Friday, May 29, 2015

Adventures In Packing

A backpacker is only as good as his backpack. To that end, you need to pack well and pack smart. I’ve gone through a couple attempts to pack for Europe on Tuesday, and I’m still trying to refine it.

My goal is to only bring a carry-on for my three-week adventure, and to that end I need to pack light and smart. That means packing clothes that go well together, and limiting the amount. That also means going with as few luxuries as possible. Really, I’m alright with that. The goal is to experience things, not sit in a hostel somewhere while staying connected with everything back home.

My first attempt at packing had a bit too much items. I wasn’t able to fit it all into my bag. So after losing a few things, I tried it again. I was able to fit it all in, but there wasn’t a lot of extra room for bringing things home. And let’s be honest. Everyone wants to bring souvenirs when they go away. I also want to cut weight from the bag. Three weeks carrying around a heavy backpack doesn’t sound like a lot of fun to me. Truth be told, my backpack is already 4cm larger than allowed for a carry on. I don’t want to risk notice by having it one or two pounds heavier as well.

So after dropping my largest weighing item (my laptop, I’m bringing my iPad and a couple of camera adapters instead) I’m ready to give packing a third try. Wish me luck on my attempt!



Monday, May 25, 2015

The Road Goes Ever On And On

In just eight short days I board a plane for Barcelona. Off on an adventure of both internal and external discovery and completely on my own. When you stop and think about it, it’s actually kind of terrifying. To be in a foreign country by yourself, not knowing a single person or phrase aside from “dos cervezas por favor” can definitely get the nerves a little rattled. But that is also part of the charm.

My favourite books are ones in which there is a journey. An epic quest to destroy the One Ring. Or to find enchanted artifacts to ward off possession of a demon. Perhaps to seek penance for a past action that the character in question is wracked with utter guilt… And really, when all is said and done, I’m off on a journey myself.

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

If I had to chose my favourite book, it would hands down be Lord of the Rings. I have read the books literally dozens of times and it never, ever gets old to me. But this post isn’t about my favourite book. It’s about a journey. I mention Lord of the Rings for the poem above, and the following quote:

"He used often to say there was only one Road; that it was like a great river: its springs were at every doorstep, and every path was its tributary. 'It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,' he used to say. 'You step onto the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.'" ~ Frodo Baggins, The Fellowship of the Ring

I’ve spent so long standing still, letting the Road pass me by and sweep up so many other people. I’m done fighting it’s current. It’s time to set sail and go with the flow.

World Traveler

I’ve visited eleven countries in Europe already. This year I’m adding two more to the list and revisiting a couple of others. At least that’s the plan. As Bilbo told Frodo: ‘if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.’ I may only end up staying in one country, or maybe visit another five. I’m so open to anything on this trip that it’s possible that I see nothing at all that I’m planning to and wind up walking around from place to place for my three weeks. Only time will tell, but one thing is certain: I’m becoming a world traveler. And I’m quite alright with that.



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Summer - 2015

I’ve kind of been failing as a blogger lately. Unfortunately I haven’t had the energy or motivation to write much as of late. And aside from my attempts to have a bit of a social life, nothing worthy of note has really happened lately. But there are things coming up in the next few months that I am looking forward to!

It all starts today. May 20th. My last shift with the Government of Canada for the year. It’s a bit of a bittersweet day for me. On one hand it’ll be nice to be able to get a bit more sleep than I have been getting, and a bit more free time to do some trip planning. However, it is also the end of my steady pay cheques for the year and saying good bye to friends until my next contract or I can get on permanently.

Next up is EekFest in St. Albert on May 30th and 31st. One of the two guests this year is Caity Lotz from Arrow. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, Arrow is one of my all time favourite shows and any time one of the cast members is at a convention it is a huge selling point for me. I’m looking forward to my photo-op and adding her signature to my growing collection.

Then the time has come to say good bye to family and friends for three weeks. June 2nd is the departure date for Europe 2015. I can’t describe how much I’m looking forward to it. It is a much needed trip. When I first booked my flights back in February, I was very much running away from life and the cruel curveball that fate threw my way. But now this trip has turned into so much more. It’s something I’m doing for myself, and that is a huge step. You can ask anyone I know and chances are they will say that I very rarely do anything for me. I very much focus on other people. That in itself isn’t a bad thing, but if you focus on others too much, you lose yourself. That’s what happened to me. I lost myself and then when I lost someone I cared about deeply I had nothing to return to. Now I get to learn about me.

When I get back from adventuring in the giant world, I get to hunt for steady work. Wish me luck in this endeavor. It is very much going to be needed.

The last event of the summer, my friend Mandy and I are going to be doing Wanderlust 108 at the end of August. A 5km run, outdoor yoga and meditation. It’s another thing that I’m highly looking forward to. I’ve let my fitness and general wellbeing fall to the way side for far too long. It’s time to put ME first and I’m looking forward to the experience.

That’s the summer plans. Hopefully I’ll be able to fit some camping and fishing in as well. I said way back here that 2015 was going to be my year. Well, it looks like summer is mine to experience.



Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Generational Gap

One of my regulars shared an article on Facebook recently and after reading it I found it very accurate to how things are today. People have been conditioned to think that there's always more fish in the sea, so feel free to give up what you have and go on fishing. I understand the reasoning behind the statement. It's a version of saying "It's OK. You'll survive this." But it also gives people the opinion that there's always another. There's always a replacement for what you once had. And that is the common belief that plagues my generation and the ones to follow.

I recently had a conversation about the differing generations and how things have changed. My grandparents and their generation worked hard for what they have/had. Balancing time between work and family. Hard work was a way of life. And that hard work led to strong work ethics. They didn't leave their relationships (any of them, be it work, friendly, or intimate) when things got tough. They worked them out and stood by the things that mattered. Not to say that everything was all peachy clean for everyone, but they worked things out to the best of their abilities.

My parents generation want/wanted to be the providers, often working long hours and spending more time away from their families due to work than necessary. They wanted to give their children the best things possible, not only making sure that their families were clothed and fed, but the clothes were nice name-brand clothes and the food was the prime choice of meats and/or vegetables. They also like to direct and manage, it's almost like a business type attitude. And that attitude has taken some of the independence away from their children.

My generation is very used to being directed. Almost to the point of being lost without someone telling them what to do. We are the generation of convenience and quick fixes. It's convenient to have someone tell you what to do and where to go. “There’s plenty of fish in the sea” is/was something that got spouted out quite a bit by parents that didn’t want to see their children hurt, but as stated in the first paragraph of this post, that attitude has led to a fear of attachment and commitment. Because, after all, you can always find another.

The generations after my era, the current young generations, are the entitled generation. Everything is handed to them on a silver platter and they just take and keep on taking. For them EVERYTHING is replaceable. And there are less and less consequences for their actions. It’s going to be a scary world when they start running things. The poor children of the world today is unprepared for the harsh realities of the world. You can’t spank them without people wondering if they are abusing them. You can’t raise your voice to them in public without someone judging and perhaps calling the cops on you (true story, happened to a girl I used to work with). And so, what’s the world to do? We’ve created a dilemma for ourselves and it’s so hard to go back and fix things like they were before.

But I took a very long digression from where I started this post. I guess the best option would be to leave the article here and let you give it a read. It’s kind of scary how true it is.