In The Prelude of Experience: Intentions of A Camino, 1010+ KM on Foot From the Heels of French Airspace to the Lip of Spanish Waters. Pt. 1.

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To break the silence,

It has been just over one year since I have published anything on Littermature.

I have not-not been writing, I just haven’t published anything.

My reasoning behind this is that I do not want to force creativity. I am intuitive with my approach as to what I deem worthy of sharing, and to be honest I needed the break to experience my life in the moment.

Some might say it’s impulsive— others might call it an excuse — but, I like to think that I am following my own intuition,– and that’s what’s important.

Either way, the time has come to break my own silent spell, because I am ready to spill my words out onto the global table for people to chew up, to swallow, or to spit out — preferably not back in my face. But, I’ll face whatever consequences come about as a result because f**k it — vulnerability feels like shit, but it doesn’t deserve an opportunity to keep you quiet.

Without further ado — along with some of the key themes that I have openly discussed with myself on my latest journey — what better way to speak out again than by following up on my last blog post from last year.

The Camino De Santiago.

Okay check it out, last year I walked the Camino Frances, and then some. I started my journey in St. Jean De Pied De Port and I didn’t retire my walking stick until I arrived in Vigo, Spain– Literally, I leaned whatever was left of my stick against the walls of the Cathedral De Santa Maria and I walked away with tears.

If you are interested to dive into the article, feel free to read up on that Camino journey here:

Reflections Of A Camino: 900+ KM On Foot From Southern France To The Western Coast Of Spain. The Trials And Tribulations Of Experience.

This experience was so captivating, that I went back within the years end to embark on a Camino journey that tracked mostly along the northern coastline of Spain — The Camino Norte.

In writing this, I have since completed the trek, and guess what… My experience with the Camino Norte was so captivating that I will most likely follow it up with yet ANOTHER CAMINO journey next year! –But, we can get to around to that some another time.

2018 CAMINO FRANCES

To reiterate partly in quote from the first Camino:

My loose plan “Pre-Camino” was fairly ego driven — maybe. It’s no secret that a large part of my identity is wrapped up in my athleticism, so I had the idea of walking these long distances while pushing my physical limits to a maximum. My mind fantasized over the idea of walking 40-50km per day and going through things as fast as I could.

If my hindsight can interject for a moment:

I now find myself asking WHY?

What was I trying to prove, and to whom?

Was I simply scared? Scared to take things slow– Scared of patience?

Scared to make connections– to let others into my life for more than one instant?

Was I scared to travel through vulnerabilities with familiar faces day in and day out?

What exactly, was I trying to avoid?

Naturally, I slowed down and took the approach to experience the journey like a child — a child with a subtle hand patting down his back as he took on his next steps with the confident reassurance of a loving parent behind him.

When Santiago found me, it was time to step up into adulthood as I was called up to deal with the impermanence of life. I was called to let go of love, to let go of community, to let go of reassurance within a safe experience.

And, I broke:

An abrupt farewell, that felt like I was about to start losing the pieces of myself that were just freshly patched together over the course of the trail. And in stretching time out as far as I could stretch it — and an “OK BYE” later — I set off late in the afternoon.

Over the next 3 days, I found myself running through my original plan as it took me 3 days to give myself shin splints, to strain a quadricep, and to cover 100+km to Vigo.

I DID IT!

I did what I originally intended to do — to push myself and my body to its limits — and I FELL APART physically and emotionally in the process.

If I may interject for a moment:

I found myself asking Why?

What was I trying to prove, and to whom?

And I found an obvious answer: I wasn’t trying to prove anything to anyone.

Simply put, I did not want to sit with myself. I did not want to sit through the sadness of the soon to be ending journey. I did not want to go home to face the hustling and bustling “reality” of another Pre-Camino.

More so, I had enough solitude!

I did not want to sit still and feel loneliness.

I did not want to sit still, or to think about what was left back in Santiago.

These were the questions within my mind.

Last year I found myself asking “Why push my limits, why suffer, why struggle to the point of extreme fatigue, why push, and push limits to breaking points.”

But this year, my reasoning was drumming down a different beat. Though the questions were the same, my answers were entirely different…

“Why push my limits, why suffer, why struggle to the point of fatigue, why push, and push limits to breaking points.” —WHY NOT?!

