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 **

 

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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

xx

 

 

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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Occupying Myself with the Right Questions

Last night I stayed up and chatted about some of the happiest days/times/moments of my life.

The conversation was first sparked by someone asking “What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?”

I used to let this question play on my mind on a daily basis, I’d find myself chopping vegetables for dinner and asking myself, I’d find myself sitting on the lav, pondering… what was the worst thing I’d done that day, week, month, my life. These questions were a waste of time but I couldn’t escape them for many years. I wondered how I’d got to where I had – how my mental space had got so clouded and my heart so heavy.

I took a long time to transition from these questions and to adjust  from those low times in life in general. Those low periods of which I’m sure we all have the capacity to endure, no matter what hardships (or seemingly lack of) we face.

More recently I try to occupy myself with the right questions. What’s the best thing I’ve done today? What thing big/small can I aim to achieve? All these questions keep my mind open to the present and to the future.

It hasn’t been easy to get to this point. Where you wake up with  purpose. And that purpose doesn’t come from a search for something higher, something above and beyond yourself or even out of your reach. It’s not about getting that job, embarking on that relationship or carving out a solid path.

It comes from you, your core purpose is to wake up and just be your beautiful self, learn what you can from the day and find balance in whatever way you can. Everything else is just a bonus I suppose.

One of my happiest days I spent dressed as a bug running around a muddy field covered in face paint, beer and ketchup. I spent this mostly with strangers I’d met that day.

Another happy day I spent at Niagara Falls with travel companions I’d met two days before.

Another again, Anna, Holly and I spent the evening sipping cocktails on a long table in Paris. Speaking mostly pure nonsense with complete strangers.

My happiest days to come, who knows? I think a little family reunion in Seattle could definitely be up there. A date night in Victoria?

I’ll be content with some happy moments, I don’t need the whole day. Drinking sparkling juice in the shadow of The Chief sounds like a great start.

The Ever-loving Abigail

xx

 

 

 

 

Goodbye Squamish

It’ll be just over three months in Squamish when it’s time for me to leave in ten days.

I left the hostel last night, my first Canadian home and my first ‘Canadian’ (international) family. I’ve tried some new things, met some B E A U tiful people, for reals, special souls, and I’ve gained a lot of weight.

I thought it’d be a lot harder to leave, like ripping off a plaster. But moving to the campsite for ten days or so means I can transition a bit more slowly from my hostel life. I’ve been slowly saying goodbye to its residents over the last month or so, so it’s not my first rodeo.

There are a few people it’ll be a little harder to say goodbye to than others, but it’s alright. They’ll be around this part of the world for a while. A fair few have dreams of NZ too, just like me. Marcel, Raquel and Doug will all be heading that way, and Sam too eventually. Not anytime soon, but it’ll all be fun and games in the years to come.

For now though, it’ll be a chance to spread my wings and embark on a new adventure with ma kiwi boy. It’s been a bit of a scary prospect. Starting something with someone new. But I think I’m in the right head-space now.

I’ve learnt how to do me, so I suppose there might be room for someone else now. I’ll keep you posted ;).

To Victoria, Vancouver Island I go, 27th August. Watch this space.

 

The Ever-loving Abigail

                                                      x

 

 

 

The First Quarter

An update on the superhero that is Alessandro. Despite falling to the deck from 50ft (onto his back from a solid-ass rock). The Italian baby is alive and well.

So no serious goodbyes just yet. Just the family parting very soon. My Squamish family will soon be moving their separate ways and on to other things.

I’ll head over to camp at The Chief for a few weeks and then head on my merry way. Wherever that will be.

I’ve been in Canada for more than three months now. Still pretty sweet sailing

The Ever-loving Abigail

Alessandro Fell

I don’t really know what to do right now besides write. I’m sitting at the hostel twiddling my thumbs and feeling shitty.

Our poor Italian baby, Alessandro, has been airlifted to Vancouver hospital after falling about 50ft from his climb over at the Smoke Bluffs. His legs were moving apparently, and his head seems okay… But I can’t really say. I wasn’t his climbing partner, I wasn’t there and I don’t know what state he was in. The other volunteers, my friends have headed to the hospital, approximately 50 minutes down the highway 99.

I don’t have a Canadian cell, so I can’t call them. I can just wait on facebook and hope that someone has the sense to update me on how our poor bubba is.

The risks with being an adventurer, from pushing yourself to the limits, is that these things happen. I’m surrounded by vulnerable travellers. Traveller’s for whom a steady hike doesn’t quite give them the thrills they’re after.

This reality check isn’t just reminding me of how much those around me are putting themselves in difficult situations on a daily basis. But it’s reminding me of how much of a family we are. My heart’s pounding in my chest and I just wish I could be there with him, with them all. I feel maternal for this boy, as though, while his Mama n Papa are back in Italy, we have some sort of responsibility for him. To be with him and to look after him.

