Saturday, 1 October 2011

"What is architecture anyway? Is it the vast collection of various buildings which have been built to please the varying taste of the various lords of mankind? I think not. No, I know that architecture is life; or at least it is life itself taking form and therefore it is the truest form and therefore it is the truest record of life as it was lived in the world yesterday, as it is lived today or ever will be lived. So architecture I know to be a Great Spirit... Architecture is that great living creative spirit which from generation to generation, from age to age, proceeds, persists, creates, according to the nature of man, and his circumstances as they change. That really is architecture."

Frank  Lloyd Wright, In the Realms of Ideas

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

into the wild

Just a short post to say it will be my last for two-three weeks! We're setting off on Friday, and as we're camping the whole way and camping whilst we're (even more) north there's not much point me having my laptop and it's heavy, so I'm mailing it to Mick's cousin in Vancouver to pick up before I go home!
It's a glorious day, I cannot explain to you fully enough - nor can I show you, because I'm using a cafe's wifi and it's painfully slow and I do not feel like sitting here for an hour uploading pictures! I imagine I'll just have a massive Yukon photo dump when I get home... 
So, Friday. I am so excited, yet so nervous! I've been doing my usual excessive list-making and getting stressed out to the point where afternoon naps have become a normal thing because my brain's too tired! I really just want the day to come and to just go, this waiting is making me mad! I'm trying to keep in mind that it doesn't matter how much preparation I do or how much I buy, I am still going to be underprepared so trying not to get to crazy about it! It's going to be such a challenge, the highlight of my trip I am sure! 
I'm not sure what else to say really except wish us luck and I will talk to you guys soon! 

Monday, 1 August 2011

Top Image I didn't take! From
A map of Canada, because I felt it was about time you lot saw how bloody big it is! Also nice for you guys to have an idea of how bloody north I am aha!
Also a map of Yukon itself, so you can see where I will be travelling and the river I'm canoeing on!

So after a brutal 3 day journey, we are finally here in Whitehorse, Yukon! Well actually we arrived at 3am yesterday, but as the hostel didn't open 'til 8 we had to sit in Tim Hortons freezing our arses off and looking like absolute hobo's (it was cold so I was wearing a raggy old tuque of Mick's and wrapped in a grey blanket that we found for $4 in Zellers, that under the ingredients list says '50% polyester, 50% unidentified material). Because of the way our layovers worked, we hadn't really slept for the whole journey, and when we had it was that travelling-kind-of sleep - you know the kind where your cramped and you wake up and roll off the seat because the bus has jerked or some babies crying or you're dribbling on the person next to you etc etc... Mick's dad has so many air miles so we used those to get a flight from Toronto to Edmonton, the equivalent of a three day bus journey that we were originally going to endure, but that left at 6.30am meaning that we had to leave Peterborough at 3 so didn't sleep that night! The flight to Edmonton's four hours but because of the time difference it meant that we arrived there at 8.30am, well effectively 10am once you take in the typical flight delay! We then had a layover in Edmonton until midnight that day, which was spent drinking coffee, eating obviously-a-drug-front chinese food, then more coffee. Had had quite a lovely time on the bus despite the lack of sleep - for the most part Mick and I were sat right at the front so could see everything. Except, there was nothing... in terms of civilisation! We've been told that Yukon really is 'wild' but you don't really understand how much so until you get there, I don't think. We drove on the Alaska highway, a road which by English standards would definitely not be called a highway, which was so up and down and round the bend I thought we might just die a few times. Not to mention the bus driver was a bit mental... Absolutely loved the guy though! He was an Essex boy! Couldn't tell from his accent because he was also black so had that wonderful immigrant English going on, but he drove rather fast and at one point, on the wrong side of the road. I'm not kidding! He almost ran over a sheep and drove off the cliff, such quality. SAW SO MUCH WILDLIFE THOUGH. I SAW LIKE FIVE BEARS AND THE MOOOOOSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cannot tell you how excited I was to see the moose. The driver was looking out for them for me and told me that I was very lucky to have seen that many and I should travel with him more often (: Absolutely wonderful.

But we're here, alive. And so so so stoked on life I do not know how to explain! We're staying in a hostel called Beez Kneez downtown, owned by a friendly lady called Nancy. She's rather funny, she does everything herself so often is running round with piles of bedcovers but always has time to pop into the room to make us all laugh with a story... It's a tiny hostel, smaller than some of my friends houses back home! I much prefer these kind of places to corporate HI's though, they have so much more character! We're staying in a cabin aka glorified shack in the back garden (pictures up at some point!) which has a giaaaant comfy amazing bed in it. I don't want to leave but due to lack of funding tomorrow we're moving to a campsite!

