Chapter 11 – Year 1

Well there we go dear reader it’s been a year of on off writing and I can confirm I think it’s been a success, I have learnt and met a lot of people along the way who knows if they still think of me because I think of them. I have done my fair share of dumb stuff whilst being away from home and in no particular order lets start a list

  • Made piss bombs on a frozen lake
  • Drank copious amounts of alcoholic beverages
  • Climbed ice mountains without ropes or crampons
  • Climbed vertical faces in the rain with no ropes
  • Said dumb things
  • Karaoke
  • fell in love
  • one night stands

list done turns out it was significantly smaller than expected… but it’s all things I haven’t done back home so any experience is better than no experience. But really my time in Canada has been the greatest decision of my life I know that some people back home weren’t pleased with my decision but it’s my life not theirs and I shouldn’t be concerned about what others think there is nothing that can be done! but back to how it’s been the greatest decision, it’s because this is where I gained my independence and started to become who I am, now yes to those who haven’t left their home that sounds ridiculous but it’s true being around people you have never met allows you to be seen in a whole new way and it’s great there is no judgement and everybody is accepting of anything and everything. And that’s what traveling is all about, being you and accepting the world for what it is (yes I know I sound like some earth loving sensei) and on a side note physical items mean nothing and that has stuck with me in the past few months, these items don’t bring me happiness its the experiences and the tales to be told that bring back those memories for life and take you back to the best times of your life not some dumb phone you bought, it doesn’t bring happiness in the long term just in the first few weeks and then it’s a tool and you don’t tell people about the item you had years ago it’s just not a thing unless you make it a thing.

I digress, over the past year I have met a lot of people and unfortunately contact has been lost with some of these people due to being all over the country it’s hard to keep friendships going across the world, the people I do still keep in contact with are now seen as my best friends and I enjoy speaking to them regularly in other words if I FaceTime you at least once a month then we are besties…

Over the year I have been asked a lot of questions some more than others but the most common question is “do you miss home?” and in short the answer is No I don’t miss home, but as a longer answer of course your going to miss the place you grew up in but at the same time as a species its in our blood to explore and live and breath in new lands and as of writing I couldn’t see myself living back in the UK as a vacation I would enjoy that I want to travel in the UK now I have found a new love and passion for exploring my home a sense I never got whilst living there. and right now I want to live here in Canada I see this place as my new home. and yes I’m living the dream and loving every part of it.

 

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231017 – Lovely Lake

Oh my author your writing a day log and not a chapter you must be proud, let me answer that me yes now I don’t see the importance but lets just start writing about the Lovely Lake Hike…

It all began on a early monday morning in Squamish BC and by early I mean around 8:00am so not terrible! but still early so we headed off to the start of the trail (49.807419, -123.193547) well this is the parking zone and by parking zone I mean side of the road, but to get to the actual trail you need to cross the Squamish river easy right!? ah fuck no! now a river you say how difficult can that be well let me explain, imagine a river got that? now imagine a cable car line above the river but without the cable car part… do you see where I’m going with this? now we have to harness ourselves onto this cable car and drag yes drag ourselves across this cable above the river fun! No, not fun not one bit exhausting yes a lot exhausting and we haven’t even started the climb yet! now to cross this river took a solid 45minutes and it’s only a 150m crossing but it felt like an eternity!

Now onto the initial hike this hike involved an elevation gain of 1200m now thats pretty damn tall to put that into perspective its 2.8x the height of the CN tower with that out of the way we can talk about distance which in total was 12miles round trip and along the way it’s pretty interesting to see how the elevation effects the weather at the bottom in the maple trees and leafy trees its damp and reasonably warm and then you start to climb to the pine tree level where the trees become covered in moss and everything is sopping wet and the humidity is crazy high I was stripped down just to a t-shirt and sweating constantly! this isn’t good because as the elevation increases it becomes colder and the sweat becomes cold making your whole body cold but thankfully I have been wearing Marino Wool clothing **corporate praise here** this clothing gets wet but not cold like normal fabric it stays warm and drys super quick yes I love Icebreaker clothing it’s silly expensive but it’s worth every penny! now back to a regullary scheduled program!