These aren’t fleeting feelings of travel companionship. I love my friends I’ve made here these past few months and I’d do anything to protect my new family.

We’re all wanderers, joined so strongly by an invisible connection. Most of us have families and aren’t short of loved ones, but for some reason, we’ve all ended up across the world to be here at this time together. Away from what we knew, we’re learning and seeing new things every day.

I feel like I should just keep on writing until I hear some news… I don’t know what else to pass the time. Alessandro surfed for the first time yesterday and now he lays in a hospital bed. This afternoon we laughed together and spoke of his plans to head to London for a few days next week.

I shall go and be with my family now.

The Ever-Loving Abigail

 

Sorry It’s Been so Long… I’ve Been Having a Canada Moment or Two

Gaaaaad, it’s been ages. I’m sorry pals. I’ve been busy becoming a bloody Canadian I reckon. But not really, but sorta.

In the last month I’ve seen my first bear, I’ve swam in a whole bunch o lakes and I’ve been camping. I’ve also starting adding maple syrup to my coffee at work and saying sorry a little more than I’d like.

I’m not sure where to start but there’s a real quick summary.

I suppose I’ll start with the bears. I waited a whole two and a half months before seeing one. I was sitting on a chair lift heading up Blackcomb in Whistler. We were off up for another one of  our fam (familiar) tours, free trips for those of us in hospitality so we can experience cool shit and tell all our guests about it. Since starting at the hostel I’ve done a whole bunch of these: I’ve been on a free guided hike, a rafting trip, BBQ in the Squamish Valley and most recently, the longest zipline in North America

The sun was shining and our legs were dangling, three bears were grazing beneath us. Shiny coats and big wet looking noses – basically adorable giant dogs waiting for me to come say hello. Needless to say I did not. I headed up to do the zip, a zip that has been recorded to go in excess of 100km/hour (or 62mph). I really felt the speed, my face flapped about in the wind as I span around looking at some of the greatest mountain views I’ve ever seen.

That was a good few weeks ago now, a great trip with the group up to Whistler. I don’t think I’ll be heading back too much though, it’s basically like Disneyworld (but not super cool), it seems like a movie set. All built up at once pretty much, all matching in style and totally surreal feeling. As though the Stepford Wives might live there or something…. if they were in to a bit of boarding or something.

Since this time I’ve also done a mini-hike up the Tunnel Bluffs.

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I stopped in a fire pit for a nap while the other two girls went up to the top. I was pretty content with this little spot just here over Lion’s Bay.

I think it was that same day we went camping at Cat Lake, I’m not entirely sure. That’s the thing about having fun. I’m really losing track. I jumped in the lake under the stars, they were sooooo much better at the lake than in town. Silly light pollution in town ruins the stars but out at the lake they were B E A Utiful. The lake was warm, we played on logs, swam around and then I dried myself by the heat of the fire. We adopted a long haired stranger from Calgary and he sang to us until the early hours.

Even more recently has been CANADA DAY – THE BIG 150. I dressed up in ma dungers (gingham overalls), put my hair in bunches tied with ribbon and bloody belted O Canada, just O Canada though, I don’t know the rest of the anthem.

We day drank, I cut out maple leaves for hostel decorations, played pin the tail on the beaver and ended the night with fireworks, bit o burlesque and a hella lot of cheesy dancin’.

To summarise: Bears, hikes, lakes, camping, maple leaves and dancing.Canadadaydreams.jpg

O Canada. I’m always going to celebrate Canada Day.

 

The Ever-loving Abigail

 

 

 

Beginners Bouldering n Drunken Climbin by Night

I finally made it to the Ground Up Climbing Gym the other day – with thanks to a British bud of mine with a car, handy stuff.

It was a little tougher than I thought. I figured with my background as an Outdoor Pursuits Instructor I might have some level of natural talent. But I felt like a true beginner.

I threw myself at it and have got plenty of raw skin and bruises to prove it. I’m really looking forward to getting back at it and conquering some of the more basic routes.

I stuck to bouldering this time, equipment wise it’s a lot cheaper. I borrowed some climbing shoes, nabbed a free day pass from a monthly member and I was set.

After an hour or or scrambling about on the baby routes we went for a beer and some pizza at the BackCountry Brewing.I tasted a whole bunch of beer before settling on their pale ale. Here I continued to spend no money as I was treated by my British companion who worked there – great stuff.

I drank free beer into the afternoon, heading over to Ian’s apartment for a few before going back to the hostel to get ready for a little staff do. We’d been invited out to Squamish Rafting’s annual bonfire bonanza at Fergie’s.

We arrived as it was getting dark, just enough daylight to still be able to recognise all the local faces all over the shop. Girls from work, local adventure instructors and just general friends of friends. Real tight community here in the ole Squam.

I danced the night away, ‘n’ climbed up on to a batting cage to sit for a while. Gotta love being up high.

Ever-loving Abigail