Thursday, November 25, 2010


It dawned on me this morning that change is a necessity. I mean, if we're not growing we're dying right? I know the sentiment is simplistic and rather bleak, but that's the part about this trip that really frightens me in a way I've never felt before. I left Chicago, my home, my jobs, my friends... everything I know has been put away for now to accommodate this journey. I think that's what really scars me the most. When it comes down to it I don't know what to expect in India - I could love it or hate it. I'm there for 2 months. That includes Christmas, New Years, and my 30th birthday. That's a lot to spend alone in a country I've never been that happens to be located half way around the world.

But that's the best part about it. I DON'T know, and that's great. How boring is it to know exactly what is going to happen. Maybe it's reckless. Maybe it's crazy. Maybe it's immature. But the closer this trip gets the more it really feels like a true life adventure. And when was the last time that any of us really had one? I feel like the word itself seems reserved for children, yet it is one of the most beautiful things we have in life. Why not go explore? I can't stop smiling.

Life rule that I will always live by: always chase happiness, and don't shy away from something because of fear. It's really stupid of me to be doing this. I should be saving money, finishing school, and acting/living "normal." But I'm not normal and I love that. I love that I have found the courage to chase what it is that makes me happy. Maybe it won't make me happy 10 years from now. But it makes me happy now. Why wait to be happy?

Random things running through my head right now: Canada isn't all as cold as most people (non Canadians) think it is - at least not in southern Canada where most people live... Friends should be made for life; we should surround ourselves with only the best people, otherwise what's the point of wasting our time with it?.. I own more clothes than most teenagers, but I am quite satisfied living out of my backpack for a month.

Bob Marley died of cancer. They discovered it when he hurt his toe playing soccer in Jamaica and the wound was slow to heal. Because he was Rastafarian Marley could not simply amputate as they (Rastafarians) do not believe in altering the body. As a result Marley got progressively more sick. He visited a specialist in Germany who performed a skin graph, but at that point the cancer's severity had increased drastically, and with it so too did Marley's health decline; it became readily apparent that Marley was on his deathbed. He boarded a plane to return to Jamaica, his homeland, to die.

As the story goes Marley got violently ill on the flight, and the plane was forced to land in Miami. One of the passengers accompanying Marley was his son, Ziggy. Reportedly the last thing Marley said, and said to his son, was "money can't buy time."

Just remember that next time you put something off or decide not to do something. It's not to say we should do whatever we want whenever we want. But the great thing about money is that you can always get more of it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


     So my tickets are booked, my shots have been taken, and my visa arrived in the mail today. What does this all mean?... I'm going to India!!!

     Also, I can happily say that I'm planning a day trip to London (England not Ontario) to do lunch with Marla (my cousin).

     Random thoughts running through my head: I'm glad my visa came in the mail today, as I don't know how I would have asked Marla to couch serf with her for two months (my tickets are non-refundable, and without an Indian visa I would only be able to enter England). Either that or I would have been living a Tom Hanks role! I'm pretty excited to shave, even though it'll only be a clean shaven look for about 2 days while I travel. My knees, feet, thighs and back all hurt from my walk, leading me to believe that it wasn't such a good idea to tease people older than me when I was young. Beware of what you think will never happen to you!

Monday, November 15, 2010

3 hours, 38 minutes.

     One of the things on my Port Franks list was to walk to Grand Bend. I knew the trip was around 16 km, and thought about my walk from home to Sears in Chicago. The walk there was about 4 3/4 miles, and took me about 70 minutes to complete. So by that measure this walk, 10 miles or so, should take me about 2 1/2 hours.
      Before I left my old man asked me if I had coin change, just in case I changed my mind and wanted to call him for a ride. I assured him that I would be fine. None the less we agreed that if indeed I did need a ride I would call him between 2:45 and 3:15.
      The walk did not take me 2 1/2 hours. And just as bad there hadn't been much to see...

     I did see this cool looking dude:

      By the time I reached the No Frills grocer (located on the outskirts of town)  I was hobbled, tired, and looking desperately for a pay phone. It was 3:10 - I had been walking for 3 hours and 38 minutes! Luckily I found one across the street, but when I reached it and attempted my call I was mortified to realize that not only was I calling home in defeat, but that it would cost me $4.65 to do so!
      At this point I was convinced that though my day started with highly esteemed intentions it was going to end in not such a positive way. But as I sat in the phone booth I decided  I was not going to pay such an outrageous fee. I limped over to the store (the only store) with the plan of asking for another pay phone, inferring that the one in the parking lot did not work. My hope was that the store clerk would offer to let me use either his/her phone or the store's line. the nice lady behind the counter was apparently unaware of this plan, as she not only divulged the location of the next nearest pay phone, but also the other one in town.
      So I bought some sweets in order to get the proper $4.65 in coin change to make my white flagged call. After a long struggle with the phone I realized that that particular phone only accepted coins as large as quarters. But having given in to the idea of paying the absorbent amount and securing a ride I tried to use my credit card.
      The phone didn't ring. My card was rejected - or so I thought. It is that I had been dialing the number improperly (that it needed the "519" but not the "1" in front of it). the call only cost me a quarter! And, as I stood there thankful for my good fortune I noticed the sign literally across the street announcing that I was actually IN Grand Bend. I had made it! The phone even gave me back the quarter I used to make the call!
     When my father picked up I was relieved. He mentioned to me that he had finished working around the house and could leave to pick me up at that very moment. I thanked him, but since my fortune had obviously changed said that I would meet him 2 hours later at the library in town.
      As it turns out the library here in town has strange hours...