Yukon is a strange place, it really is. I couldn't possibly explain how but you would understand if you were here. We're in the capital city (not really like the others though - there's no high rise buildings, only 25,000 people live here, which is actually 75% of the Yukon's population) and yet we feel like we're right on the edge of the wilderness. I suppose we are, in a sense. We're surrounded by mountains, but it's totally different to Lake Louise. Yes Lake Louise was tinier and isolated still but it wasn't the same - I mean a city was two hours away, whereas this is the city! And the people are different. But how could they not be in somewhere so isolated? Apparently they only get weirder the further north you go...

WHICH WE ARE, BY THE WAY. I am hoping I get to tell my dad about my plans before he reads this. Please don't have a heart attack! 
I'm so excited I can barely contain myself. On Thursday Mick and I are setting off on an 8 day canoe trip along the Yukon river, from Carmacks to Dawson City! (See map) For 8 days it's just us and the river, hopefully not a bear. We'll be canoeing all day and then camping at night, wherever we desire. No electricity, no shower, no proper toilet... Such an adventure. I feel like I'm selling it really badly but honestly it'll be the craziest thing I've ever done. I cannot wait for the sense of freedom... It's so strange because I've been wanting to go to Yukon for a while and kayak, and whenever people asked me what my plans were that's what I said, but even as I said it I felt a little bit like it would never happen. The same way when I told because I wanted to go to Canada and live in the mountains near a lake it wouldn't happen either. BUT IT BLOODY IS. kdjas,fndskfhsdjkfhsdkfhsdlalsdjask Isn't it wild? It's so mental. I can't get over it. Got to spend the whole day tomorrow sorting out renting stuff and buying food and dum de dum...

Ah, I'm too excited now to type anymore. Hope you enjoyed the update though! I'm hoping to get another one in before we set off, but if I don't, if you haven't heard off me in two weeks though I've probably died, into-the-wild style, haha! (Probably shouldn't joke about that... oops!)

Friday, 8 July 2011

leaving the lake

I'm slacking aren't I - I can't believe I haven't posted since May! I've been meaning to but I have the kind of attitude where I want to catch up on everythinggg so I can't be bothered, but it's a bit of a downwards spiral considering that the longer I leave it, the more and I have to catch up on and thus the less I do! I'm currently sat in a hostel in downtown Ottawa - it is a long story of how I got from the Lake to here!

So I left Lake Louise just over two weeks ago, but it feels like I've been away forever. I can't fully explain the sadness I felt when I left that place! I met so many wonderful people, lived in what I am sure is one of the most beautiful places in the world, had life-changing experiences that produced potentially hours of stories. On June 22nd stepped onto the Greyhound a completely different person to the terrified one who stepped off back in December. Lake Louise is always going to have such a special place in my heart - I suspect I may find myself revisiting it far off in the future, when the 40-year-old me in the middle of a breakdown craves nostalgia of the place that made her realise she was free. 

ARGH! Talking about it makes me sad. I miss it so much! I miss everything! The mountains, the trees, my walk to work over two rivers, the small town atmosphere... I miss knowing everyone! Today I went to the post office to send some money to my Dad and the lady was so unfriendly - back in the Lake, there's a lady called Jean who works at the depot, AND SHE'S THE BEST LADY EVER. She told me and Mick we were two of her favourites haha, and that we weren't allowed to leave... Word up Jean, I love you and miss you!

I even miss working at Laggans! AND MY REGULARS. (Just posted all the pictures - man, I miss everyone...) The old bloke in the photo with me is probably my favourite person, ever. He's called Jim, is a garbage man for Parks Canada and absolutely loves it. He has the exact kind of eccentricity that I want to have when I'm older, he's lived such a crazy life and is always telling me stories! He lived in the Himalayas doing research for like twenty years so the air made him kind of loopy, but that's the best thing about him! I have an inkling that I was his favourite too - when he'd come in the bakery he'd always say something daft like 'it's the light of Manchester!!' - did I mention, he loves Manchester! We had the best chats, Gene (the boss) would always tell him off for distracting me haha XD I miss the bloke... He took down my contact details because he has a friend who's daughter is going to UCL next year! She's from Nepal and so is obviously really nervous about everything, I'm excited to meet her! 

Oh and the moustaches... yea, that was partially his idea. We were brainstorming what ridiculous things I could do to commemorate my last day, and he came up with "I think it would be a really great idea for you to have a beard". I couldn't get a beard, but I remember a few months ago before Mick left for Vancouver I was raiding through his stuff and laughed upon finding stick on tasches... Never then did I realise that they would come in handy! So on my last day I decided to abuse my supervisor position and force everyone on my shift to wear tasches. Jim also died laughing when he came in XD It was a good morning, but sad... all the regulars came in because I'd drilled into them "Tuesday morning is my last shift!!" so there were a lot of goodbyes. I cried when I said goodbye to Jim! I miss that man! People were so taken aback by the tasches, so amusing! At one point I turned round to face a customer and he actually flinched. I'm happy not to be working anymore but I loved working at a place where everyone you work with is like family and so many customers are friends. 

