Ten Days Home

Jet lag hit me like a ton of bricks. Ten days passed and I’m still living in another time zone. Not PST it seems but some other alien zone somewhere in-between Vancouver and here (Essex, England).

No regretting the big move back just yet. Sure, it’s super hard. Remembering all those goodbye parties I had with friends and all those thoughts about where I might be right now. But the right thing isn’t always the easiest. If I think about what about what Canada has to offer me at this point in my life, then I don’t miss it.

These coming weeks I’ve gotta get myself a car, a job and hopefully I place to stay will follow shortly. Some big asks. All very grown up things. But I’ll get that kitchen space I’m so yearnin’ after, and those theatre trips and learning opportunities. All the things I’ve been craving.

Although not a travel blog (for the time being) Rushing Forwards (or Brit on the Move), still holds true. Very much aiming for that forwards trajectory, I don’t care too much about the productivity related to my movements, so long as there’s some momentum.

Just need to keep that travel mentality. See new things, meet new people… taste new beer, on a slightly less regular basis than previously. We can all keep hold of this lifestyle to an extent.

I read the other day:

Sometimes exploration is not about seeing new places but seeing with new eyes.

 

The Ever-loving Abigail

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Be A Steven

I’ve lost my head a little these past few days. Booked things too late, lost reservation emails, forgot about needing a place to sleep etc.

The nice lady at the Greyhound counter said it was the heat. But I’ve been living with this heat for months with my sanity perfectly in tact. I think it’s the knowledge that I’m going home, the tough goodbyes, the diving into the unknown.

It was quite a lot easier diving in to the unknown over here because there was lots of other people doing the same thing and it’s something I’d been anticipating for six months or so.

But heading home, I’m going to be surrounded by ‘settled’ people, or people who appear to have their shit, relatively, together.

Getting me through these last few days there has been some super amazing people. People who’ve I’ve known for months now and been solid friends with. But until now I hadn’t really needed them to step up for me.

Yesterday I lost my purse full of money from selling the car and my passport and general all important things. I also didn’t have somewhere booked to stay or a way of getting back to Vancouver today.

My hostel friends helped me through all of this. Driving me places, smiling and talking me through things. Giving me a bit of a torch when I felt I was just fumbling around blindly in the dark. It was easy for them to do it too. No umming and aahing. There has been a sense of urgency, not in an unsettling panicked way. But just that lovely way that makes me feel like people are prioritizing my needs for a moment.

Travellers have their own shit to deal with. Their own budgets and plans and goals. But for these last few days, when I found it hard to prioritise myself in an orderly fashion, I had others to hold my hand.

These last five months on the move I’ve tried not to have anyone hold my hand or spoonfeed me. It’s been about independence and self-reliance. But it was such a relief that my family and friends have been so present and dependable.

The dedication on this blog is not to Stevie J (AKA Dad), as wonderful as you and mother have been. It’s to Steven Turner, the boy whose been there for me when others could only do so much from afar.

It’s not just lifts in the van or sandwiches, you’ve done so much more.

The Ever-loving Abigail

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Vashon to Vancouver, Back to Squamish

A few days walking, cycling and kayaking later and I’m headed back on the Amtrak up to Vancouver – coach this time. Today I’m taking ferry, coach, taxi and Pop-a-ride.

Can’t say I was particularly happy to be headed back to Van. The city is starting to leave a little bit of a sour taste in my mouth. Vancouver has been a gateway city for me. A gateway to my friends, my family most recently, and to the mountains. Despite my great first impressions and some lovely day trips in great company, TORONTO IS STILL MA FAVe. city-wise at least, west is not best! ❤

PAUSE – STATION WRITING INTERRUPTED BY CUTE PDA

I just saw the reunion I’ve been wanting. A girl passed me in the station and leaped on to her partners lap. Legs-a-kickin to and fro. They hugged super tight and she nuzzled him with glee. I feel like my previous ice queen self might have been pretty grossed out by such a display of public affection, but my heart ached a litte.

I know I haven’t got any reunions as romantic as this awaiting me when I return home, but I’ve got some great ones coming up. The fact that I could only last five months out here is a testament to my friends and family I have back home. I couldn’t go longer without their warmth, their stories, their advice.

A paranoid little part of me was really worried people might be disappointed for me upon my return. Not with me, but for me. Thinking perhaps that I hadn’t ‘stuck at it’.

