it happen? Why this person or not that one? Is it similarity, a fascination with difference, right place right time a random meeting in the world of possibility. I almost said universe, but sometimes I like to remember the sheer size of the universe. The fact that as a human being I CAN'T even comprehend it. HA. The smallness of our planet, our solar system, OUR galaxy. 

I saw one of the most amazing things when I was in Australia. I watched footage from the Hubble telescope in the largest Imax theatre in the world. It was so emotional. I was so surprised by my reaction. I would have never thought that I would have an 'emotional' reaction to such a thing. But it was so beautiful. They even showed the islands of Hawai'i from space, it was lovely. Just gorgeous. 

We'll, that was my rant for the evening. Thanks for listening.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Wandering spirits unite

I am a wanderer of the world. Thus the title vagabond. Even within one place, I seek adventure and the unknown. I seek others' perspectives and new tastes and sounds. I've been called indecisive, irresponsible, but I think I'm just curious. What is the difference between the east and the west of Canada? The difference between the US and Canada? The difference between Hawai'i and the US? There is no true answer from a personal perspective. Mine and others' experience of these places is difference. On paper you can compare stats and government practices, and weather. But while these factors play a part in one's experience of a place, they are far from the only factor.
For me it is often the people I meet, or don't meet, and connect with. I can deal with snow, rain, humidity, being arrested for in downtown Toronto, waiting for hours in a ER, but if there's no one to go tobogganing with or bring me a snack in the waiting room, or dance in the rain with, then life is a lot harder. And I don't mean a romantic partner, just another soul floating around in the universe to have good conversations with, to make fudge with, to give you a hug.
People that live in one place and never leave seem to get so caught up in their lives that they have a hard time including newcomers. I wouldn't have survive so long as a wanderer, without all the other wanderers that have shared many beautiful moments with me.
So this post is to them, thank you for sharing your beautiful spirits with me out there is the big bad world.


Friday, October 5, 2012

Romance's ugly hold: a second eradication

I'm sure that romance can be a beautiful thing, but so far in my life romantic endeavours have been far from the picture perfect image that I have strived for since crying my eyes out as a 12 year old wondering why I did not yet have a boyfriend. I have had many positive experiences in romantic relationships, but romance's ugly head always seems to rear at some point. Why aren't things working out like I thought they would? Why am I not always the center of attention? Why isn't sex always perfect, with beautifully timed placement of hands and mouths and kisses that make you forget your name? Why aren't you perfect????!

What a high expectation to place upon someone, I've finally realized. A standard that can never be met. A giving up of oneself completely to another's wants and whims. It's quite unrealistic and realizing that has been part of growing out my ego-centered life of being a child. The number of times I've accepted a partner into my life and then belittled them for not being some impossible imaginary thing is quite sad. I can see this theme in my own life, as I tend to do it with myself. Have impossibly high expectations and then not meeting them and then belittling myself for being 'not good enough' or 'stupid' or 'lazy'. Sometime I confuse these feelings of not meeting my high expectations of myself as not doing the right thing and become quite susceptible to others' suggestions. Maybe I'm applying for jobs wrong or the wrong jobs, or doing the wrong hobbies, or eating the wrong food. But as I've strayed down to road of engaging in everyone else's advice, I've found myself as lost as before.

In the end I have the theory that I am doing it all quite right and quite well, as I am not 'lazy' or 'stupid' and I am plenty good enough. I am doing my best and I need to start given myself credit for doing so. I'm doing what I want to do, that's pretty awesome. I respect people that do what they want to do and then find the satisfaction and happiness in that. So I'm halfway there. I just need to start realizing that I am doing what I want to do, instead of constantly striving for it. Some might ask what I am doing. Well we'll save that for another post.

The point is, once I start accepting myself and my actions and my motivations, then I can engage in dialogue where I'm not afraid of being controlled by others. Because at the moment I'm afraid of suggestions because they make me feel lost because I'm not feeling very confident about myself. But I am confident about myself I'm realizing through this post.

It's all a mindset anyways.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

I have found myself as part of a community who's values lie beyond monetary, who strive more to live for the pursuit of satisfaction then for the pursuit of comfort (satisfaction being comfortable). Wherever I have spent an extended period of time, I have ended up a part of this community as if by some sort of fate. There is one attitude that I have encountered and acquired along the way that I don't quite feel comfortable with, that of being 'guilty until proven innocent'.

People wonder how I meet my basic needs without working for more than minimum wage and sometimes having long periods of time where I don't work, where I might be traveling or learning in other unconventional ways, WWOOFing for example. I have occasionally been accused of taking advantage of others and being 'lazy'. I have encountered the attitude that I am taking advantage until I prove my worth through some sort of series of invisible tests that I must pass.

When this attitude comes to pass I feel like I will never be able to prove myself, perhaps because I can't. If someone is suspicious of me, then they will be keeping their eye out for things that could be interpreted as devious or untrustworthy instead of noticing the ways in which I am a good person. And also, If I'm feeling guilty I will be feeding this idea of distrust by acting as if I need to prove something and seeming guilty because I allowed myself to buy into that feeling.

The first and foremost way that I am able to meet my needs with what is deemed "little" money, is to reevaluate the definition of 'need'. Need to me has changed from what need was growing up. My needs bend and mesh and flex to what resources are nearby. What is available? The second is to reevaluate money. Not everything can be bought and not everything needs to be bought. What other resources do I have to offer?

I have found a variety of ways around using money, and I'm not talking about stealing, I'm talking about free piles, dumpster diving, exchanges, seeking out free activities and workshops, riding a bicycle and learning how it works, and living with people who have similar ways of life. Is this taking advantage? Who would I be taking advantage of? It's far from lazy. It takes just as much work to avoid using money as it does to earn money so you can buy convenience, as far as I can tell. It's just a different kind of work.

I'm not sure where 'guilty until proven innocent' came from, but I'm working towards eradicating it from my life.