Seeing as I haven't posted for so long, I never talked about my new housemates! I lived with Marie Michelle and Carolane til the end, but about three weeks before I left two guys moved in, Colin and Jacob, both musicians and both from Ontario. We clicked instantly, I loved the short time I had with them, I only wish it had been longer! It was fun to live with guys after having spent six months with only girls. If only I had the time and the effort to document all the moments we had! I know in two years when it's a memory I'll regret it, but currently it's so vivid in my head that I still laugh thinking about it and it feels like I'll never forget, even though I will. Stupid me! 

The weather during May and June was beautiful and we'd taken to spending a lot of our evenings sat outside in the middle of Saddleback. On my last night we had a party outside, which is where the big group photo is from! I miss our little set up, consisting of mismatching chairs, a car seat that we had to rescue for the garbage as it had to be removed from C4's deck because the boss saw it as being, direct quote, "too ghetto", a bench, a rope-wheel-turned-table, and crates. Perfect. 

Oh and the cake! It was such a surprise, I was so chuffed. Read what it says - sounds wierd ay? It's actually really funny, and in a way, appropriate. There was a lot of Quebecois (French people from Quebec) working at Laggans when I left, and in French, when you tell someone you miss them, if you directly translate it into English it's 'you will miss me' - hence the mistake! I love the Quebecois girls, miss them so much!

It's really hot and sticky and I'm hungry, so I think I'm going to save stories of the bus ride and adventures in Ottawa 'til the next post... To sum this one up, I just miss everything! I was sad for it to end but at least it's the beginning of something new. I'm excited!

Monday, 23 May 2011

herbert lake

Last week Mick managed to convince me to cycle up the highway (and by up, I mean uphill, dear god) to a place called Herbet Lake. Mick always manages to convince me to do what appears to be daft or unachievable things, but I'm glad he does 'cause in the end it is always worth it. Like climbing the spindly tree in the middle of Saddleback, in my pyjamas. (Photos of this one soon). So excited for Yukon adventures.

Anyway, Herbet lake is the only lake in close vicinity that you can swim in in the summer, as the others and the rivers are glacier fed so are cold all year round. I don't think I'll get the oppurtunity to swim here - it was a super warm day but as you can see it's still mostly frozen over! Spent a few hours getting stupidly burnt (well I did anyway - I was only out for three hours but the sun is so strong at this altitude! Combine it with suncream though and it makes for really fast tanning!) and playing with sticks. I really like riding my bike.

deux petit pois

Now you have a better idea of what I meant when I said we had a ghetto porch. Photos from the day Crystal left, two weeks ago, that I'm only just getting round to uploading. Look how sunny it is - isn't it surreal that we have weather like this the day after the photo from the last blog post? (The one about the last day of the ski hill being a snow storm!) We've had pretty beautiful weather the majority of the time in the past two weeks, although it's raining today. Can't say I've missed the rain... Drank rather ridiculous amounts of beer but not all at the same time so really it doesn't feel that bad. There's something about sunshine that makes sitting on the porch with friends listening to good music/live music (my housemate has a guitar that he likes to whip out at every opportunity,thankfully he's good!) with a can of poohouse seem like the best thing in the world. Working a lot these days, I curse myself when the alarm goes off at 4.45 but when you eventually get let out of the madhouse/dungeon (oh yea I do kitchen now! Be proud Daddy!) at 1.30 and the sun is out and you're watching fellow workmates get clicked at by Brazilian customers, I am so thankful. Even if I work the morning again the next I figure the best thing to do is be drunk by 3, pass out by 10 and you're good by the next morning. Always seems to work for me!

And because this is amazing, it's going to on here because I want to remember it forever:

You know I miss you, I miss our walls
Just shout whenever, and I'll give you a call
You want my love, you want my heart
For 6 weeks we'll have to be apart :(

Are we an item? Girl, quit playing
Just housemates, what are you saying?
Say there's another and look right in my eyes
Mon petit pois broke my heart for the first time
And I was like...

Baby, baby, baby oooh
Like becki, becki, becki, noo!
Like baby, baby, baby oooh
I thought you'd always be mine (mine)

For you I would have done whatever
And I just can't believe we don't live together
And I wanna play it cool, but I'm missing you
I miss our couch sessions, even our creepy missions
And I'm in pieces, baby fix me
And just shake me 'til you wake me from this bad dream
I'll drive far, far, far, far.
And I just can't believe were 3520 kilometers apart.

And I'm like
Baby, baby, baby oooh
Like becki, becki, becki nooo
Like baby, baby, baby oooh
I thought you'd always be mine.

Now I'm all gone, gone, gone, I'm gone :(

CRYSTAL I MISS YOU SO MUCH. Lake Louise isn't the same without you! See you in four weeks!

