Race Day! Vancouver

(Written on Oct 26)

The day is over, its once again dark outside. And boy, what a day.

I’m sitting in the same spot as last night, corner of W. Georgia Street and Cambie, watching more people shuffle by. With Halloween 5 days away, last nights blue and white jerseys are swapped for jokers, space men, sailors, a school girl, a puking orange clad prisoner though clearly ready to continue partying, a couple of devils, and a dog dressed as a hot dog. Clever.

Woo hoo guys! I am ecstatic, exuberant, exhausted. What a race today. