I’m writing this from the passenger car of a VIA Rail train. I’ve been riding so far for 17 hours, with another 16 to go, putting me around the Pyramid Falls area of British Columbia.
I just finished spending a week in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and I have to say it was one of the most positive experiences that I’ve had in years. It’s weird, I once lived in the centre of Canada for nearly 7 years, and missed out on so many little nuances, attractions and cubby holes that it had to offer. Caught up in my own business at time, I exerted my energies to dealng with things that mattered at the time, work which was always forefront, committments such as home renovations, or becoming googley-eyed at the local pub. This time was different – as a free agent.
I took the long route to get to Winnipeg with a friend who was buying my car. We stopped and visited friends and family in Kelowna before ending our night in Rossland, BC. Short visits were had, but future plans were forged and set into motion and we spend the next day taking the road less travelled into Alberta by means of Highway # taking us through Trail, Fernie, and Cranbrook instead of the usual Trans-Canada highway, which has a serious beauty to it, but has been driven by me countless times and I was seeking adventure. We managed to stop and grab some photos in Brocket, AB – however we didn’t see any radio station towers in the slightest, the poor town had evidence that it was once large and supprting of a large community, but now looked run down, with faded signs, abandoned houses, and poor roads. By the end of this day, we made it into Morse, Saskatchewan, but not without the engine light turning on, the car running dangerously low on gas, and having to suck it up and buy an overpriced motel room – which actually looking back now wasn’t so bad in the slightest with clean sheets, a new tv, hot water, and no bugs!
The final day was the day that the weather shifted, putting a cloud cover on us early in the morning that remained up until my second to last day in Winnipeg. After a brief stop to get insurance and registration transferred over in Brandon, we made it into Winnipeg at 7:30pm, and promptly relaxed (and slept deeply).
I spent my time catching up with friends who I haven’t seen in a while, and some who I always made plans to get together with and never had the chance due to my frantic schedule that was in place when I would come and visit previously – It’s difficult to make time for people when you are working the 14 hour+ shifts. I consistently remember over the past 3 years of being in the city on business being quite upset, angry and wanting to leave immediately – but this time I felt nothing of the sorts. I relate it to the way I felt when I went and visited Las Vegas, Nevada for a friends stag in 2005. I ran screaming from the area in 1999, vowing never go to back after living in “the most soulless city in the world” for some time. That time I had a great time, where as before I was miserable. Out of those two, the commonality is that I required to put my 100% into work, putting a chip on my shoulder, bittering my views of the surrounding areas, and becoming stressed out – leading to the scrambling to find coping mechanisms.
It’s becoming apparent I’ve been selling myself short for more than just a few years now, dedicating delicate energy stores into inanimate tasks, and projects that would have gotten completed in the same way, whether they were done in 1 day or 3 days, yet my sense of urgency blared in my head forcing me to complete tasks sooner than later, only to have the next one come right after, without adequate rest. People have been telling me this for years – friends, lovers, family members; and whilst I claimed to understand, I’m only now starting to see it from another viewpoint now. It was killing me, my creativity and making me miserable.
The need to spend the money that I earned on hobbies, toys, and gadgets only satisfied me for such a short time, as they were only meant for short periods of time. My priorities were out of wack – Heck, I’ve been doing a radio show for many years, and I even gave that up for the mystique and desire to see my workplace flourish, only to have them turn around, shake their pot of gold, and run off laughing all the way to the bank. What the fuck was I doing?
Even better: how do I make sure I don’t put myself in this situation in the future.
I cancelled my flights twice I was having such a great time in Winnipeg – I planned ahead a few weeks before my return date, not following my intuition and acting orderly and in charge by creating a stringent itinerary. I lost my flight cost because of it, however the additional time spent used was worth the loss. Craving additional adventure, I took the time to travel around the city I once called home, and let it guide me in a maze around its offerings, leading me to Monasteries, Obscure and weird Sculptures, Historical Temples with cryptic markings scattered abound causing conspiracy theorists to yell loudly, and touring the underground and overground of the city in old buildings and their lost and forgotten infrastructure.