Before I move on, the article deserves a read because I am projecting my current self on the experience. The first journey through the Spanish Camino was filled with a plethora of lessons to learn– lessons that I carry forward with me today.

One of the great lessons I learned was being able to see the value in slowing myself down… However, the Camino Norte was a polar opposite of that, because it was all about ramping things right up.

So Why The Change Of Heart?

I don’t want to paint an image that the Camino Frances was a walk in the park, because I was still tested — physically, emotionally, spiritually. But looking back, I was still walking comfortably with reserve, and the lessons in value that I was seeking this time around were buried deep in physically exhaustive practice.

Prelude to the Camino Norte

Again, this time around my fantasy was a real plan.

I detailed to endure long walks, and solitary days starting from Bayonne, Airport in France right through Santiago De Compostela, before tackling the final leg of the 1000+ km walk out into the coastal towns of Muxia and Fisterra — a path that was rerouted to Vigo last year for timing.

The Winding Road

Before I dive into my life lessons and mental accomplishments, I want to follow up on my year in general.

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This TOTALLY sounds like my brain…

Here is a fast tracked timeline of this story to come:

  • Moved back to Toronto from Moncton, New Brunswick. September 16, 2016
  • Trip to Greece after 14 years. August 6, 2017
  • Working with Goodlife Fitness. September 27, 2017
  • Leaving Goodlife, Trip to Greece. August 10, 2018
  • Camino Frances. September 11, 2018
  • Moving to Whistler, BC. October 27, 2018
  • Lift Operations, Commercial Driving, Littermature Notebooks. November 4, 2018
  • AmeriCan Adventures, Tour Guiding. May 4, 2019
  • Camino Norte. September 2, 2019

Let’s Begin, Shall We?

When I left my job in 2018, I was ready–

I was ready to seek out a new journey, to grab my life by my own two balls, and charge straight ahead into the unknown — yet again — but in line with the visions of my future.

Leading up to that moment, the plan was this:

  • Work with Goodlife for 1 year
  • Save up some cash to go to Greece for 1 month
  • Fly to France to walk the Camino Frances for one month
  • Post Camino: Get myself out to western Canada
  • Fill in the blanks when I got there.

That was my idea, and how did I pull it off?

I’ve done a lot in my life.

But, I haven’t done enough, because I still have a lifetime of experience left to go,– Imagine that thought, coming from someone like me.

People stop themselves short of meaningful experience in their own lives because they talk themselves out of actually following through.

I am able to keep moving along in life by throwing myself into my vision, by forcing me into that extra level of personal accountability. — I wasn’t always like that.

In this case, I kept saying to myself, “Just buy the ticket and go!”

I shortened that mantra down even further to “Buy the ticket!”. — I said it over, and over, again, and again!

Pfft, So What Man?

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Buying a ticket is such a small detail in the grand scheme of things, but that is where most people fail to take action. The small details slip by them, that translate into missing out on bigger opportunities of experience.

We’ve heard it all before, Have faith, and take the plunge!

We OVER-COMPLICATE our choices through procrastination and indecision. When we snap ourselves out of it, — wouldn’t you know it— we find ourselves out of time.

But guess what? I did it!

I brought myself to the places I wanted to thus far because I capitalized on little bits and pieces in line with the larger parts of my vision.

Don’t take it like I’m finished, because my path is still ahead of me… But, I can live with where I am because at the end of the day, I am always moving my life with trying effort.

So think about it for yourself… Where do YOU want to go?

You Won’t Get It, Until You Get It!

THAT is how EASY it is TO DO THINGS, By TAKING THE FIRST STEP.

Take the first step, then take another one, and another one… and, another one. The next thing you know is that your feet are fucked up, but you fucking did it — You’ve just walked 1000 km in your own shoes, and that shit feels good!

BUT, The blanks were filled Indeed.

Since I finished walking the Camino Frances in October 2018, my life unfolded in very interesting ways — perhaps it may be interesting to you reading this, perhaps not — To myself, it’s interesting as f**k, because MY LIFE IS INTERESTING TO ME.

So F**k Yeah, Let’s TACO-Bout It.

I got home from the Camino on October 17, 2018. And, despite continuing financial hardships I almost immediately hopped into my Jeep to road trip across the continent.

