“There's a race of men that don't fit in, A race that can't sit still; So they break the hearts of kith and kin, And they roam the world at will. They range the field and rove the flood, And they climb the mountain's crest; Their's is the curse of the gypsy blood, And they don't know how to rest.”
- Robert Service

Monday, 15 September 2014

It's Just a Swing, Right?

I Have been meaning to share this video with you for a while. I keep thinking about it, and then giggling to myself. It's an inside joke that nobody knows about except for me....which makes it just a lame inside joke. But now you will see!!

Here's the backstory:

While we were in Queenstown, New Zealand, Mike and I knew that we  had to get in on the action that brings people to town - the insane adventure sports! We tried Canyoning again. We took a trip on a jet boat up river. Both easy-peasy on the "WTF have I gotten myself into?" scale. But I knew something bigger was coming. Mike had suggested it weeks earlier, and every day that I woke up in the campervan, I remembered we were one day closer to the thing that I was flipping out about. BUNGEE.

uuugh. Bungee. I flip-flopped endlessly about whether I should have done it. If you don't do it, you'll regret it forever. If you do decide to do it, you might literally shit your pants as they push you off....and the ride back up to the platform won't be pretty. I was having heart palpatations about the whole deal, all the while conflicted because I acknowledged that I already have a weird predilection for thinking about jumping off of high places (but that's another story, better saved for the shrink, I think....)

Anyway, on Go-Day I was faced with the choice. If I paid up (and a steep fee, indeed) but didn't jump I'd be both embarrassed and without a refund. 

And lo, option C came down upon me - The Nevis Swing! Peace of cake! I thought. No free fall, so it'll feel far less dangerous! I assumed.

Oh God. Please just watch the video and see just how "Peace of Cake-y" it was for me. Mike, on the other hand, decided to combo his thrills and tandem with me in addition to jumping off the bungee. He was so chill about it, he nonchalently asked if he could do the swing upside down. Showoff. Transcription below.
00:40 "Why am I doing this?"
00:49 "I can't believe you're doing this upside down"
01:03 "omigod"
01:08 Michael says something about how this should be easy.
01:09 "Shutup"
01:10 Bungee guy (BG) tells me to look at the camera and act like I'm not scared witless
01:19 BG "Come on now, give us a brave face"
01:20 F*%k
01:26 BG gives explanation about how I'm supposed to sit down and let my feet dangle over the edge
01:30 BG: "you can't go anywhere yet, love" Me: "WAIT!"
01:35 BG: "You can do it, just find your way down"
01:38 Me: "Holy F*&k!"
01:40 BG: "You can do it, you're still not going to go anywhere"
01:42 ME: "Sweetie, look at me. Am I going to live?" Mike:" Yes you are....nobody's died yet"
01:55 ME: "Don't say that last word!"
02:00 - explanation of how Mike is going to ride this beast upside down...

I have never screamed so genuinely in my life. I'm pretty sure I was still screaming as we passed the river. We have legit free-fall for FAR longer than I was expecting, and with the weight balanced so high, I went down almost face first.

Mike later said that he'd never seen me so frighetened in his life. I second that.

But watching this video again, I laugh every time I see myself do this. Well worth the loss of a pair of clean pants!


Saturday, 6 September 2014

There's Something in the Wind

My last post seems like an awfully long time ago. Truthfully, I've been meaning to write sooner, but I just really didn't think much interesting has happened. (Of course there has....)

The other day I had a "moment." I realized something that I just didn't 'get' before. Since Michael and I have taken up adventuring, the usual routine when things are ending is for me to be sad the trip is over, but happy that I get to return to the comforts of home. Michael could care less about these things, and usually pines on about just travelling for ever and ever, quite content not to return home at all. "That's so weird!" I would say. "Don't you  miss sleeping in your own bed, and showering in a tub that you know is clean? I love cozying up with a cup of tea and my knitting, and I can't bring those things with me when we're backpacking!" To which Michael would reply "not really. Not as much as I miss getting up every morning and knowing your job is to do only the things you want to do, and see something new and exciting every day!" And in a way, I didn't really get it. Of course I love getting out and seeing great things and trying weird foods and learning new cultures and all that jazz, but I didn't see it the same way Michael does. I could only stand being "uncomfortable" while I knew there would be a soft bed and my comfort things waiting for me later. (like the way you can stand backcountry camping for a while....)