Monday, 16 May 2011

may 8th

The last day at the ski hill - in the 2 weeks prior to this date it had hardly snowed and so the quality was going to be rubbish... or so we thought! When it actually came to the day and I was strapping myself in for one of the last times with tears in my eyes (slight exaggeration but you get the point!), on came a snowstorm. So. Much. Snow. You could barely see anything! In the photo there are huge beautiful mountains behind me, you wouldn't believe it would you! I made Mel take this photo of me because I wanted evidence of the fact that, yes, on May 8th, it was still snowing this much. Absolutely mental, considering the tan lines I have from the past week... (More on that in the next post - I only use the internet once a week, if that, so I have to do all my posts at the same time... nevermind!)

Thursday, 5 May 2011

I love the mountains. I can't imagine looking out of my window and them just not being there anymore - I realised this the other day, when Crystal was showing me photos of home for her (Ottawa), and I was like, there is something missing... It's because the sky was empty.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

a kettle and two pans

I've been told, by horrible, mocking, people, that the weather in England has been rather lovely of late. Well er yea, here the temperature still regularly drops below -10 and never exceeds +5. The longest winter of my life thus far, although surprisingly bearable, due to the almost constant blue skies and sunny days. Brief, bad-quality photos depicting mine and Crystals two-hour effort to clear the brutal amounts of snow (and as we discovered, inches of ice) off our porch, with only a plastic shovel and a plank of wood. Oh and several kettles-and-pans-worth of water. By the end, Crystal's hands were twitching, our feet were soaked and the porch was still half covered. It was the next day that we realised that our porch never actually gets any sun anyway - a realisation which I was, and still am, quite upset about. Looks like I'll be carting our garden furniture and eating tea in the car park.

Oh, by the way, this is what the sky looked like:

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

the fifth housemate

On Sunday, Jacqui & Hanna move out. On May 10th, Crystal moves out. This is our Justin Bieber shrine, a corner of our living room devoted to all things 'Beibz', created by Crystal as a result of her catching 'Beiber fever'. Can't say I've caught it yet myself, but it's things like this that make me love our housemates and what our house is. I have a feeling Gene might make us take them down during our house inspection - well, he's got a fight on his hands. And even if he threatens us with no security deposit return (to which we will remove the posters and then drop to our knees begging for forgiveness - hey, $300 is $300!) as soon as his car pulls out they will be right back up again. And when my new housemates arrive, if they give me a strange look and think I'm weird, well I don't care. They wouldn't understand anyway, because this is mine and Jacqui's and Crystal's and Hanna's house. And until the day I leave, that is what it will always be, and Justin will remain. 

This was written last week. Jacqui and Hanna actually moved out the Sunday just gone :( Our two new housemates arrive today - in fact, they've probably just arrived at home now! Two French Canadian girls, I think they're called Marie & Carolyn, no idea about their age or anything else... I'm excited to meet them, but also quite nervous about the fact I'll be living in a house where everyone else shares a common first language. I have no problem with French people (obviously!!) I just more don't want to feel the isolation I first felt when I moved into a house with three Germans! We'll see...

winter to spring

Old photos that everyone who has my bookface has already seen, but I wanted to put them on here anyway 'cause they're the only ones I actually have of me snowboarding! The bottom one is a result of having fallen in a rather large tree well full of deep snow, making it rather difficult to get out...

THE SNOWBOARDING SEASON IS ALMOST OVER. May 8th. I just might cry. Call me daft, but have you ever tried it? There are not many things more perfect than carving your way down a powdered run on a sunny day. On one occasion a few weeks ago, after having come through some trees getting fresh tracks, I was so happy I thought I might die. When I finally succesfully landed a jump, I was on a high for hours. My friend Mel wants to leave here and go straight to New Zealand, where their ski season is just beginning, and then when that's ended, come back to Canada. It's a year and a half of winter, but I have to say I'm tempted. I can't believe that in under two weeks, it's over. Sounds like I'm talking about a lover, ay? Hahaha (: Really though. Although I'm sending all of my snowboarding stuff home, I doubt I'll really get to do it again for another three years (should I choose to stay at uni). I mean, there will probably be uni winter trips, but let's be honest it's so expensive that it'll probably be full of snobs. And I really hate rich  people. (It's my ultimate prejudice! I don't care if you're black! I don't care if you have one ear and one eye! I don't care if you were brought up on a council estate with a heroin addict mother! But if you're rich? Ew. Leave me alone...) And then there's the fact that I probably won't be able to afford to go anyway! As mentioned briefly in the previous post, I want to go live in France for a year post-uni. The intention is to work on a ski hill! Fingers crossed that snowboarding is like riding a bike so it won't be off to the bunny hill again with me! 

(I write these posts in advance when I'm not a home, so this was actually written last week despite being posted now, but I don't want to change what I wrote then, hence the edit!)