First, I drove 2 days South-West from Toronto, ON. towards Denver, CO. I wasn’t ready to let go yet, so I drove to Denver because I wanted to continue whatever little I had built with the girl I walked with in Spain– I wanted to include her in my path, and that was then.

Cliffhanger: Cut Short, Hit The Brakes! — Brake Dust.

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I’ll continue on this tangent, but first let me tell you a funny story:

Before leaving for Denver, my Jeep desperately needed new tires — among other things. I kept my old tires on as long as I could, but they were in really rough shape — the tread was uneven, and scalloped from trips and time spent living in New Brunswick— but, replacing them was out of the question because I simply couldn’t afford it.

Financial hardship — the common theme in my life.

And like many people experience, it was one of the biggest — if not the biggest stressor in my life.

Sure, I could sell my Jeep… Sure, But No.

My Jeep belongs in my life, because it is an asset that has provided ME and MY LIFESTYLE mobility. It helps express an identity, along with my intentions, wants, and needs. And though I had made arrangements on the best way to sell it many times, — the bills were too damn high — I could never justify it.

My mind, heart, and soul knew that my fear of drowning in financial trouble was getting the better of me. That f**king monkey-mind of mine can get pretty damn excited on fantastical ideas and thoughts that aren’t great for me within the process of my own betterment. But, the learning is so valuable, and I am thankful to have that asshole monkey-mind of mine — The one that freaks the f**k out and wants to run at every subtle break of noise.

So no, I didn’t sell it. I kept my Jeep because it gives me options,– options that got me to the west coast after-all.

Let me clarify this further, because this might be obvious to you and me, but for someone else that is suffering a similar dilemma, it might not be so. But, my financial troubles are completely self induced, and the path towards betterment is acknowledging that this shit is totally my own damn doing.

One Step After Another

Ultimately, the solution to clear my debt is conceptually pretty easy. Being close to 100k in the hole is actually not a big deal — and I’m certain that people out there have it worse. If I could reduce my expenses, and sell some more things, I can then show up to a career, or whatever 9-5 job is manageable. I can do this day-in-and-day-out for the next 35 years, and boom, it’s paid off — just like most of the world is doing.

So what’s the problem? — Just do it asshole!

I AM doing it… Just, differently. It takes discipline in its application, and my discipline is directed into the vision of an untraditional path.

So, this VISION keeps me in debt — at least for the time being — Because my sights are directed towards living a life under my own terms.

Naturally so, trying new things and seeking out new avenues for an income, while creating a lifestyle can get expensive. Especially when you move from one part of a country to another and back– only to move to the other “other end of the country” shortly there after.

Ironically, my vision includes financial freedom, but I won’t settle for anything less than fulfilling my hopes and dreams in this life.

If I’m going to die anyway, I’d rather die trying– Back to the Jeep.

So I bit the bullet, I bought 4 new tires. Moreover, I bought the more expensive set. From experience, if I was going to spend money, why cheap out and buy something that wasn’t going to be effective for me in the long run.

I bought smoother tires that would last longer–that wouldn’t wear as quickly— tires that were better suited for pavement and highway driving, unlike the specialized off-road ones I just replaced.

I saved money in buying 4 tires, while keeping one of the old ones as a spare– What could go wrong?

“These tires are pretty damn tough — I haven’t had a flat in years!”, I thought. Besides, any screws or bolts that run through and punctured the tires on my Jeep never actually completely damaged them. It merely punctured into the thick rubber tread — the air was always good.

This was my thought process as I set off on my travels with 4 new tires and an old mismatched spare.

And How Was “I” Doing?

I once read that our attitude, self worth, and personality is reflected into our belongings, and I found that to be pretty near true. Though my Jeep was still beautiful on the outside, it was running around with a couple of scars that needed both time, and attention to remedy.

As for myself, I was feeling pretty tweaked, and very vulnerable when I set my pace westward. I was beaming my way across the Camino Frances because I managed to leave my problems at the door on my way out to Europe. But coming back to all of it, my confidence plummeted– I felt overly anxious, and strung out for so many different reasons.

Emotionally Fragile.

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Romantically speaking, I was hurting because of whatever insecurity I felt for a potential long distance relationship.

Spatially speaking, my thoughts were scattered between having WAY TOO MUCH MATERIAL SHIT, on top of lingering tension within familial dynamics.

