They Call Me The Wanderer

September 23, 2013 § 4 Comments

Photo credit: divadsci1

Photo credit: divadsci1

There’s something about being on the verge of the next big thing that gets my blood pumping. Three years ago it was launching an incredibly vibrant community of urban explorers when I began my adventure as the Yelp Calgary Community Manager. Now, I find myself saying goodbye to the community I’ve built of some of the friendliest and coolest people I’ve ever met and embarking upon a new journey, one I’ve been dreaming up for more than a decade.

I’m a wandering spirit. I have been ever since my first trip overseas to Indonesia when I was 14. Multiple trips throughout my teens and early 20s shaped my young world views and inspired me to achieve my Bachelor of Commerce in International Business from the University of Alberta. I wanted to travel.

Many twists and turns and detours have brought me to where I’m at. Deaths in the family; the thrill and naivety of my youth that subsequently had me spending the last four and a half years paying off nearly $72,000 in debt (final payment last week!); various people and positions and jobs that have shaped my views on how the world works and brought some incredible people into my networks along the way…

David and I talk a lot about following our passion. I love to inspire people to choose their dreams and live them. The only effective way I’ve found to accomplish this is to follow that same mantra myself.

And so last week, I tendered my resignation in pursuit of my big hairy dream. Come January, I’ll be a wanderer, a wayfarer. I’ve fulfilled any commitments that once prevented me from going. Now, I wander.

It’s fitting that the first trip on my books is back to the land that first inspired my desire to travel. I’ll be headed on a “bucket list” trip to Bali as I do some work with a local tours company, Spices.

Stay tuned… I’m sure I’ll have many insights and inspirations to share as I make my way!


Focusing On Your Foundations

September 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

“Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.”

That’s a lyric from Tough People Do, performed by singer Brett Kissel during the first of two August fundraising concerts to raise money for flood-stricken Southern Alberta.

His words really have resonated with me ever since. Thousands of people in our province were devastated by Mother Nature, including four deaths.
I have been reminded several times over the last few weeks that even though my wife and I have had personal and family setbacks this year, encouraging things have also occurred. Needless to say, the above noted tragedy had its own way of underlining that other people can always be worse off.

First, blogmate Wendy wrote me about advancements she’s been exploring in digital publishing. This was great news since we’ve been discussing for a few months how to turn this blog into the intended motivational/inspirational book. We started writing together in fall 2009 with the goal of building content for this publication, but have yet to determine a format or platform for taking our writings into a broader realm.

That really pumped me up because although I have had ideas to write about in the last few months, I have lacked the drive to put pen to paper, so to speak.

The very next day, a teacher friend contacted me to advise that she had read the most recent draft of my story about Jasper, our dog. I am turning a short story I authored for a writing competition three years ago into a book. My friend adored the story and would love to have Jasper and I visit her classroom to read the story and encourage students to write.

That is very cool on a couple of levels. It means I will have a target group to test out what ages the book should be directed to. I also enjoy any opportunity to work directly with the education system, whether that’s doing school tours of City Hall or my former work as a school board communicator in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

Again, that energized me because I have only puttered with the story since I first penned it in spring 2010. I have mulled over whether to lengthen it, if I should turn it into a series of vignettes or simplify the script for younger audiences. Getting a meaningful endorsement was a big boost to get my dream of getting Jasper published.

Within days, I had an inspired lunch with a close friend and colleague who provided some timely calm and perspective on some dilemmas.

Our recent vacation to the West Coast and Vancouver Island provided some much-needed relaxation and a break from work and volunteer activities. It was an opportunity for Joyce and I to enjoy some couple time and to discuss future plans away from the hectic day-to-day lives we live.

It also allowed time to reconnect with some family and friends some of whom are as close as family. These connections are the most important of foundations.

One of these people, is someone I admire greatly for her toughness and perseverance.

While in Richmond, we celebrated the retirement of Fran Hunter, who operated a family day home for 35 years, many of which were as a single parent of two daughters.

I first met Fran as a college student. I was a boarder in her home for three years as I attained my diploma in journalism and certificate in communications at Kwantlen College.

She was much like a sister to me and we’ve remained close friends since.

Small in stature, Fran battled through numerous odds to complete a respected career and has earned the next, unwritten chapter in her life.

Speaking of enduring hardship, I end with another quote that Fran might have found helpful. It certainly hit home with me.

“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” ~ novelist C.S. Lewis

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