So despite the season ending Sunday my last day of snowboarding is actually tomorrow (because of work). I AM SO SAD I DON'T EVEN WANT TO THINK ABOUT IT. Me and Marj we having a conversation yesterday whilst sat on the 4:20 bench on the hill (don't worry, I'll take photos tomorrow, more on this later!) about missing snowboarding. We both go back to reality/start school in September, and she was saying about how she was scared that she'll miss snowboarding so much she'll drop out just to do another season. I am not scared to that extent, well, not yet. Probably because I'm one of these people that have difficulty accepting something is not going to be there anymore until it physically isn't. (For example - saying goodbye to people. I never really get sad until after they've left, and by then it's too late!) I don't know. Arg. 

Also! I am so lucky. I really wanted to send my snowboarding stuff home but it was gonna cost me at least $300, to which my dad was grumping say how it wasn't worth it... Even if was still gunna cost that, I would do it. I could never throw out my first snowboard! It means so much to me. Even though if I do another season I'll buy a new board, I will forever cherish my first, and fully intend to make a wall furnishing/table/bench out of it...
Anyway, to the actual point, I have a better way! Crystal's boyfriend Azar is English, from London, and he's visiting Crystal at the same time as me (actually a lot longer than me - he's staying for two months, myself for two weeks!) and so he's going to take my snowboarding bag home for me! It'll still cost, but I imagine will be more like $50 (you know the usual price for checking another bag), saving me so much money... Arg! Everything always works out in the end!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

plans for the future

This post is a long time overdue! I've been meaning to write one for a while, which is a bit daft really as I imagine what I would've been saying when I originally intended to write this is would be different to what I'm planning to do now...

So I think a while back, maybe in January, I wrote that I wanted to work at a summer camp before I left... Well this plan completely fell through, which is a shame, as I really wanted to do it! I was relying on my friend Brooke (who's worked there for the past couple of years) to talk to her boss to get it sorted for me, but it was one of those things where it's really not a good idea to rely on someone else... I pestered her about it for a good month or two but eventually just gave up and moved on. Just one of these things that can't be helped  I guess - sometimes there's only so much you can do! 

Things have gone up from there though - I mentioned (well, screamed) in a past post about how Death Cab were going to Manchester and I was gutted because I couldn't afford the tickets for here... Well, the girls (being a certain Sophie, Kathryn & Laura) bought the ticket for me! It was possibly one of the nicest surprises ever and pretty much cemented my decision in deciding to give up bothering Brooke about summer. Before the gig tickets it was actually bothering me slightly, not knowing what to do in the summer... Originally, I was going to leave Lake Louise at the end of the ski season (early May) travel for a month, then go to work at this summer camp for two months, earn shit loads of money and come home in august a tanned, rich and happy larry. The Death Cab concert however is at the end of May, and they are only playing in Calgary & Edmonton (two cities in the province I am currently in, Alberta) which meant that if I was sticking to the summer camp plan then I would have to stick around Alberta/BC so wouldn't be able to travel all that much, which would not be good! Bit of a dilemma... but now I'm seeing Death Cab everything is sorted out. It's like they guided me :') I'm going with Jess to see them, and we're travelling nine hours each way to Edmonton to see them. No joke! We could've potentially seen them in Calgary but the venue was bigger and there was only seating tickets left, and I do not want to be sat down and far away at my dream gig. I. AM. SO. EXCITED. It's gonna be a brutal journey but worth every second, and cent, I think. I hope they play a Lack of Colour. (Oh god, almost spelt it without the u then. England please forgive me...)

(Just to interject here. I really don't like the way I write, I think it sounds kinda retarded, which is probably why I don't blog that often. That and the hostel internet just does not agree with photobucket at all, only letting me upload a photo and a half before crashing. Goddamn mountains.)

I'm staying in Lake Louise 'til the end of June. I've been made supervisor, which is really good, because for one it's not much more than the usual go about - yano, serve a few pastries, make fussy latte skim extra-hot with a shot of vanilla and two shots of english toffee with no foam half sweet with two shots of expresso but in a large cup (I wish I was kidding) - except it's gunna look proper good on my CV and means I'll probably be able to apply for equivalent positions when I'm back home despite not having done much extra work. And I get $1 extra an hour! (Big woop - not.) 

The current plan is to leave Lake Louise between 20-22nd of June, then head across to Ottawa to visit CRYSTAL! I'm stoked. I'm planning to stay with Crystal for 2-3 weeks - We're going to spend Canada Day in Ottawa, which as it's the capital is obviously the best place to be. Everytime I tell people I'm spending the day there they're pretty much always in awe/super jealous. Crystal (who is French Canadian, I'm sure I've mentioned) also has an apartment in Montreal (technically her brothers, but now he's not in uni there anymore, she has free reign!) so we're gunna spend our time flitting between Ontario and Quebec. I AM SO EXCITED! It's gunna be a brutal journey though - originally I wanted to fly but couldn't find anything cheaper than $300, whereas the greyhound is $110. FOR A TWO DAY TRIP. Ah, I'll get a numb bum on a bus seat for 48 hours if it saves me 200 bucks. That is how strapped for cash I am haha! 

