Reality Check

My muse and I hit the road for our first road trip of the summer on Thursday. This could be a travel post but it’s not. I feel like a bucket of cold water has been dumped on my head. Only once I get the water out of my eyes, there’s just doors everywhere in front of me. Decisions. Too many directions to go towards for someone who would usually needs an extra push for those difficult choices.

My best friends pregnant. I’m not sure she’s fully grasped just what’s about to happen in her life, I still can’t wrap my head around it. We were suppose to backpack South East Asia in January, now she’ll be about ready to give birth at that time. I watched the cousin I grew up calling my twin get married. Two of my other cousins and a friend are also engaged. I guess I’ve finally hit the age when everyone starts settling down and getting married and I’m over here trying to decide which country I want to live in.

It’s not exactly the fear of missing out I’m experiencing, but the fear of falling behind. I thought I’d be engaged by now if I’m being honest. I figured I’d be able to force myself to settle down, get an apartment in the city, have a group of friends all doing the same thing, simple. Yet here I am, back from another too short trip home and I probably won’t see anyone of them for another 8 months, at that. I don’t miss them when I’m gone. I’ve always been able to keep in touch with the ones who matter. I’ve had a non stop conversation going with an exchange student from high school for 7 years. We’ve visited in Germany and in Canada 5? maybe 6 times since her original exchange and will continue to do so.

I’ve fallen out of love with Banff, hard to believe some where so beautiful seems so dull to me. I’m not sure what changed, something inside of me? Seeing Vancouver, the city that will never be beat for me might have done it. Everything I loved now seems second rate. I spent today in bed, there was a mix of junk food, crying and sleep. I’m going to take tomorrow to open my heart. Try and fall back in love with the town I call my home. I fall in and out of love so easily. But I struggle to ever let go.

I want to live near the ocean. Maybe I’ll move to Tofino and learn to surf. I want to do the West Coast Trail next summer. I still want to move to Australia, I hate pushing it back because it makes everything seem less attainable. Maybe the reality is I stopped viewing this relationship as having a deadline. My grandpa asked me if he was permanent? How can I answer that about something so new? And if there’s no deadline, when is Australia suppose to happen? What if I stayed for a boy and everything fell apart? What if What if What if.

I once read that a woman is ready once she finds out she’s pregnant. A man is ready once he holds the baby. Only I’ve always had more manly tendencies. I think I won’t be ready until I buy my ticket across the world. I just wanted to sit and vent and probably cry while going over everything with a fine toothed comb until some kind of end result is realized. I miss having someone who knows you so well they can tell from a text that something’s wrong. Take one look at you and say “lay it on me”. Each day is coming off as a struggle. I hate having to force myself out of bed, hiding from conversation, feeling empty. Tomorrow is a new day.


Johnston Canyon

Now I’ve done this hike 3 separate times. Once in winter, twice in the summer. It is always crazy busy, this is a hike you would recommend to the kitchen sink and you’ll see exactly what I mean if you ever visit Johnston Canyon in the peak of summer. Bus tours, group tours and individuals flock to this hike like bees to a hive. It is fairly easy, about 30 minutes to the lower falls and 1 hour to the upper falls.

I don’t even know how to rate this hike, I feel like it’s a must see in the town of Banff. It’s probably wormed it’s way onto every top 10 list when in the Bow Valley area. The lower falls are through a small but short tunnel and you will be splashed standing at the front. The upper falls has 2 view points, from the bottom of the falls and from the top. I’ve been lucky enough to have the rare moment at the bottom all to myself, twice.

In the winter, I strongly recommend cramp-ons. I know you can rent them in town, or buy them and resell them before you leave. These are essential to maintaining the trail as well as avoiding the multiple butt bruises you will receive if you choose to go without. The amount of people taking the trail will wear away any and all snow leaving a beautiful icy runway. I spent more time sliding down on my behind then actually walking, heading to and away from the falls. I’m not even being bias when I say I love the falls in the winter 10 times more. Yes, the significantly less amount of people makes a huge impact on my decision but there is something to be said about standing under a massive frozen waterfall.

If you know a local in the area, find out where the cave is as it trumps all else in the area. A hidden gem at a tourist trap. The next waterfall I’m dreaming about is Bridal Veil Falls in Chilliwack, BC. I’m hoping to pop by quickly when I’m on my  way home for a family wedding this weekend.

Silverton Falls

My roommate asked me to give her a list of all the waterfalls I’ve been to in the area. Seeing as I’ve challenged myself to write about the ones I make it to and the one I’m dreaming of I figured it wouldn’t be too hard and will hopefully keep me on track. As well as, my muse is talking about writing a fansign on the area, maybe this will help me come up with what to write for him.