Waterfalls, waterfalls was the key highlight of this hike you can hear the raging torrent of water around every corner and at least every 500m there is some form of creek or mini water flow it may not be the biggest but it’s still pretty cool but this water is pretty darn cold but clean, like crazy clean because this is glacial water and has little to no contaminates and dirt! I did fill my bottle numerous times and enjoyed the freshest water in my life! Now these waterfalls are more active than normal due to the amount of rainfall we have received in the past week pretty much constant rain fun times! but because of that it really made them more special and enjoyed them a lot more.

Climbing and crazy fucking steep hills was the main part of this hike the guide says that the last 1.5hours are the hardest and yes guide this is correct and it was hard, I was exhausted and had to take a breather every 50m or so just because after already hiking for 4 hours your body is already feeling it and every part aches but I did hit a stage where I stopped feeling anything like I felt completely refreshed which is the strangest feeling but at the same time super cool also at the last 30 minutes we stopped and had a bite to eat and holy fuck my internal batteries recharged fully and I was ready to go and pumped so we charged on to the peak which included the delightfully named Lovely Lake.

Peak! the peak was worth all of the effort it’s the most beautiful place I have seen mainly because the work behind getting there is crazy hard but also because It’s what I came to BC for to see lakes and mountains and thats exactly what we saw! Now imagination time imagine a ice cold lake on the left hand side there are snow peaked mountains and if you follow these until they slowly fade into a green hill where the rocks are exposed and the pine trees are that dark green and in the background you can see more of those snow peaked caps where the grey rock slithers are coming though giving the whole scene some depth and if you move your eyes to the foreground you’ll see some driftwood from old logs you can see that they are fully soaked and have been there for some time as they have signs of rot and a slight hint of some fresh green moss. this description will not do this scene justice and if you want to see it you’ll have to go up for yourself or just google search or just ask and I’ll cave in pretty sharpish!

Back to reality now the trip down was a blast sliding down the mountain in a breeze you have the odd tumble or slip and then you realise that one wrong move and its a good 150m fall of the side of a cliff but hey its not fun without danger right!? but really the way down was great not tiring at all which is a godsend as I don’t think my body could handle anymore! but every shining armour has a kink and our kink was that cable car line mentioned at the start of this log we had to make our way back across this river and this time during the sunset which made it more interesting as you can’t see shit because there aint no man made light in the middle of nowhere thank goodness 2 people bought there flashlights otherwise it would of been a disaster! but overall this hike was amazing and had a good time with friends and now looking at the next hike to do I’m currently hoping to do the 3 peaks on the chieftain but time will tell!

 

 

Chapter 10 – East to West

Well when I moved to Canada just less than a year ago I had 2 main goals number 1 was to see the ocean on the East Coast and West Coast that has been successfully completed as I have seen the ocean from Halifax NS and Vancouver BC Wahooo! and my second goal was to look out of a window and see a mountain I have completed that as well! by moving to the delightful town of Squamish whilst volunteering in a hostel for 3.5months till the end of January and after that date I have no idea what to do! maybe move back to Nova Scotia for 10 months and have a blast with Kyle and Becca but your guess is as best as mine!

So I have been at the Adventure Inn hostel for a week as of writing and it has felt like I have been here for ages! and I have been non-stop activities for that time this is my first forced day off for myself today so I’m updating the blog (thumbs up to avid readers) but I have started climbing and more bouldering I enjoy it a lot more me and heights aren’t on the greatest terms at the moment but with bouldering its not too high and more overhangs I’m not the best but man it’s fun to finally successfully complete a run especially with them blister ridden hands that are in the process of healing! that is until you rip them back open doing dumb shit like pulling yourself along a steel cable above a river (coming in a separate blog post)

But overall and so far my move to Squamish has been a good one bar the expensive food costs but hey thats what jobs are for eh! and the life  lesson of today is short and sweet and said by Sheila Buff “JUST DO IT”