Financially speaking, I felt like I left myself out to dry. I spent very little money in Europe over two months, but within 4 days of arriving to Toronto I was due to spend $5000 on bills and bullshit.

Futuristically speaking, I was making a move out to an expensive resort town to work a seasonal job that didn’t guarantee hours, and paid like shit — What do you expect for a job that pitches experience over wages.

All of These Reasons and More.

So yeah, I was stressed out as f**k, and I was living with serious fear, serious anxiety, and serious doubt…

But here’s the thing, this shit isn’t new because I feel like this often. It’s that monkey-mind constantly trying to thwart my betterment, and if I spent my whole damn life listening to it, I’d be nowhere.

F**k No! Not Even Close to “Anywhere”!

And though I’m still working towards where I want to go, I wouldn’t be where I am today with the experiences that I have to boot. That thanks goes to that OTHER VOICE in my head, the one that catches the monkey by the throat while screaming:

“I  can do anything! I am one resilient motherf*cker!”

I made it this far in life by choosing to ignore that piece of shit part of myself that tries to paralyze me by stifling my own betterment, my own vision, and my own progress. And so, I made my way to Colorado, all while feigning the confidence and machoism necessary to anyone who saw me.

“Run, Run Lost Boy” They Say To Me, “Away From All Of Reality” — Ruth B.

I Am Always A Fearful Little Boy On The Move.

Off I went, a day into my journey towards Rose in Colorado. Amidst the steady stream of communication along my trek into her hometown. The closer I got, the more nervous I felt. My nerves were spilling over thoughts about getting there, meeting her family, experiencing her presence in North American culture, etc… The monkey-mind was running itself rampant while navingating Nebraska’s beautiful back roads.

Moments of peace found me as I marveled at how vast, beautiful, yet similar the open fields in North America were relative to the ones I had walked through in Spain. But somewhere between these satisfying moments, a steady clacking broke my attention as it reverberated through the old railroad town I was currently driving through.

Clack, clack, clack, clack, clack.

Clearly coming from the new tires on my Jeep, I pulled over to find the source of the noise. Sure enough, there was a 1/4 inch screwbolt that jammed into the wall of my tire causing it to go flat, and fast.

“FUCK!”, I thought– or said, or both.

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I acted quickly in anger as I jacked up my Jeep, took out the tire, and threw on the mismatched spare. The bolt was threaded in there really good, because it took about 10 turns with a socket wrench to take it out.

Deeper Meaning?

The way I see it, my Jeep was financed out with old Railroad income (CN), and it was interesting to run myself flat in this old railroading town. Something from my past was trying to slow me down for whatever reason. But what I did notice was that it gave me a break from my fears because I had physical work to do, and it gave me an excusable reason to buy me more time– temporarily saving me from my fearful situations.

Life’s A Bitch Sometimes, But That Bitch Has Very Interesting Timing!

If the Camino Frances taught me anything, it’s the value of my own intuition. I needed to slow down, and it was a clear message from something — maybe — that I needed to ease into the miles, and transitions of the path in my road— how poetic.

Synchronicity– Perhaps.

Synchronicity is such an interesting topic. I’ve heard it said before, “follow the signs”  or “what do the signs say”.

My take is this:

Signs are unique, and I believe the message that you walk away with as a result of the circumstance is unique to the individual perceiving it. The signs are directed out from your subconcious, and whatever thoughts are routed into the forefront of your brain in your perceived moment are the ones that SHOULD be listened to– That is intuition.

Ultimately, something was holding me back.

I wish I could dish out some sort of definitive answer like, “Low and behold, the reason behind my tire situation was this!” But I can’t.

All I know is that it was a situation that I found interesting in my life given the circumstances of my past, my feelings in the moment, and in the general direction in which I was going.

Fast Track Through Nowhere

  • I made it down to Denver, where I bought a new tire, giving me a nice even set.
  • I got to hang out with Rose. I got to explore her city, while taking the intermittent cruise around town experiencing Lime scooters.

Though I was physically drained from extensive travel across multiple time zones, it was a really swell time.

My fears also settled down a bit while I was there, but it was more of a bubble to escape into because 5 days later, I left with more insecurity regarding our situation, unsure if I was even going to see her again.