Silverton Falls is a waterfall I stumbled upon when I had a day off in the winter and decided to drive half of the Bow Valley Parkway. I parked at Rockbound Lake trailhead because I’d driven quite a ways, didn’t know where I was and was alone in my rickety VW Golf. When I went up to the sign post marking the trailhead and stating YOU ARE HERE, I saw that there was a 0.7 KM hike to Silverton Falls. Obviously this only caught my eye because of my love of waterfalls. I started to head out right away, but there was a foot of snow on the ground, I was alone and we’d just been talking about the local wolf pack at work. Being from an area where there are no wolves, I decided not to risk it and filed away this adventure for either the summer or a trip with a friend.

That day finally came. A friend asked if we could go on a hike and said the choice was mine. I work overnights on Tuesday and didn’t want anything to strenuous so I suggested Silverton. I’m horrible with distances. Whenever someone says “oh it’s only 3 KMs” I just nod my head like I know how long that is and how far you’ll travel. I figured 0.7 KM would be short but can’t say I expected it to take less than 10 minutes. Never the less, after 10 minutes of a light stroll, there we were beside a beautiful, thundering falls. 

I know this is the hidden gem on bow Valley Parkway as its beginning of July and I had no trouble finding parking. We also had a peaceful 10 minutes lounging by the falls before anyone else showed up. It’s a good spot to take a moment pre/post Johnston Canyon where the tourists come by the 1000s. 

If you’re interested and in the area, check out Silverton Falls on for better directions. The next waterfall I’m dreaming of is Troll Falls, in Kananaskis.

A Masters in falling water

I helped a friend move on hill at a ski resort the other day. She’ll be living secluded on a mountain with 30 other people. They are only 30 minutes from town and have a constant influx of tourists who want to climb to the tops of the chairlifts where they ski all winter long but still, she’s cut off. She was filling out her paperwork and discussing the living situation differences between winter and summer when I overheard natures lullaby.

The most comforting sound to my ears, right after falling asleep to a British accent, rushing water. I probably looked like I was crazy as I whipped my head around and started searching out the window for where this glorious sound was coming from. Across the village and behind the hotel, I could see it. A beautiful cascading waterfall, calling my name.

I turned to my friend and called to her in a voice that sounded far off even to my own ears. She asked me if I was okay and I told her I had to go as I ran out the door. Standing at the foot of the falls all I could think was beautiful. There’s no words. I can’t describe a waterfall in sentences, all that runs through my mind is magestic, beautiful, serenity.

That doesn’t even begin to capture the true essence of a waterfall. When I reached the bottom, I started searching for a place to sit, to just close my eyes, breath in the scent of freshly melted snow. But I wanted to be closer. Like at Cascade Falls, I want to sit right next to it, be in the middle of it, feel the splash as water tumbles by me. And so I climbed. I climbed and climbed without looking back; without stopping to think of where I would go next or how I would get down.

I finally reached a point where I’d jumped on top of a rock to avoid stepping in the falls and could climb no further. I perched on the edge, looked around me and felt one singular overpowering emotion. Peace. All thoughts ceased, all worries disappeared. The water glistened like cascading diamonds, splashing up around me every once in a while. The roar took over and there was nothing but my personal lullaby to be heard.

Sometimes we forget beauty. To me, beautiful is not materialistic, flashy or glam. Beautiful is a calm lake, a snow capped mountain or that perfect waterfall.

To Reconnections

For my 22nd birthday, I received something that made me cry. I’m not sure what it is was exactly, or if it was everything, that tipped the tears from my eyes. I try to avoid writing about my family or anything more personal than my thoughts. I read a piece by Janne Robinson yesterday though. It was about how she never got to know her grandpa before he passed. I don’t want that from my life. I love my grandparents, they’re the parents I always wished I had but my grandpas 93, and every day I say I should call and every day, I don’t.

I went to the post office yesterday, I had a letter from home. I was expecting the usual gift of something I’ll never use, instead I received a letter that had the standard HBD and a scrawled “love mom and dad” in my mothers hand writing. It hurt. Not in a I’m home sick and miss them kind of way like one would think. My dad hasn’t said Happy Birthday since he kicked me out 4 years ago, maybe longer. That card? He probably doesn’t even know my mom sent it and signed his name. Just like she’s probably signed my name on his fathers day card without asking me if I wanted to send him anything. We just don’t talk.