       So I had to sit in the parking lot, which is where I make this blog entry...

     Why do I tell this story? Well...

     Life rule to now live by: Check into things before you do them, and even if it ends poorly take the good out of it. Maybe I should have checked how far it actually was to Grand Bend (12.5 miles). Or maybe I should have walked a little more before venturing out. Or maybe I should have looked into the library hours ahead of time. No matter what I look at the good stuff from today: I got another one of the five things on my list done, I made a free phone call, and I spent the day out in the sun! Can life get any better?! 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Closing in on adventure

     So as my trip looms closer and closer I have started to get things done. I visited the internationally acclaimed metropolis of Sarnia on Friday to get my shots. What surprised me most were two things: that my shots and immunizations were actually CHEAPER than I had anticipated (God bless Ontario health care!); and that for someone who has multiple tattoos I am not a big fan of needles. In fact, one of the shots actually kinda really hurt. It was a good thing that the physician that administered the shots was quite attractive. Which leads me to...

     Life rule #1: Always get shots/tattoos/things-that-might-be-painful administered by either an attractive woman or a man. What I realized, while receiving my shots, was that having an attractive woman administer them kept me from complaining/crying/showing pain. Had it been a man this would have occurred as well. I'm sure most of you wonder why this is, and it is because I do not want to lose face in front of these people. If I am ever faced with the situation of an unattractive woman (hideous in all and any ways) administering such a treatment there's a good possibility of crying and complaining.

     Things running through my head right now: I can't believe that it already snowed here, though it does feed the Great White North stereotype quite nicely. The "library" in "town" (20 minute walk) is open Tuesday and Thursday from 3-8 and Saturday from 10-noon - a little change of pace from the big city life. Doing ANYTHING and EVERYTHING is a HUGE project. There's no running to the corner store. So going to Bombay will be great, even if I can't understand what the dude at the bodega is saying to me. Also, "bodega" is a real word (according to Yahoo spell check), which makes me a little more happy.

     There's not much more to do, other than book my flight and pray a little more (which we all should do!). I'm just looking forward to getting on with this trip that seems to have been looming for ever now. 

Blog update!

     From now on I've decided to include two things in each blog post: A new rule that I will live by always (and recommend that others do as well), as well as a "things running through my head right now" section. I figure both of these will add some allure to keep my dedicated followers interested.

    Also, please do not discuss the Leafs with me. It is a great thing being back in Ontario, and it has afforded me the opportunity to see many, if not every, Maple Leaf game on TV. The problem is that I now know that this is a BAD thing. I now understand that my life can be prolonged if I can avoid this Blue-and-White addiction I seem to have. So please, do not mention my "problem" and life should be better!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Trials and tribulations...

     Well, as I have mentioned to all of you via email, I just (within the last month or so) finished reading a book entitled The Dream Giver. It is an incredibly powerful reminder that we should always pursue our dreams. Think about it... why do we get excited when someone retires or comes into a significant amount of money? It's because they can finally do what they like to do - what makes them happy. Why should we wait until then to truly follow our hearts? Isn't the whole point of it all to be happy?

     The reason that I mention all of this is because recently I've had a really tough time staying focused on what it is that I want to do. As the time draws closer I am faced with more Giants and Bullies (Dream Giver references) than I could have ever imagined.

     I know that my Giants - moneyless and rejection being the most prevalent- are ones that everybody faces. Nothing is given to us, and realistically we enjoy it so much more when we have to fight for it. I plan to meet my Giants head on, and know that if I work hard enough and believe in myself I can do it!

     I know that my Bullies - people that seem to stand in my way - do not do so out of malice. Most only don't really understand what it is that I'm doing. But it hurts. It hurts to be told that I need to grow up. That what I'm doing is trippie. It's tough to look into the eyes of those I know and love and see that they don't really understand what I'm doing. Not to hear the verbal approval, but to sense the feeling of disapproval in their voices.

     Imagine falling in love with someone. Then seeing so many people around you not understand, question, and challenge your feelings. It's not that I'm running away to India or from something, but rather that I feel something pulling me there. I really can't explain it, just that it makes me happy to be doing it.

     People used to ask me why the change? Why the move? Why India? I used to give a long explanation: That it's the birthplace of monotheistic religion; that it's a different perspective on family and elders; that it's always been interesting to me; that it's a different world, half way across this one...

...but truth be told it's quite simple: I'm doing it because I can. Maybe you understand, maybe you don't. But it makes me happy. For the first time I've decided to do something because it makes me happy. Plain and simple. I'm scared s***less, but I'm doing it in spite of my fear.

     "Now I know a secret: I can 'take courage,' even when I feel afraid."