But, I did. We made a trip out of a weekend in Arizona, and another occasion where she visited me in Whistler for one week.

Ultimately, it was a rollercoaster of emotion in trying to understand the potential distance between us. And while trying to figure out what kind of trust existed in that revealed that whatever relationship came about of it was short lived. When together we just picked up where we left off, but it became clear that faith didn’t exist between us in cultivating a relationship that was 2500km apart.

Money, Money, Money, Money. Must Be Funny. In a Rich Man’s World. –ABBA.

When I left Denver, I closed the distance down to Whistler, BC in 2 days. When I arrived, I settled into yet another bunkbed that was rented to me through Whistler Blackcomb. And though rent was inexpensive at $390/month, you got less than what you paid for. It’s a well known housing crisis out here, and to shed more into it, my roomates and I were gratefull to have an actual stovetop in our unit– contrasting other co-workers experience.

Resort wise, expensive is right.

While waiting for the season to pick up in hours I was pressured into racking up my credit card, and I found myself needing a second job as they say–yesterday!

The Second Job.

I’m a pretty big asshole.

People make suggestions or recommendations, or provide me with general advice for my wellbeing, and in turn, their help makes me feel like scoffing, or rolling my eyes.

I am so turned off with suggestion sometimes, but, it’s not until I fall into a “suggestion” under my own terms, that I can look back and give credit like, “well maybe they were right”.

I don’t know why I meet advice with such resentment, maybe it’s my own sense of pride– in wanting to be completely independent of everything, and everyone… Actually, that just about hits the nail on the head — But more on that later.

In moving on, my dad has been a bus driver for over the last decade, and since, he has been suggesting me to get into work with him, or in driving/trucking in general.

(The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree– because look at me now)

I’d always meet his comments with resistance, as I’d feel a churning queasiness in the pit of my stomach over the idea of settling for a 35-year cradle-to-grave opportunity — again!

IMG_20130620_005722DUKING THE DEMON: PINCH BARS AND STEEL WHEELS – TESTING THE FAITH [PART 1.5]

The reality is that you can leave any job at anytime, but the comfort in security adds resistance, blinding you to opportunity outside of its walls — if you let it. Albeit, I actually have a lot of love for CN and the railroad, but I’m not willing to sacrifice my time in that way.

Back on point, I am an asshole for suggestion, but here I am lining myself up with my father’s footsteps by pursuing an opportunity as a commercial driver.

I applied to a shuttle company whose business is making trips between Whistler and Vancouver. When I finally landed the job and started working, it was one of the best jobs I’ve ever held!– That’s a big statement for me. But, it was because it got me out of the whistler bubble, and more-so, I was grateful for the scenery, and grateful for it every damn day!

Taking in the drive made me feel great– not only was it beautiful– but I felt that my choices in life were working for me for what seemed like the first time in my life.

Though I feel like that at times, it is far from true. Many of my choices work in my favour, and though I’ve had my fare share of shitty picks, I was able to find gratitude in awareness — Awareness over where I was, in not settling, and pulling myself through whatever crap I put myself through.

Back to the shuttles.

It was a bit of an ordeal to get licensed based on the fact that I had two driving abstracts to process into the applications — it sounded easy enough to get ahold of, and the New Brunswick one was, but sorting my abstract with Ontario turned into a shit-show.

They were kind enough, but I felt like I was harassing the employees at ICBC, DriveON, and UPS regarding the status of my Ontario Driver’s abstract for 2 months. When it finally got out into the mail — it went to the wrong address, which meant the harassment process continued for an additional 3rd month.

The process was vexing, but trivial, so it was totally worth it in the end. And though I didn’t know it yet, scoring a commercial licence basically lined me up with qualification, and experience for my next opportunity.

By the time the winter season was in full swing, I spent my time between the following:

  • Working as a Lift Operator Wednesday to Saturday
  • Working as a Shuttle Driver Saturday to Tuesday
  • Sleeping, Eating, Rock Climbing, and Training at The Core (local gym)
  • Living at Starbucks working on my notebooks and blog

The Starbucks Standard

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I basically lived at Starbucks, I was a regular! In fact, my first Camino article was entirely written there, watching the snow fall. Fun fact, I’m writing this second Camino article at Starbucks. But, it wasn’t a quick stop, I would sit in there for hours, on the daily!