That'll take me to mid-July. Then there's around three weeks that I haven't actually planned out yet... Eventually I will get round to it! I've been tossing around ideas... The main one is that I really, really want to go to Yukon. It's the province above BC and next to Alaska (I realise I talk about Canadian geography as if you all know - I can't be bothered posting a map on here, go find one yourself!) that isn't widely inhabited. Most of Canada lives within some small hundred number of km of the US border, because the further up you get the more wild the terrain gets. I get mixed reactions when I tell people that I want to go to Yukon - a lot of people give me a funny look and don't understand why I want to go there. Apparently there's a lot of wilderness, but that's actually what I'm looking for... In an ideal world I want to kayak between the two main cities, Dawson City and Whitehorse, but it's like 700km and I don't think I'm quite ready for that yet haha XD. However in July there is the 'longest canoe and kayak marathon in the world... 3-5 days in the midnight sun' that I would like to see, preferably join in on but somehow I have a feeling that some pre-training might be involved. I'm hoping to travel Yukon with my good friend Mick, a rather sporadic Canadian boy from Ontario that work(ed - he's since quit his job) at the 'rival cafe' in the Lake Louise village. It's good because not a lot of Yukon has cell signal and, knowing my luck, probably has a high population of bears so it'll be good not to travel alone - not to mention Mick is a bit of a free spirit so I'll probably end up getting convinced into doing many a crazy thing that I wouldn't've of even considered had I been alone! There's also the worlds longest bathtub race in August, taking place between the same two cities. Yes, bathtub race. I shit you not. This is something we are considering entering, however I have a sneaky feeling that seeing as the race is 700km long they're not using your average B&Q bathtub. Hmmm, we'll see. I am SO excited about the Yukon though. It's a bit like Alaska in the sense that the people are slightly wierd and wonderful/backward. One of my managers, Suzanne, travelled there for three weeks when she was younger and said that she had more stories to tell from those three weeks then two months elsewhere. It's gunna be an adventure!

So that brings me to August. As I fly home from Vancouver at the end of August (although I haven't actually changed my flight yet, it's currently still sat on June 24th) I'm going to stay out west. The intention is to spend 4 weeks on Vancouver island, in a place called Tofino, which is a renowned surfer town. It's a bit like Lake Louise in the sense that it's a small town and the main focus is on something active (Lake Louise - snowboarding/skiing, Tofino - surfing). I'd like to try surfing, although my main interest is to kayak - apparently the sea kayaking around Vancouver Island is amazing. I'm hoping to volunteer at the HI hostel there, but I'm not sure if they offer that oppurtunity - the oppurtunity being, you volunteer housekeeping with them for 4 hours a day, 5 days a week, and they give you free bed. It would really help with my (lack of) money situation! My housemate Jacqui is volunteering at the HI in Victoria (the main city on Vancouver Island) so fingers crossed Tofino offers the same thing! She found the oppurtunity through something called 'woofing', (pronounced woo-fing, not wuff-ing, like the dog!) which is basically the concept of working not for money, but for bed and/or food. It's a website company that the travel company that sent her to Canada gave her automatic membership to, so I need to look into becoming a member to... There are loads of different kinds of woofing, for example, many people work on farms. It's definitely something I'm going to look into, incase this volunteering doesn't work out, as I'm not gunna be able to support myself accomodation wise for two whole months. (I'll get more onto this later...) I think I'll also spend a couple of days in Vancouver before I leave, because I didn't really get a chance to see the city when I first arrived due to being in a permanent state of stress.

So there you have it! It probably doesn't sound as exciting as I think it's gunna be. I suppose I haven't really gone in depth into what I'm planning to do - but as long as the hostels I stay at have wifi you'll see that as it comes! I'm looking into lots of other stuff, for example 'ridesharing'. Canada is fricking huge (obvious) and so getting round is an experience in itself - the main way I'll travel will probably be Greyhound bus but there's also hitchhiking, or the argueably more safe ridesharing, which is a website where people bascially post the journey they're making and when, hoping people will join them to pitch in for gas/be a second driver. I don't drive so can't help with the latter, but I really like the idea anyway! Being here has made me a lot more up for trying new things and meeting all kinds of people (sure my dad appreciates this too, haha..).