Taking the time for myself turned out to be one of the best decisions I`ve made in a while, which circles me right back to why I`m on this train. Sure its doesn`t have a bed, but they do give you a blanket and a pillow – It has an AC power adapter and I`ve got a cellular phone with a data plan that I can use to upload and download the projects that I am working on – finally completing them because I`m able to sit still for periods of time and focus on them.
I am sensing massive change in the next few weeks – but I can`t seem to put my finger on it. I`ve been able to kick my sleeping issues in the past few weeks – finally eliminating the daily requirement of eating of sleeping pills to shut me down for nearly that has been plaguing me for 2 years, instead practicing techniques of flushing my mind of non-essential thoughts in the evenings before hitting the mattress and I am continuing to exercise a moderation of my moderation – something I attempted in February of 2009, yet quickly shuffled it aside for an all powerful lust. Something that has come out of this which is quite odd, is that I am smoking again – Over the course of the past few weeks I have smoked a few packs of clove cigarettes – each time satisfying a requirement to let out some steam, while also having my subconcious berate me for poisoning myself. If its not one thing, its the other so an obvious cautiousness is surrounding me at this moment in these unknown upcoming weeks.
I have nothing – the car was the final possession to sell. I do have a box of books, a laptop, and a small amount of kitchen supplies packed away at someone`s house. I don`t even have a place to live right now – I`ve since vacated the safe haven in the West End of vancouver for some unknown reason, not wanting to become complacent and lazy when I return. I`m in full reset mode and I need to reinforce my internal ideals, switch on my survival mechanisms and let my mind guide me. This means I may strain some relationships by asking to sleep on friends and family members couches – or it may mean I end up on the side of the river with my camping gear, living cheaply – figuring out what the next step is… I just finished writing my will, if that says anything regarding the adventure that this could become.
So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, confiormity, and conservatism, all of which appear to give one peace of mind but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future.
The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon for each day to have a new and different sun.
All of this sounds a bit insane, but in reality, it doesn`t. I spent a good chunk of 7 hours yesterday reading `Into the Wild` by John Krakauer cover to cover, which talked about a young man named Christopher Mccandless who, raised bvy intelligent, smart parents, went against the grain of society, found the doorways regularly closed and off limits to most in society and travelled around thd continent of North America, searching for solutions that had been bothering him all his life. While reading this I found many similarities to this young mans story, reasonings as to why he gave away $25,000 of his savings, and his possessions, and went on a vision quest hopping trains, hitchhiking, and roaming solo, before heading on as what he exclaimed the `Ultimate Adventure` into the Alaskan Wildlands, dying less than 3 months after from starvation. The book also discussed the some of the quests that other people with independent minds had taken, in an attempt to resolve thoughts, or succeed at personal goals, sometimes foolishly, the others well thought out over the course of a year of constant planning. I saw the movie adaptation of the story a few months back but found much more solace in the writings – and plan on passing this around to some people close to me in my life, as it may unlock some answers they may have had for a while.
Travelling at 120kméh through tall timbers, snow dusted mountainscapes, rolling prairies has given me alot to think about, and alot to be thankful for. I`ve lived by 7 mantras for quite some time and I beleive that I need to focus on those a bit further, rather than explaining them to other people, as I seem to have lost sight of a few of them. I still however need to close up a few loose ends, specifically on principle alone. One thing for damn sure, I`m not going to run away from my issues like many find it is so easy to do when the going gets tough and I won`t let myself waste my time away with a crutch or soulsucker, feeding off of my energies to satisy their own existence. I guess out of all of this – the whole point of the post is that I`m ceasing giving so much effort to others, and instead, at risk of being shunned, told that I am selfish, or lambasted, I`m going to continue to give it to myself. I`m tired of pleasing others, with no reciprocity. Let`s see what comes around the bend next…