In becoming a regular, the baristas would naturally get to know me by face and/or name. Sometimes I changed it up, but if I was on a cafe latte kick, they new what to punch in without asking me at the till. I am mentioning this because it gave me more experiences of gratitude, and I’ll tell you why:

When I’d come in, I’d be all smiles and friendly, but more often than not– I’d be hurting. And though I’d walk in there feeling angry, or depressed, but mostly completely exhausted, I wouldn’t project my feelings onto the person at the till… It’s not their responsibility to deal with my shit– or your shit for the matter — Everyone has their own crap to deal with, and I’m not about to make the shit-list longer for either of us.

Anyway, the moments of gratitude that would find me here often held me on the brink of tears. Struggling with finances while funding daily lattes at Starbucks got expensive. I was spending an average of $6 every day just at Starbucks– That’s $180 a month on cafe lattes, like Damn!

Financial stress is terrible, because it forces you to think about every penny spent… I’ve had more days standing at the “meats” section of a grocery store paralyzed in thought over a package of ground beef for $4.64 that was cheaper than the $5.76 package, but had less meat. Does racking your brain over marginal pennies and grams sound trivial to you? It should, because it is. But when you’re drowning in debt, the smallest choices are CRIPPLING. Scarcity is a terrible feeling, and the source of many, MANY demons.

Back to Lattes

$180 every month isn’t the most expensive thing in the world– or maybe it is, I don’t know what to think anymore — But it hurt to spend because it was:

  • A) more than my monthly gym membership
  • B) It was money that I was short on.

Two Other Reasons

Here’s the deal though,

  • A) I looked at it like an investment into my own business — my business being this blog and my notebooks.
  • B) It provided me a space where I felt productive that wasn’t at home.
  • C) I enjoyed it — At the end of the day, what am I working for if I can’t even enjoy a cup of coffee.

I learned the value of keeping your work, and your home separate when I used to live in New Brunswick. When I left CN in 2015, I became a personal trainer where I lived in, trained clients, and trained myself all under the same roof! And looking back on those days, it rubs off on me like a bit of a prison sentence, because life didn’t exist outside of those 4 walls.

But I knew better this time around.

Being outside of the house, with other people, with life buzzing about, brings a certain balance into my life that is productive, positive, and MORE social — since I’d be sacrificing my social life anyway.

At the end of the month, it was more than the coffee, and those $180 cafe lattes were justified.

My Brain Gets Side-Tracked, Back to Grace!

There were moments where I felt like the absolute worst with my finances, in my confidence, in my vision. I’d be so caught up in my own world, that the smallest act of kindness would be emotionally overwhelming.

It was 6 months of sleep deprivation — and more— while working a 70+ hour work week, I’d still manage to fit the time in to work on my notebooks.

The barista’s had come to know more about me at the time — not of my problems, but my regular face, my smiling personality, and my terrible dad jokes. Even more-so, I bonded with one of the Barista’s who had just walked the Camino Norte– Synchronious encounter– Makes you think right.

Turning into a regular meant that I’d sometimes get the odd tea, or coffee for free, and these were the small acts of kindness that made me cry sometimes. Hell, even now I can feel emotional as I write this sentence because I remember how much life hurt at the time, and how appreciative a small gesture like that made me feel.

I wont be the last to say it, but it’s the little moments that have the most impact. They are often the most meaningful because that little level of support you get when you need it most is unasked for, and completely selfless. Whether they know it or not, people just seem to sense that it will do you some good in your life, without any expectations to return the favor.

So yes, thank you world for the many moments in my life that brought me to tears. The moments so perfectly placed that held me steady on my feet, just when I thought that I was about to fall.

Mind You

It wasn’t all shit– I make it sound like I was entirely miserable, but I moved to the west coast for a reason– it lined up in helping me grow my lifestyle and my experiences.

Yeah it was hard. I encounter barriers and resistance in my life just like everyone else. But, what I am really trying to say is that my monkey-mind ruins my mood, and ruins it often with any chance it gets because it feeds off of my fears, and insecurities. Behind all the bullshit, life was good because I decided to take action despite the misery inducing thoughts of self limitation.

If You Want to Take Control of Your Life, Take Control of Your Body

Life was good because I had control. I would go out on days when I felt terrible for the sake of just moving.