Chapter 9 – Operation Summer Part II

Stardate 040617 the first day of camp has begun and by first day of camp I mean the first day at the camp which involved in polite terms bugger all. Mostly awkward interactions with my new co-workers and trying to find something to eat (looking back I assume we found food because I’m still alive) after that and a FaceTime with my parents giving them a half arsed tour of the camp and them mocking my “facial hair” which shortly involved shaving and looking like a fresh born baby maybe I’ll send a photo if you ask looking at you Adam… So there we are a Mexican an Irishlady and an Englishman on a dock looking out over sylvan lake we talked about ourselves and discussed what the summer will bring and what bought us to this place. we played some frisbee on the beach and yes I was the super hip cool guy who purchased a frisbee and yes I do still have the frisbee I threw out clothes so I could keep travelling with it! and then all of a sudden in the late afternoon a man stood on top of the path down to the beach and said “do you guys work here” our repose was a rather sheepish “ermm yes” the man responded with “I’m Kendrah’s father” we all though who is Kendrah should we know who she is? **side note she was a counsellor** so we start talking to Kendrah and no word of a lie she scared the living shit out of us telling us stories about camp all the rules what you can and can’t do It was like a weeks worth of information in a span of 4 hours. Looking back I think it helped but I really have no idea! and lets skip forward because I can’t remember what happened!

Stardate 050617 – 010717 the first day of training and oh boy my memory is failing me so I’m going to attempt to condense around a month worth of training into a few paragraphs please wish me luck…

Low Ropes

Now this was the first time we worked as a whole team hence the term team building exercises and at the time I wasn’t  a fan of the whole team building actives and feeling like a complete tit in-front of others but now I have come to the realisation that nobody really gives a fuck as everybody is in the same boat this took an embarrassing amount of time to realise! but the actives involved some name games, learning about each other and trusting one another and hence the title Low Ropes was the main focus of this portion of training now at the times I wasn’t a fan of the Low Ropes but now I have to say it’s one of my favourite activities it really does encourage teamwork and the trust of others now as all adults its pretty easy to learn and work as a team and control everybody but when attempting to teach a bunch of grade 7s to perform these tasks it turns into a big old shit show nobody listens and this can cause major issues and somebody can get hurt (I’m turning into an old teacher) but with this under our belts we where ready teach and starting to form friendships

Canoeing 

Sidenote **mature language** I FUCKING LOVE CANOEING  **mature language over** Now I’ve only ever been canoeing once before this “but ciaran how can you love it if you’ve only done it once before 6 years ago” first of who told you it was 6 years ago oh wait I’m the author and asked an imaginary question (did I just break a 3rd wall? yes, yes you did) but really I have just loved the idea of being on a lake paddling away talking about life and taking a nice long day chilling on the water man that is the dream right there! Now to actually take these kids on the water we need to be certified instructors and thats exactly what we where doing fancy that eh. Our instructor was Seb great guy super friendly and enthusiastic the course was only for 3 days and for 1 of those days it was white caps on the lake so canoeing was out the window on that day but we learnt all the strokes and how to recover a tipped canoe thats harder than it looks! and then on the last evening we played some form of tag with foam pieces that you had to pick up with your paddle and throw at another canoe (I do have a short film showing this) ask me to upload it on the internet… and that is canoe training complete I’m now certified by Paddle Canada and get a metric fuck tonne of emails from them **thumbs up**

Being a councillor 101 

I wasn’t a councillor so this section is completely irrelevant, instead I was mowing grass and cleaning porcelain like a god damn pro! because I was DR.JAN-ITOR

Operation Summer Part III will be coming to a screen near you soonTM but in all honesty the summer was a complete blast and part III I have no idea where to start so maybe there will be something different maybe A Midnight Summers Dream…

 

Chapter 8 – Operation Summer Part I

Stardate 200817 I have Operation Summer has now been completed and I can confirm it was a bloody good success! The premise of Operation Summer was to get away from routine and away from the big city to a place where I can experience nature and live a tranquil life. After working at CIBC for 6 months sat in an office looking out over city hall I had a realisation that I had become comfy with my life as explained in Chapter 7 this was not good! So I decided that I would work in a summer camp for the summer with the intention just to get out of the city explore nature and maybe make a few friends but after 3 months I can say I have made friends for life, pushed my social boundaries way beyond their limits and explored nature a lot!