I gave up on a relationship after he ruined my graduation and I spent the night crying in my boyfriends arms. I just couldn’t understand at 18 how a man with 40 years on me couldn’t make any effort at having a relationship with his youngest daughter. I still don’t, that much hasn’t changed. But I don’t even know his story. He was adopted, I don’t know what age. I don’t know what it was like to grow up the only black, left handed, adopted boy in a tiny town in BC, Canada. I don’t know the names of over half his siblings. I don’t know my biological or my adoptive grandfathers first names. Or who Phylis really is related to, just that we like her. Everyone always jokes on fathers day that girls with daddy issues will struggle, try having fathers day and your birthday and major unsurfaced heartache hit you like a bus, all at once.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been told its impossible to shop for me. I generally don’t find myself needing anything. And I have a body shape that looks like you’ve cut different peoples “assets” apart and plastered them to mine, so clothes are not an option. Most the time, I end up getting nothing. Which doesn’t bother me, but I always thought how nice it seemed for people who know exactly what to get someone, exactly what they’ll love or will make them laugh. Like a favourite chocolate bar, I would never say no to Reeces.

I received a book. I read horrible books, I know it and so does everyone else. Usually romance, sometimes paranormal, possibly erotica, always sappy about how so and so’s world is ending. I’m a little embarrassed, considering how much I love to write, but I’ve tried and tried and can never get into a “classic” novel. This book however is none of the above. I feel like I’ve been given incite into the owner of this book, my muse. He lent it to me with the message that it is one of his favourites and I should read it, and I love it. I love it for the out of the ordinary way of writing, the time they’re living in and the  sentimental value that it now holds for me. I’ll admit that I didn’t react in any way when I received the present, I struggle to show strong emotions in front of people, fear of judgement. But the next day, seeing it sitting on my bedside table and getting that card from home, I broke down. For a present, for a book, for the love I knew was missing but didn’t realize I needed.

Is that an excuse?

Is telling someone you’re not good enough for them an excuse? Or do you have their best interest at heart and want them to be happy? I hate to be told that I’m too good for someone or they’re not good enough for me. I love that my friends think I deserve the world but why can’t what I want be good enough for me? Considering I rarely want for anything. My sister asked me what I want for my birthday and I said nothing, there’s nothing I need.I remember sitting in my room telling my ex that I’d met someone and was over the sick game we’d been playing with each other. He was angry, told me I was better than an expat who was constantly fiending for the next drugs. Then he looked at me and said he should’ve proposed but that he would never be good enough for me. We’d dated for 3 years and I would’ve dropped the world for him. I only came back to Canada for him and he punched a hole in my chest by saying that. Not just the proposal part, but I spent 3 years showing my unconditional love for this boy and his insecurities kept him from fighting for me.

I’ve been told I’m intimidating. I don’t see it, I have just as many insecurities and imperfections as the next person. I just prefer to put on a brave face, act like I know what I’m doing and feign confidence. For some reason people think I’ve got my ducks in a row and that they’ll only knock one over by being with me. If I choose to let you into my life, if I decide to give you a chance, that is me saying you are good enough. If you weren’t, I’d have no trouble rejecting you like every other boy who crosses my path. I had someone try and convince me that they were perfect for me. We had known each other for a week when he started asking me to quit my job and come work with him, the possibility of moving in together in a few months, traveling the world together when he was done his apprenticeship. And I wasn’t even sure I wanted to go on a date with him.

This is one of those moments where you can’t have what you want. But I was told you should ask for what you want. So I’m asking, as much as I hate rejection, waiting, anticipation. Maybe that girl was right when she said I need to ask for what I want, the world can only give back what you’ve already put out in to it. Or as some might say, Karma. It’s better to put it out there, be open, honest. I’d rather be happy it happened over wondering what could’ve been. I feel like that was a lot of clichés all at once. I’m sorry.

Rant over. I feel better.

Chasing Waterfalls

Funnily enough, my muse wrote a piece about how off topic his blog had become and I realized that the exact same thing was true for me. I started this to discuss travel. If you look back 2 years at this time I was flying solo around Europe and documenting it here. Lately, I’ve been caught up in the whirlwind that is falling in love and nothing else has matter in my mind. But I want to stay on track, as I gear up to move across the world in 8 months, fingers crossed, I want to get back into travel writing.

So I set a goal, as you do. My goal is to find as many waterfalls as I can this summer. I’m a sucker for the falling water, a side effect of growing up ten minutes away from Cliff Falls. Nothing is as grounding, calming or soothing as the pounding water next to you as you just sit and enjoy your surroundings on a summer day. So far I’ve visited 5 in the Bow Valley area, and have 2 more on my list to see. While I’m focusing on the Bow Valley and Kananaskis areas, there are a few that are day trips that I have as must sees on my list.