But that couldn’t be further from the truth. All my friends have been SO MAGICAL.

Mate, I’m lucky

The Ever-loving Abigail

Travelling the World in Search of What I Need – Returning Home to Find It

My family travelled almost 5000 miles to be with me half way across the world. It’s been a week of walking, talking and eating mostly.

Lots of talking and reassessing. Reassessing my place here in Canada. This country was never particularly accessible for me on a budget. It’s a high cost of living and the best way to see some of this big ole place is by getting a job here and working while you explore. That was always the plan.

Well, I did that… and I saw ma things, ma pretty Canada things. I ate some poutine, saw some bears… all the jazz. It’s been super great and I’ve really appreciated the time away from everything and everyone I know. I’ve met some amazing people along the way too, I don’t think they’ll ever know how wonderful they are.

But I don’t think I’m quitting when I say my time here is almost done – already.

Sorry for all the goodbye parties, all them farewells. Cos I think I’m coming back, perhaps not to the same ole place to do the same ole thing. But to England, to theatreland, (to the gym).

I miss a lot and I want a lot. I did some exercises, personal development ones from The Happiness Planner. (You can buy em at https://thehappinessplanner.com/ ).  I’ll be ordering myself one for when I’m back home.

Thinking about goals and things…

I want art and learning and relationship building and participation and I want my physical health back.  I’d also really really like to drink tea with Nanny Pauline (and/or maybe cocktails).

I’d sorta like to see the world too, but I’m gonna pace myself. I think I’ll keep the blog up too, it’s about moving forwards – no matter where that takes me. In my first post I said what awaits me back home will truly be my biggest adventure, so I think I’ll continue to write about just that.

 

The Ever-loving Abigail

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Romanticism – The Traditional Kind

I’ve been reflecting a lot on my aversion to the ugly towns of Northern BC. My hopes of rugged weatherboarding and quaint fishing communities were not quite met.

Prince Rupert, sorry, but besides the thin strip along the bay that lasts all of about 200 ft, is super hideous and run down. And the provincial parks… left me wanting. But I am just being SUPER shallow? I mean what do I bloody expect, I’ve been travelling across a country where real people live in real poverty, like most other places in the world. Imagine visiting Harlow and thinking god Essex is hideous or Milton Keynes and thinking Buckinghamshire is shitty. (There are great aspects to both these places, pls don’t shoot me, your towns are great).

But whilst I can accept that not everything and everywhere is gonna meet my standards of pretty… I’m allowed to not want to stay there right? Y’know, indefinitely? Not for me.

Romanticism, in the traditional sense of the word, is described by google as:

A movement in the arts and literature that originated in the late 18th century, emphasizing inspiration, subjectivity, and the primacy of the individual.

That’s not really the easiest concept to understand. I like how Rosalind Buckton-Tucker describes Romanticism and it’s link to travel (she talks specifically about travel writing). She writes about it in her piece Romanticism and the Philosophy of Travel published in International Journal of Arts and Sciences. 

READ ME HERE: (http://openaccesslibrary.org/images/LVG242_Rosalind_Buckton-Tucker.pdf)

When I read about peoples travels, or not even read… when I just look at Insta posts or Facebook images… lots of the romantic themes crop up: aestheticism and a sense of awe and wonder is massive. Obviously, romanticism being from the 18th Century, it’s outdated as a movement, there aren’t many people proclaiming themselves romantics anymore. But I can’t help but feel many of our aspirations towards travel are built upon these romantic ideals.

Maybe I’m lacking the gumption, to expect less and absorb more?

I chose Canada… The Great White North of all places. Of course I came here due to some sort of affinity with nature and desire for awe n wonder. I’ve had my fair share for now. I’ve spent months looking to the mountains, lakes and waterfalls.

According to Colin Wilson in Introduction to the New Existentialism,  Romanticism began as a tremendous surge of optimism about the stature of humankind. Its aim — like that of science — was to raise us above the muddled feelings and impulses of his everyday humanity.

This certainly seems like a more pleasant way of looking at it. Through creating a dialogue with nature we may learn more about ourselves and our place…

Circling back, I couldn’t achieve a dialogue with nature in a place like Prince Rupert, Terrace or Prince George, as nestled as you are in the mountains, the grey  man-made structures are overbearing and fog my poor little mind. In Squamish, as unattractive as I found downtown, it wasn’t overbearing, it wasn’t pushing down heavily on my chest.