Lets jump back and tell the tale of Operation Sumer (It will be written how I would write on the day, no time for past tense Bull$hit here)

Stardate 010617 I have packed up all my belongings once again living out of a 75L backpack its all fun and games (trust me) I have successfully made my way to Toronto airport, ski jacket in hand it’s too big to place into my rucksack shame… I sat down at the bar and ordered a beer (it was around 8:00pm) The guy sat next to me was a fellow brit and by the end of my beer I wanted to strangle this guy he would not stop talking to me, Look I enjoy conversation as much as the next guy but I know fuck all about the city your from and the business your in sorry… after this dilemma of leaving and coming off as rude or staying and pulling my hair out my flight was called “Flight for Calgary is boarding” finally Operation Summer is a go! After landing in Calgary it was gone midnight I had called an Uber and waited for around 15 minutes I realised I was in the wrong pickup spot whoops and my driver canceled on me (if your reading this Uber driver my apologies) after that stormshow I arrived at the hostel dumped my bags and set off to find some food as I was as hungry as the wolf! but could I find an open food establishment could I bollocks so I went to the dollar store (why was it open at an ungodly time) and bought some $1 cookies and ate around 24 in one sitting (no judgment required I’m a pig and I’m proud of it!) and then making my way back to the hostel I lay my head down and had a ruddy good sleep!

**note to past me, I hate you for writing all this up now**

Stardate 020617 after refuling my body with sleep juice I was ready to explore a new city it began with a walk downtown I went the the classist of food establishments A&W it was a mediocre breakfast slightly disappointed in myself looking back but hey what are you going to do about it… I then walked down the the river and a local park I started to message Taff about calgary we had a discussion that the time zone was a bitch as it was morning here and late afternoon there crazy going from 5 hours to 7 hours difference! after the exchange of messages and pictures of geese I headed back into the city centre and headed to the Glenbow museum it was pleasantly nice, learnt some Canadian history and seeing some delightful rocks and minerals (I enjoy any museum that has rocks and minerals) I briefly explored the history of Calgary in all honesty I can’t remember jack all that they hosted the Winter Olympics once… And then I headed off on a bicycle trip and man It ended up being on heck of a trip in total around 23km not to shabby considering I haven’t cycled in over 6 months! after having a Donair kebab in the middle of nowhere and after arriving there was one thing on my mind BEER! I cracked open the couchsurfing app and within moments I had met a group of people and we all chatted grabbed a few drinks and a bite to eat overall a pretty delightful and unexpected day of exercise and socialising!

**Is this written in past or present tense I have no clue now, great job me**

Stardate 030617 today is moving day! I finally get to leave the city once more and head off to the delightful Sylvan Lake, but that’s not until late afternoon so lets go and explore a bit more *ping* I receive and email from Nyquest (the company I work for) one of your fellow workers is in the same hostel! finally I get to meet a new person and explore calgary, Now that didn’t happen quite as easily as that it involved multiple emails and around a full day of pinging back and forth to finally make a meeting spot! **I can’t remember what we did or how long** so there we are it’s late afternoon waiting for are new boss to pick us up and my goodness I was as nervous as a turkey on thanksgiving. But finally we get picked up and after a metric fuck tonne of questions we arrive at the airport to pick up another councillor Yojan at the time I didn’t know that this man would become on of my best friends and camp husband. Now I backtrack imagine an irish girl, english man and a canadian in an airport waiting for a Mexican, the Canadian goes up to  a Mexican looking fellow and goes “YOJAN” I’m going to pause the blog what do you think happened here, A)It was Yojan, B)It wasn’t Yojan or C) It wasn’t Yojan and the guy seemed rather irritated to be racially profiled… If you picked C DING DING DING you’re a winner! Now I fell that that is a story better told in person if you ever speak to me I’ll tell you the story… now back to driving to Sylvan around 2 hours later we arrived tired and ready for bed and you know what I did I re-fueled my body with sleep juice