I would snowboard loads — a skill I just learned and got pretty good by the end of the season.

I mean kicking it up to speeds of 80km /hr under control is pretty damn good I’d say. I will always be an athlete so shit comes naturally to me, but a big thank you to my Whistler roommates for facilitating part of the process–for the tips, tricks, and observational analysis.

If I wasn’t snowboarding, I was rock climbing in the gym– stretching, and moving my body, releasing any emotional tension that would manifest itself physically.

If I was working the bus shuttle, my downtime between pickups in Vancouver was spent having a decent meal, or sleeping in the bus, or van… But, sometimes I moved too.

Finally, when I wasn’t at Starbucks working on my own stuff, I was at staff housing sleeping on the top bunk.
What wasn’t I doing?

  • Well, I wasn’t out partying. I drank maybe on 4, or 5 occasions in 6 months.
  • I wasn’t watching TV or movies.
  • I wasn’t wasting my damn time on anything that didn’t serve my vision.

It was pure production, I would do it over, and over, and over again because it became part of my life. Developing the motor to work, and produce is forever ingrained in me because I have seen how it develops my person to another level. This is something that I am sold on, and I am 100% committed to Personal development– All day, everyday! And that, is how I define WORK.

Despite the negative crap I felt, I felt equally empowered because I would meet my barriers with sheer determination, and with rage. These barriers exist entirely within myself, and that is what drives me, to keep fighting inside of myself, to never settle or put down. A mentality that has been burned into me by my father, by my coaches, by my idols, and now by MY SELF.

The First Step Towards Independance Is PRACTICING SELF-RELIANCE.

“Never give up” my father would say

“It’s okay to get knocked down, as long as you get back up” my coaches would say.

My idols would all drum a similar beat.

My favourite quote is so simple, and redundant– A quote in part from Winston Churchill’s speech during the great war.

“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never–in nothing, great or small, large or petty–never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

Prime Minister Winston Churchill. October 29, 1941.

The important thing here is the fact that I now speak the same message.

Next Chapter

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The gig that I got lined up for in terms of qualifications and experience was AmeriCan Adventures. The job description detailed a position as a tour leader responsible for organized hiking/camping/lodging tours across the Canadian Rockies. The mentioned perks were awesome, the pay was great, and the lifestyle that came with it was unreal!

When I read the description for it on Indeed.com — an online job board — It seemed too good to be true– But that wasn’t the case, because it was real!

Basically, I got paid to live a lifestyle that I wanted to do on my own time anyway. I got paid to hike, to camp, to have a good time with people, and to travel through some of the most iconic places that the West Coast of Canada has to offer. It was great, talk about a REAL DREAM JOB.

The application process for this job happened part way through the winter season where I traveled 4 hours to Seattle, Washington for an in-depth orientation.

I slept in my Jeep on my way out– I got super cold — and I showed up a few minutes overdue because of issues with my Canadian credit card trying to pay for parking — I didn’t pay, I got a ticket, but f**k it, I had a committed event to attend to, and I wasn’t going to think over a $50 ticket to miss out on a chance that I wanted.

Though the job wasn’t guaranteed, the orientation went smoothly. I was confident that I would get it, and in all honestly it was a job that I looked at as I was applying and said to myself “I’m getting this f**king job”.

Side Note: That’s the power of your intentions, they are super powerful when you can openly look at something with 100% clarity and drive to say I am doing this. It’s an important thing to have —Vision, alongside a genuine reason.

Side-Side Note: There are more things at play, obviously things can happen that you can’t control. I could have easily not have gotten the job for whatever reason. But, when you put it into your mind, and commit your reason to your vision– that sort of energy starts to emerge itself outside of yourself to the point where people can sense it.

The orientation ended on a social note — with food and drink downtown Seattle. But I cut the night short to make the drive up to Whistler for work the next day. It was a long day, and the night brought heavy rainfall, alongside bad visibility. I pulled into a rest area and passed out in the back of my Jeep– again. This time to say, I burnt half a tank of gas idling the engine trying not to freeze. It was still pretty cold considering it was early March– Or, was it January?… Sold on it being March.