Even though I'm excited, I haven't actually got round to organising a lot of this yet, mainly because I'm furiously in denial about the amount of money I have. Currently I have around $800 in my account, which would be great, except I owe my dad $850. So really, I have -$50. It's just ironic because I buy less now than I ever have before - I just have to pay my own rent and my own food (which is ridiculously expensive) and until March I was having to pay my ski pass off. I have four paydays left before I leave (and one after I leave) so I'm hoping to pay my dad of immediately next payday and then just not eat for two months, ha. What's pretty good is that when I finish at Laggan's, I get a bonus of $1 an hour for every hour I've worked since I've been here, so that'll be between $900-$1000, and, if all goes well, I'll get the security deposit back on my house, which is $300. (If I don't get it back the shit will hit the fan as my house was filthy when I got there - the cupboards smelt of garbage and the bath was black). I can't help but feel worried - isn't it just so wrong that the only thing that's holding me back from doing everything I'd like to is money? So frustrating. I know full well already that however much money I have won't enough - but at the same time, isn't that always the case? I know I won't be able to kayak as much as I like. I know I'm going to be coming with barely any money and then heading straight to uni, in London, of all places. I'm trying my best to be chill about it though, because I've had bugger all money for the past four months of my life and they've been some of the best! I suppose it's just easier here because there's a lot I don't have to pay for that I would back home - e.g. I live with all my friends whereas back home they're all spread out, I live in the mountains so they're plenty to do that doesn't require money (well, snowboarding did at the beginning but doesn't now!) and I live in a town with seven shops and nothing else so there's not a right lot to spend your money on! I will be fine, I tell myself. It will work out.

And as for after Canada? Well, the rest of my life... Apparently friends back home have money on whether I'm actually going to come home or not, or if I do, whether I'll go to university. I can say now, I am definitely  coming home. (Actually, although I'm 99% sure, I shouldn't promise anything. Mick's cycling to Mexico in September...) Getting into UCL was so difficult, and I worked so, so hard throughout College that it seems like a waste to not even go and see what it's like. The problem was I worked myself so hard during College - never again will I do that to myself. So if I feel the same soul-crushing pressures and stress that I felt during college, I will be out of there, unashamed with my head high. You don't realise how much progress it is for me to be able to say that - previously, education was all the mattered to me. I would not fail. So if I got to UCL and hate it, and I leave, it's not failure anymore. Some people might see it that way - I don't. Those people? They can fuck off.

I have so many ideas though that it's almost tempting to forgo Uni altogether. I WANT TO TRAVEL EVERYWHERE!!!! for a start. (Well, not everywhere. Sorry North Korea...) Next summer, I want to do Europe. Originally I wanted to do the Eurorail ticket thing, but I've decided I'd rather cycle it, and idea which Sophie laughed shamelessly at me for, followed by 'ok, I'll take a really slow train, you can cycle beside it, and whilst I'm sat in my comfy chair I'll occasionally throw food at you'. I have the most encouraging friends. I am being serious! I love cycling. Absolutely love it. They say a car gives you so much freedom, but I am never gonna be able to afford one/afford to learn to drive one for a good few years, I don't think. So  why not get a bike? Yea you might get rained on and a permanently sore arse, but you get ripped as fuck, and get to appreciate your surroundings more. I am fed up of crappy buses. When I come home I want to get a bike (yes dad I don't know quite how I'll afford this yet but I'll get to that when it comes) and join the lyrca wearing/cycle club at Uni and just become brutal and cycle Europe. Er, yea. Not like, intensely cycle everyday for ten hours - you know, the kind of trip where the intention is to cycle - just cycle between where I intend to travel. Dream big, you know?

My dream for a long time has been to do East Asia - you know, China, Cambodia, Japan, Thailand, that lot... But I'm gonna leave that for a couple of years 'til I'm a more seasoned traveller. Or maybe I'll voltuneer in one of those countries to begin with. Maybe I'll do a TEFL course. Maybe I'll drop out of Architecture to study Japanese and go and live there. Maybe I'll do another working holiday in Australia or New Zealand. Maybe I'll do camp america and end up in jail for strangling children. Maybe I'll marry a Canadian and stay here. Maybe I'll pursue snowboarding and travel between the hemispheres, living in a permanent winter. Maybe I'll go live in France for a year after Uni. (Actually, I'm planning to do this, for real!) Maybe I'll cycle across every continent. Maybe I'll swim the channel. Maybe I'll decide to make more bags and pillows and open up my own shop. Maybe I'll run a cafe somewhere, with decor inspired by my adventures. Maybe I'll decide to study math instead and win a Nobel Prize. Maybe I'll fall in love. Maybe I won't. Maybe I'll travel forever. The only limitation, I have come to realise, is yourself. 

And then I chundered everywherrrrrrrrrrre. 

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

you could be happy and i won't know
but you weren't happy the day i watched you go 
and all the things that i wished i had not said 
are played on loops 'til it's madness in my head 
is it too late to remind you how we were?
but not our last days of silence
screaming, blur
most of what i remember makes me sure
i should've stopped you from walking out that door
you could be happy, i hope you are...
you made me happier than i'd been by far
somehow everything i own smells of you
and for the tiniest moment
it's all not true

Monday, 21 March 2011

on the back of a motorbike, with your arms outstretched trying to take flight, leaving everything behind...