Is it cliché that this is all so bloody reflective? Maybe I’m spending too much time in my own head.

Someone lend me a helping hand and help me figure out where it’s all going?

The mountains aren’t calling me any longer. Something else is.

 

The Ever-loving Abigail

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Pop Culture in The Emerald City

I wish I could take a photo right now. Katie Chang, I’m drinking bubble tea like I said I would: a matcha tea with tapioca pearls (little chewy balls of starch from cassava plants). It’s super photogenic… well interesting looking, however my phone has ran out of charge and this first draft was scribbled – so no image for ya. They said I could lower the sweetness of the drink to 25% (whatever that equates to I couldn’t figure out), so I did so but it’s still super sickly, sweeter than my Maccy D’s strawberry shake any day. I also feel like these little tapioca pearls are just like frog spawn… or caviar or some such thing.  I don’t think there’s going to be a happy ending here. The matcha tastes like modified sugar and the pearls don’t really taste of too much at all. I’ve tried to expand my palette today but this experimentation has failed and I shan’t be frequenting any more Bubble Tea shops any time soon.

This post isn’t about my culinary ventures (as good as Seattle is for just this) Rather it is about my day immersed in popular culture.

*You could say my pursuit of bubble tea could be included as part of my day of pop culture, only tried in an attempt to understand more about a particular current trend. One that’s been sweeping metropoles mostly, (I think they should stay there personally, this other-wordly beverage wouldn’t sit so well with rural folk and small-towners).*

Today I went to MoPop (formerly EMP Museum): The Museum of Popular Culture. This big metallicy building is located at the Seattle Center just in the shadow of the Space Needle. I walked here from Fremont, a nice little 4.4 mile round trip mostly along the waterfront, a necessary jaunt after all my Canadian fattening over the last few months.

The MoPop is currently home to Bowie by Mick Rock: an exhibit featuring 65 photographs capturing David Bowie’s transformation into Ziggy Stardust among other beautiful, cosy, behind the scenes theatrics AND The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited – I paid extra for this little exploration.

The museum is super pricey at 30 bucks a pop if you’re going to get all access. I wouldn’t have paid it if it weren’t for these two exhibits, which I’d pay for anywhere. If I’d pay for Lichtenstein and Pollock of course I’m gonna bloody pay for a bit o Bowie n Henson (I did however pay  a lot less for the former in England).

Bonus Exhibits also worth the cost: Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magi and Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds.

Although clearly a popular culture museum in general, I couldn’t help but feel that a lot of the exhibits catered to geeky fandom a little more than pop culture dabblers. But that’s a-okay by me.

Highlights: Kermit, Labyrinth costumes, Bowie mime pictures.

The mime photos are super interesting, Bowie actually trained with a mime for some time to include some work in his performances. Foremost an entertainer. I’ve never actually seen many of his live performances on video, something I must do, especially now I know a little bit more about how he prepared for them.

Also those of you who are actual fans will know about his fear of flying and how he traveled via train, bus and boat. Some great photos of him in the dining cart of trains.

I didn’t find out too much new stuff about Henson but it was great to just look at all the muppets up close and hear lots of giggling among the exhibits visitors.

I spent lots of money today but I don’t feel too bad about it. I made a list of goals for the coming months yesterday and they included: Consuming more art/cultural content, fulfilling my need for a creative outlet, being more physically healthy and learning new things everyday. I’m pretty sure by walking (physical health✓) to the exhibit (art/culture consumption✓),reading more about cultural icons and their audiences (learning✓), and then writing about it when I got home (creative outlet✓) I have achieved quite a lot to feel good about today.

Finally, things I’ve discovered today:

  • Seattle has more than 500 houseboats- more than anywhere else in U.S. I saw lots of these on my walk – tons
  • Seattle’s nickname The Emerald City is due to the city itself and the surrounding area being covered in greenery. It’s pretty obvious, but I hadn’t heard it’s nickname much outside of the U.S. and hadn’t really thought about it. All this greenery is visible on the flight over – super cool stuff.

I learnt some more stuff about Fremont too, the area I’m staying in, but I’ll save that for when I’ve given my folks a little tour perhaps.