I have to mention Cascade Falls as I will probably be frequenting that one the most. It’s about 20 minutes, mostly uphill, from the parking lot. What I like is that you can see your destination the entire way to the falls, and then you’re rewarded with a cliff edge right next to the falls overlooking Banff. You have a beautiful view of Rundle Mt. and could claim hiking Cascade, the biggest mountain in Banff. Tomorrow I hope to visit Troll Falls, depending on if Night Audit kills me or not, but only time will tell, and the pictures I’ll be posting all summer long.

Changing Paths

It’s better to chase something you want verses letting it slip by. You’ll always wander as things pass you by what if but when it’s something you truly want, you’ll know. It’ll hit you like a ton of bricks, or a bus. The moment you lose it, there’s an intense regret over messing up whatever the situation was. 

Yesterday I read something beautiful, it spoke straight into my heart and I could feel myself melting. The cold exterior I built around myself over the last year started to wear away, and that scares the living shit out of me. I’ve been in love. It was pure bliss, having someone know you so completely that you feel whole. So when that ends, it’ll never end neatly or peacefully. It’s called heart break for a reason. 

How do you open yourself up to potential self-destruction? With something incredible standing in front of me, I’m having a fight or flight moment. All I’ve done the last year is run, from everything that wouldn’t have been easy emotionally, I wanted to rid my life of negativity. I am truly unbelievably happy in life at this moment. And I have a possibility to feel whole again, whether it be six days, six weeks or six months. But can I handle the aftermath?

Growing up, I knew I have a destructive personality. When I’m unhappy, I crave change. I’ve shaved my head, quit jobs, bought a new car, solely because something needs to change in my life for me to move forward again. I had 6 months of wallowing after my ex. 6 months of letting him use me, tears and netflixs. It’s the darkest period in my life because I feel like I stopped living. Someone asked me why I would deny something I want. I usually believe in throwing yourself at the things you want. You want to move? Go for it. Over your lover? Leave him. Sushi? Sushi. But matters of the heart are a different category. I keep it locked away from all situations for safe keeping. 

But caving for a desire that will reveal the door? I take that seriously. Because if they’re using you, or lying to get whatever they want, at the end of the day they move on satisfied while I sit at home with a hole punched through my wall and a new layer of ice around my heart. Right now, I feel like I’ve taken my eyes off the key for a second, and you’re standing in front of me with it in your hands. I am completely terrified, frozen with fear, I feel as if the floor has dropped out from beneath my feet. 

But I’ve decided this is something I want to hold onto, not pass me by. Normally I’d kill to have that key and keep my doors hidden, but I’m stepping aside and the choice is yours. If it ends in heartbreak, at least I’ll be able to look back and know that I was truly happy in that moment. 

Aspire to Inspire

That’s probably my favourite quote. The structure, the rhyming and the message. I would get a tattoo of it but every time I think I’ve settled on a tattoo, it turns into the latest trend. Like a flat globe or wanderlust or the infinity symbol. But I feel I’ve discovered a muse. Which I always associated with old men and young blonde women but in my opinion it’s your source of inspiration in human form. Robert Graves said that male muses don’t exist, a female poet must be her own muse or she is nothing.  I’m the exact opposite of a feminist because I believe in equality not power. But I don’t agree with this strictly because if there’s one for a boy, there’s one for a girl. Equal

I read elsewhere that a male muse is titled an Agent of Fortune. But that doesn’t have the same, je ne sais quoi of muse. So I’m sticking with my original sentence of I’ve discovered a muse. I find myself craving to write, to express my inner thoughts. I dont want to be sensored as I usually am from fear of family and friends judgement. 

I want to be real. This isn’t saying that everything I’ve written before is fake but there may have been a family zone glossing over those posts. I feel newly awakened in a sense I have felt since returning from Europe 2 years ago. 

I described to a friend that our conversations are like debate class. It’s not arguing but we seem to see everything from completely opposite sides while still being open to the other side. It’s almost educational but completely eye opening to a different view on life. I find myself coming home and thinking why did I just reveal so much about myself, just completely opening up when I’ve cut everyone out for so long. But if my summer is filled with late night tea dates and life discussions, then I am ready. 

Photo Journal

I just wanted to share with you some of my favourite photos from the last few months. They’re either taken on an iPhone or with my GoPro. I’m no pro, but every once in a while, you can capture complete serendipity.