Sunday, 20 March 2011

yoohoo, yoho

I never actually mentioned on the blog that I was going on this trip - last time I was online was before I went and I had full intentions of posting about how excited I was, but then I heard the news about the death cab concert and the last post came about instead!

So! Last week me and my friend Ryan went to the neighbouring national park, called Yoho (Lake Louise is in Banff national park), to a small town called Field. It's only twenty minutes up the highway, but it was so nice to be out of Lake Louise for two nights & two days! The town is even tinier than here (didn't quite believe that was possible, but clearly it is) - it doesn't even have any cell phone coverage! I didn't take my laptop either so it was actually a really nice aspect to be completely cut off from the world and without that type of technology. The reason we went is to go cross-country skiing, as Field has some really good trails. It was so much fun, but god I was knackered! Ryan's an advanced skiier and this trip was, what, my third time? The first day we did 26km, to a place called Emerald Lake. The trail was intermediate and I didn't do too badly, except near the beginning there was this massive hill that wouldn't've been out of place on the actual ski hill (honestly! kind of...) that I wasn't expecting. As I'm a snowboarder skiing feels really strange to me and I hadn't yet learned how to stop, so I was plummeting down this hill screaming my noggin off and panicked, mainly because I wasn't in control. With snowboarding, although I spend a lot of time terrified I'm confident that I know how to stop so I always still feel like I've got some control, whereas with this I was just a mess... I ended up going belly down at the bottom of the hill and burnt my arms as I wasn't wearing long sleeved. Didn't feel so bad though, as Ryan face-planted! Unfortunately I didn't get to see it as he went down before me, but on the way back he pointed out the hole where his face had landed, haha (: It's funny 'cause skiing can be so graceful, or so so terribly unattractive. I spent most of the time flailing around with pole and ski waving in the air, usually in opposite directions....

The conditions weren't the best, as you can see it was overcast both days, but it didn't bother me as if I'm being honest every day here is beautiful. When you're used to the gray days of Manchester hanging over miserable brick buildings, it can be a gray as it likes here but it just doesn't compare. The overcast-ness does however means my photos suck... I didn't take any of the actual Emerald Lake, which I wish I had! There had recently been an avalanche and all the debris was still on the lake, there was a couple of trees poking out of the snow which was amusing! 

The second day we did a shorter route as we were going home in the afternoon (and were exhausted from the previous day), I think it was only about 9km, to a place called Natural Bridge - given it's name as natural erosion from the river carved a bridge in the rock. I didn't get any photos of the actual thing, but the water photos and the bridge are from that place - my god, it was so beautiful! As I've already mentioned on the blog I'm fascinated by water and for some strange reason feel really at peace when I'm around it. It was only partially frozen so it was really good to sit on the bridge eating peanut butter & banana sandwiches contemplating life, the universe and everything. I'd like to see it in summer for sure!

The few indoor shots are from the hostel we stayed in - it was so nice I couldn't believe it! It wasn't a HI, just a large-ish house which meant for strange feelings on the first night... We had the hostel to ourselves (it was awesome!!!) on the first night but it felt like we were some randoms creeping out in someone elses house! The artwork is some of the stuff that was up, done by the owners sister-in-law... I really like the red one with the wolves. You can't really see it in these shots but it's actually painted on maps of field - reminds me of something my best friend did in GCSE art! And the food shelf masking tape label was fully unappreciated by me, as you can imagine.

Despite Field being smaller, I actually really enjoyed 'getting away'. One thing that Lake Louise is missing, because it's such a tourist trap, is just a chilled, eclectic cafe to hang out in. It was part of the grocery store actually but didn't feel like that at all, there was loads of ethnic style things everywhere + for sale, and wooden seats and benches etc. We ended up there on the last day, as we had difficulty getting home - we were supposed to be getting the Greyhound which is the most unreliable thing ever, so we went to the info centre at 3pm (bus was around 4) to find out what was going on and it turned out the road from Revelstoke to Golden was closed, meaning the Greyhound was gunna be two hours late, at least. The lady was like 'why don't you just hitchhike?' but we had our skis with us so it didn't seem like the best idea... So, we decided to go to this cafe and get drunk instead. A fully amusing experience, especially when walking to the highway involved crossing train tracks and snow banks. Of course I ended up on my arse thigh deep in snow, which resulted in a very kind Ryan helping me out a very horrible Ryan quickly pulling out his camera, the bastard. 

The 'bus stop' in Field doesn't actually exist - you just stand on the highway! It was so sketchy, and we didn't know if the bus was gunna turn up anyway... but that didn't matter, as we ended up unintentionally hitchhiking! We were just stood at the side of the road minding our own business when a truck pulled up (not like a lorry massive truck dodgey thing, like a car pick up er thing. yes) and was like get in! So we did, and got home safe (: Well, relatively. I was still drunk, and continued to get drunker. Oh dear, that's a story for another time...

It was a frickin awesome three days. I love skiing!!!!! Can't believe this is almost over. I'm trying not to think about it :Z