Carrying on, I arrived in Whistler at 8am to an awesome surprise! The rainfall in Bellingham meant snow for Whistler because the storm blanketed the village entirely! I was completely surprised, and really excited! Still unsettled from 2 nights of dodgy sleep in my Jeep, I overlooked a proper nap, grabbed my board, and set out for the slopes.

I was out on the mountain for a full 6 hours of boarding before riding back to staff housing, only to hop back into my Jeep to go straight to work, only to make a 2 hour drive back through Vancouver– halfway back into the direction I just came from– to make a drop at the airport, to pick up another group, and to make another 2 hour drive back.

I felt like a bag of shit– Completely totalled!– But, this quickly translated into the mentality and motto that inspires my current lifestyle…

Do Stuff Anyway!

If I let every damn moment where I felt tired, sad, unmotivated, or depressed control my life, I wouldn’t do very much at all.

Let me emphasize that again… I wouldn’t do very much AT ALL!

I know this because I can feel like crap often. But I’m not complaining about it either, I’m simply telling you how I feel.

Sometimes I hate making this statement because I hate hearing people follow up with the words,

“Stop Complaining”

Because that is not the case, and this is about me right now in explaining that my body often feels like shit. Things are exacerbated when I find myself tossing and turning at night because my body feels uncomfortable from stiffness, or general pain. Sometimes, this makes my mind fog up, and as a result I don’t want to do shit more than 90% of the time.

It’s not a matter of complaining, its a matter of trying to get whoever is reading this to understand that 90% of the time motivation for action is nowhere to be found.

Honestly, most days I’d really love to just lay there and just die– Ha! Okay maybe not, but I’m sure a lot of people can relate to the feeling. How many people wake up everyday wanting to hit the snooze– if they haven’t already.

The point that I’m trying to drill is that instead of listening to that crap, –or waiting for motivation to come about– I’ll get my ass up, and out the door. If you want to walk away with meaningful experiences, you have to accept the chores of life and Do Stuff Anyway.

What About Rest?

What about rest? People can say, “man, slow down, rest, recover”…

No, rest is overrated, because nothing makes me feel better– both mentally and physically — than movement!

I’m not saying run yourself into the ground everyday, I’m saying move everyday. Sweat everyday, explore movement, and practice working up your breathing, everyday.

MOVE YOUR DAMN BODY MAN!

That is one obvious fact, not just for me– but for everyone!

I’ve had a lot of injury from training, and from sport. What I have learned over time is that your mind, and your body are connected– obviously. One state influences the other. I.e. Your mind can influence your physical body, and your body can influence your mind– Obviously.

So movement for me– and everyone else in the world, for that matter— is healthy for a positive existence… OBVIOUSLY!

One of the most profound quotes that I’ve heard was from Kelly Starett–a movement and mobility expert within the Crossfit comunity— He said something along the lines of,

“Squatting is like breathing for your hips” — Dr. Kelly Starrett

Think about that next time you find yourself sitting at your desk, your couch, your car, and most other places.

Let’s revisit the complaint department for a second.

The thing about complaining is that it is negative– I’m sure that we can all agree — but, there is power in that negativity.

Acknowledging the negative side to your personality is important, because it brings BALANCE into your life. WE ARE HUMAN, and naturally, we can’t know what positivity means without embracing the negative qualities of this world, and our existence.

So take that shit in with stride– Feel it, learn from it, let it go, and experience better days. When the good days end, guess what– Repeat the process.

We have hangups as individuals because we want to feel good ALL THE TIME– I know, I do– But, we need to remind ourselves that this is not possible. This world,–time, and the universe– is cyclical, and life’s rollercoaster moments, are one and the same.

Always remember that, we can not know what good is, without knowing what bad is. We can not know happiness, without sadness. We can not know peace, without war.

Extremes need to exist in order to live with balance. Again to reiterate, we can’t be positive, without being negative. 

“Tell me about the Camino, this is like an autobiography that I didn’t want to read”

In part, this “autobiography” is a Camino because it is the result of my first journey, and it is the build up to my second one.

Littermature

Read Part Two:
In The Prelude of Experience: Intentions of A Camino, 1010+ KM on Foot From the Heels of French Airspace to the Lip of Spanish Waters. Pt. 2.

One thought on “In The Prelude of Experience: Intentions of A Camino, 1010+ KM on Foot From the Heels of French Airspace to the Lip of Spanish Waters. Pt. 1.

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