I want to preface the first volume of my blog by explaining why I’m doing it. Coming back from 3 weeks off from work, my mind is clearer than it’s ever been. That’s a naturally euphoric feeling. These are my thoughts, so take them with a grain of sea salt.
What is the goal of this blog? To be short, it’s to have the faintest hope that reading this might open the minds of those who don’t take time to travel, to be uncomfortable, to get out of their element, to open themselves up to other cultures, values, or morals. It’s the hope to inspire you to take a trip and experience for yourself that indescribable feeling that I get when I travel. Traveling leads to experiencing places on this beautiful, sensitive ecosystem of earth. Experience personalities, cultures and lifestyles you never knew were there. And experience a part of yourself you never knew existed until you packed your pack and took a journey. I’ve been lucky to have shared trips around the world with my closest friends and family.
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch
Nootka Sound - 50th parallel north | Chapter 1 |
Once ruled by the Nuu-chah-nulth Natives, this harsh yet bountiful sea and land were the center of the world for 20 years around 1774 during the Maritime Fur Trade.
Today…it was the center of my world. The center of my mind reset before starting the next career chapter in my life. (Blue Jeans Network -> Wizeline).
World-renowned Salmon, Halibut and Lingcod fishing with frequent encounters with whales, dolphins, seals, bald eagles diving for fish, otters and friendly Canadians, even some natives. Walking the shores, there is an abundance of seaweed, oysters, clams and mussels if you indulge. Lots to live off the land here. That's probably why they filmed the new History Channel show Alone 40km north of where our campsite was. What makes that show interesting are the harsh conditions of the region. There's an exorbitant amount of mosquitoes, wolves, bears and cougars — one of the highest concentrations in the world, home to 1/4 of cougar-on-human attacks in North America. Out there, we are not at the top of the food chain.
Arriving back in San Francisco into full service (@Joey), I immediately got the feeling that I was on the grid and behind for some reason. So, "like a mosquito buzzing around a nudist camp, I have a lot to do"… But do I?* Spending a lot of time with your best friend, new friends and alone, you dig into your thoughts. You look back at where you have come from, you look forward at what challenges are next. More importantly, you look at the now. Nature forces that on you because of its beauty. Many times I tried to capture the moment and just ended up putting my camera(s) down, taking it in for my own mind to experience.
One moment in particular sticks out in my mind. Paddling back after that sunset kayak, nite-bite jigging, the sun dropped fast. The waters were glass reflecting the faint mirror of the glowing sky. Riley and I had to make it back to camp given the moon was a sliver and we had minimal light, but time didn't exist. A long segment of paddle rhythm later, I looked up to find the Milky Way emerging across the sky accompanied by all the other pulsating stars. I stopped paddling, leaned back and stared up for some time to soak it in. When I returned to paddling I noticed the V-shaped wake from my canoe was glowing phosphorescent blue. Every paddle caused a blue hurricane swirl of phosphorus phytoplankton to beam, slowly dimming as my kayak passed by the thousands of glowing friends beneath me. I was passing by their space and it was as if they were just all waving hello in the form of an enchanted pulse of light. Almost as if it was a reflection of the night sky above.
“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” ― Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything
It’s moments like that, when you begin to look inside and appreciate those things you have around you and those things close to you at home (friends and family). You marvel at the beauty of this planet, Mother Nature and all of its creatures (including us). You also realize how small and insignificant we all are in the scheme of things. How fragile Mother Nature really is.
So please, pack a bag of the basics, and hit the road. Alone or with someone. Make sure that someone is the type of person you can sit with in complete silence and not have that silence evoke feelings of obligation or awkwardness. Someone who can roll with all that can go awry during the journey. That is a true friend...and a great travel companion. Nothing is ever going to happen according to plan, but its how you both deal with those events (similar to events in life). I view those events as positive regardless of what goes wrong. It strengthens the friendship, makes the path more uncertain and morphs wandering into the journey. At the end of the journey you will be a better person.
Special thanks to Riley, Dafni my new Canadian friends (Capt Ron, Helen, Greg, Ed)