**Who the fuck though this was a good idea to write about**

Part II will include the first day of being at camp and a few highlights from training, It will be written soonTM

Chapter 7 – Routine = Comfort

Stardate 120517 It has been quite some time since my last update life has got in the way and by got in the way I mean I fell into a routine eughh I have nobody to blame but myself but I’ve had enough of going through the motions of waking up at 6:30am heading to work grab a Tims *no other coffee franchises available*, answer some IT calls (by some I mean a fuck tonne) have some lunch homemade of course I’m not made of money except on a Wednesday where I like to go to Burger King *other franchises are available* and grab a 2 for $5 deal (not to shabby but it is flabby tehee) get home for 4:30pm watch some TV cook dinner and lunch for the next day and go to bed for 9:00pm. I know what your thinking “whoee ciarán what I life you live eh” Gonna stop you right there and say bad, bad reader that is a terrible thought, Now you see I have become conformable not good I didn’t move half way across the world to work 9-5 or 7:30 – 3:30. I came to experience life now I have done that but not as much as I had hoped, I mean I should have worked in a bar or more hands on but I pursued my future career in IT but not in the good way sitting in a desk in a shirt and tie doesn’t do many people many good (well it does, but this is an exception) So I thought what was my original plan prior to getting work it was to gallivant around Toronto until June and then bugger of and have a fun summer so that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Operation Summer is about to commence!

 

 

Chapter 6 – Time To Reflect

Stardate 080317 I was attempting to write this yesterday as a 3 month update but I thought this is a good time to reflect on my life at only 20 I feel that I have seen and done more than others my age maybe it’s due to never going to University or maybe it’s due to my un willingness to conform to standards as much as I want to my mind just wants to do its own thing this can cause issues as I tend to gaze into space and people have noted this and they always ask what I’m staring at the answer is nothing It’s just that I can’t close my eyes otherwise people will thing I’m just sleeping I’m not sleeping i’m dreaming with my eyes open… I digress once more I have started to question what I’m doing with my life what do I want to do where do I want to be in 5, 10 ,15 years and the answer is I don’t know. I don’t know what I want to do, see, learn or work I have no set path I suppose that can be seen as a good thing but in this world I beleive it’s a bad thing as I should really consider getting some fancy paper with letters on it but then what use is that i already have 4 years of work experience in 2 fields engineering and IT I suppose right now they are an asset but in 10 years time it will either be so Mr.Stokes you have 14 years of expericnece in real world but none on paper why? Once again the answer would be I just don’t know right now…

Back to reflection as I sit in a vegan cafe again I some how just keep finding them after I ask for milk and the barista always scoffs *fuck me alright I didn’t know, I like cow juice sorry!* I look around and listen to the gentle guitar background music I notice some paintings on the wall attempting to figure them out, But I know deep inside I don’t know anything about them and I’m just using them to keep my mind busy as I’ve had a lot in there recently more than usual Taff knows about it. and I said to him it’s a story that I want to keep to myself but at the same time I want to share. I can dish out a little hint it’s due to me being to intouch with my emotions I develop feelings far too fast and have flash backs and flash fronts about my current future and past experences I can feel them it’s both great and horrible my pulse increases the tension increases I’m reliving the same moments over and over until somehting can take it’s place alas this time its been 4 days and I’m still seeing this vividly. I’m sure eveybody has these thoughts but I feel that most don’t discuss them or even think about them I’m almost too concious of my concious. man that felt pretty good to write.

Overall I feel that my life has been pretty great I’ve met some amazing people and I’ve left some amazing people I have my best friends at home, I have my drinking friends, ex co-workers and others but what’s it all for do they think about me as I do them? that’s the problem we are too busy wanting to know about others whilst we know nothing about ourselves. Take 10 minutes and just stare your mind will eventually fill in the blanks and you’ll be at peace just don’t think too hard you don’t want to put manufctured thoughts they are already there. you just have to let them come out.