My send off was unceremonious my friends on the island had all but stopped texting, and I could barely keep up with myself come September. I flew across Canada three times, across Europe, to the Caribbean and back twice all in the span of four months. It was an insane schedule and took a toll on all of my relationships. I felt guilty for not being there, I felt even more guilty that I decided to move again. I couldn’t bring myself to tell anyone.
My car was full of both my junk and my most prized possessions, my books and my photo gear, my business and all my memories from the last two years. I drove myself squished to the steering wheel to the ferries. I’ve timed my ferry rides with sunset since the moment I arrived in Victoria two years before and this was no exception. It turned from day to night over the hour and a half ride.
It only took a few trips down our skinny ally way, and up the stairs at the back of the house to bring my world indoors. It was a move to the city I’ve talked about, but surprised even myself when I decided to actually do it.
If you told me I would be living here a year ago I wouldn’t have believed you. I was in love with the island but after a week of debating and just a few hours of packing Jacqueline and I (my new roommate and friend from childhood) were sitting together on the scuffed hardwood, wine in hand, pizza on the way. No furniture to speak of but happy to be home. It was July since we had last seen each other, and both of us had been around the world since then. We spoke fast and laughed, catching each other up until my eyelids were heavy with jet lag and my muscles ached from the heavy lifting.
Welcome to the city, surprise, you live here now, and good night.
Lighthouse Park, Vancouver BC
“Of course, a writer’s journal must not be judged by the standards of a diary. The notebooks of a writer have a very special function: in them he builds up, piece by piece, the identity of a writer to himself. Typically, writers’ notebooks are crammed with statements about the will: the will to write, the will to love, the will to renounce love, the will to go on living. The journal is where a writer is heroic to himself. In it he exists solely as a perceiving, suffering, struggling being.” – Susan Sontag
I shipped my first journal home after I finished it, too much to carry and too much angst to fit in a backpack in Asia. As I arrived in Vancouver in 2012 I was on my third book of scribbles and thoughts. It overflowed with train stubs and maps, and was tied together with a leather cover that was no longer bound to the pages themselves. I found this map folded there; a remnant from a time I was still a tourist on the coast, between stories I’ll never let anyone read, and where of course I am my own hero.
Whistler, BC, Canada
A Marmot is a particularly stunning rodent, a species of squirrel that has spurred a plethora of outdoor adventure branding from Marmot Clothing to Marmot Mountain in Alberta to the more obscure Whistler Mountain Resort named not for the wind that whistles between the high altitude peaks as some would suspect but for the high pitched, excited squeal of the Marmot.
The Himalayan Marmot claimed his fame in the ethnologies of history as a bit of a gold digger. Minaro tribes would frequent their burrows often and excavate the gold dust they would hoard inside. I don’t know for sure, but if the brains behind the resort town’s construction in Whistler all those years ago named the Mountain in a proverbial nod to the mammal’s tendencies to occupy a space where money would stick to walls as the tourists filed through, they were right on the money.
Whistler and the Marmot are truly beautiful cash hogs (groundhogs that is).