 

The Ever-loving Abigail

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Fremont Seattle

This neighborhood is the perfect setting for a novel about twenty/thirty somethings; fumbling their way through life, binging on coffee and box sets, playing at a bit of popular culture criticism perhaps and/or attempting to create some culture of their own. I feel as though nestled inside these trendy, probably too expensive rental properties there are aspiring writers and musicians.

I’d certainly want to be a character in one of these novels. Writing  play or some such thing. (I almost bought a book on how to do just that today, thought perhaps not the time or place? Or maybe it is? Should have…)

This burb is a mecca for the aspiring don’t-know-what-yet. Loads of coffee joints, plenty of bars (craft beer and cider options ofc), vintage clobber, second hand books and yknow, all sorts.

Everywhere around are relatively fit young people, lots with family visiting it seems from far off states. I’m overhearing conversations about travel, literature and ‘creative work projects.

It’s rather ridiculous to happen upon such a comfortable city to find it’s in the states.. humph. I’ve got my Canadian work permit and it seems Seattle could be a wonderful place to spend a ‘fall’. The leaves are going pretty brown on the ground already – b e a u tiful.

I’ve bought my second Nick Hornby book this month – High Fidelity – Stevie J’s recommendation, time to get stuck in and re-hydrate after my neighborhood orientation.

Two posts in one day, jeez.

The Ever-Loving Abigail

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IMPORTANT NEWS

** I DIDN’T MENTION I’M NEXT TO A PIE SHOP **

 

Feeling Totally Sleepless in Seattle

Touchdown.

In the city where I’m going to reunite with my family in a few days time. I cannot put into words how excited and relieved I am to be reunited with the clan.

The next couple of weeks are going to be such a bloody roller coaster. (How has no one thought of a better metaphor for fluctuating emotions?!)

The neighborhood I’m in: Fremont. It’s leafy and trendy. Good trendy, not trash-trendy, although I tend to like a good helping of both.

I’m currently enjoying a coffee and a catch up with reality in Stoneway Cafe – recommended to me by the lovely front desk bloke at the hostel, Hotel Hotel on Fremont N- silly name, absolute nonsense, great place.

I’ve written a list of a few second hand book stores, tattoo studios, coffee spots and general places to take it slloooooww. I’m super keen on exploring this neighborhood as well as the inner city. I’ve got a feeling Seattle might make my faves list. Who knows, let’s not get over-excited but I’m really liking the vibes.

And for me to like the vibes of a city when my head is pounding, my heart’s all tangled and I’m feeling totally sleepless… is pretty sweet. Seems like a nice place to recharge before the big reunion.

I’m thinking coffee and books and leafy streets. So many leaves, I could see em all from the plane as we landed.

T-minus 48 hours, or thereabouts

Over and Out

The Ever-Loving Abigail

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It Was All Going Too Well

I suppose if everything went fine and dandy all the time it would all be too kushty, too comfortable and not enough risk.

So far of this country I’ve seen: Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver, Squamish, Whistler, Victoria (Van Island), Salt Spring Island (BC), Terrace and Prince Rupert (Lower North West BC).

The latter was less thrilling. The sites have been beautiful, mountains, pines, lakes, you get the idea. But the towns, these North American towns. I’m still suffering some major culture shock I swear it. Nestled among these scenes of beauty are some very ugly grey towns. Much dingier than the likes of some of the most poverty stricken areas of Fair Ole Essex. It’s a bit snobby… it’s totally snobby. But I’m really missing those higgledy piggledy British scenes.

Seeing Northern BC by car has been pretty sweet. You get to see a lot more than you would on  a plane and you can stop off wherever you want I suppose.

Much of Central BC was not so pleasurable. Entering Kamloops was like entering the inner depths of hell. This forest fires are killer. The air quality in Kamloops last weeks was two times worse than the air quality in Bejjing when China called for a national state of emergency. That’s right two times worse – and that’s China we’re talking about.

These last few weeks have been an experience. I bought a car with someone for the first time in my life. And we’ve since decided to sell the car as ma little homesick Kiwi flys home to his country. And ofc kiwi birds can’t fly so he’ll be getting a little help from Air New Zealand on September 3rd.

I’ve got until then to sort my shit out and decide my next move. My savings are dwindling a little and currently so is my hope. Being around a homesick bubba has been wearing off on me.

Ole Blighty is calling. I’ve come to decide I’m a hobbit. Not just any hobbit though, a Took, definitely up for adventure but also very attached to my ole hobbit hole.

The Ever-loving Abigail

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