But since I've been back to Sudbury, I've been restless, somehow. Bored. I make a to-list for myself almost every day, mostly to keep myself occupied. Most often, the list has at least a few of the same things on it, every day. Laundry. Clean the kitchen. Go to the gym. Clean something else. I add in "fun" things to keep the list less tedious, but even those things are the same (knitting. reading. watch favourite-tv-show-du-jour.) and I've been feeling rather uninspired. Yes, of course I should probably just put in a few other interesting things on my list, but that's not what I'm getting at. The other day, as I was standing in the gym thinking about the other things on my list that I really wasn't interested in doing, I thought "Man, I would not be having this problem if I was backpacking somewhere." And then I went "OoooOOh! I get it! This is the bit Michael has been getting at!"

So in honour of this lightbulb moment, I will be thankful for all of the adventures I have been on since I returned from Sudbury and fill you in.


I did a whirlwind day trip to Vancouver once I'd returned to Kamloops. Got on a greyhound bus at 3am, started my day in the city at 8 and walked around the city (shopping!), met a good friend at a wonderful café, and then hopped back on the bus at 6pm for the 5 hour return ride. I missed that city.

I took a wonderful friend of mine to Las Vegas for her bachelorette party. Highly memorable, though for obvious reasons I can't tell you much about it...except this picture:
of course Whistler the Gnome came to Vegas. As if!

Michael and I moved into our new apartment! Our landlords are dope and let me plant pumpkins in the backyard. Hardwood floors and a front door, to boot. I still have to bike to work and there's an extra ( as in, extra high) hill between me and my workday, but it's manageable.


In July, I ran away to summer camp. Camp Tanamakoon was wonderful for me last year, and really helped me to love being a nurse again. So how could I say no? Actually, the camp director asked me if I wanted to come back in January. I was sitting in a hotel room in Varanasi, and I had no idea if we were even going to be moving back to Sudbury at all, but even if we didn't I knew I could make it work. It was a good choice. Exhausting, yes. But I have some great memories to show for it!
Just a couple of the stellar young Counsellors and Trippers at camp!
Who wouldn't want to wake up to this every work day?
Mike and I also attended a sweet party in Toronto at the Royal Ontario Museum. This ain't no dusty-bones fete. It's a strobe-lit-live-band-street-food excellent night. I reccomend you attend if you're in the area. Dinosaurs are so much cooler under black-lights.


This was the grandest of our summer adventures, I'd say. But I'll try and be concise. My wonderful, beautiful friend Michaela was finally getting married in Edmonton and had asked me to be in the wedding party. Michael and I took this as an opportunity to see some friends and conquor the Rockies! Though Michael's plane ticket was mixed up and I had to fly to Edmonton alone, I was easily able to pick up the rental car and drive down to Calgary (with a short stop at the outlet mall en route) just in time for Michael's rescheduled flight to arrive. We met our friends in Banff for a couple of days of sweet hiking and excellent brewskies.
We four hiked to both mountain tea houses at Lake Louise. The 20km trek was rewarded with mint juleps at the castle's lounge.
But after our friends left us, Mike and I continued up the Jasper Parkway, through the mountains. Such excellent mountains! We stayed in "wilderness hostels" along the way, which I would highly reccomend if you're a budget traveller. They're like basic cabins the the woods (and don't have running water), far away from the tourist hoards.

I am demonstrating the gacier bahind me, called "The Claw"
This is pretty much standard fare south of Jasper.
The second half of the week was spent helping to set up Michaela's wedding. The wedding was beautiful, the bride looked fantastic, and we all cried when they said their vows. A highlight was hearing the groom (an accountant) profess "Dear Michaela, I love you very much and I'm so glad that I can finally change our status to 'married' on our tax returns." No joke. This was his opening line. I love these people! I was also in awe of how Michaela kept herself composed when her father took ill and had to leave the wedding just after the ceremony. She was phenomenal, and helped the party go on as if nothing was amiss. (She's very nearly a doctor, and I think that helps).

Later on in the month, I hosted an Indian -themed evening. While we were in Udaipur I was lucky to take in a cooking class and I'd brought home all the recipes. But what fun is that unless you can cook for your friends! Michael made sure to keep everyone entartained with an English-dubbed version of Jai-Ho, the Bollywood film we went to see when we were in Agra. Think: What would it look like if Sylvester Stallone tried to make a serious drama? (also, we decided against taking shots everytime someone went through a pane of glass. Oh God.)


Well, I suppose this chapter is just beginning. On Monday, we leave for a backcountry canoe trip through Killarney Provincial Park. I'm trying to convince Michael that this can be fun, though I'm starting to wonder that the 50km route might be....adventurous? I'm quite sure it'll be manageable, but either way it'll be memorable! Plus, I'm really quite excited to put paddle into water. I haven't done a trip like this in many years and I think of them as a bit of a rite of passage.


Our planned adventure is to finally try WWOOFING. Michael's scouted a farm on Manitoulin Island where we hope to learn hands-on about local and organic farming. So, basically our next two adventures are about learning how to stretch our arms around trees to hug them tighter!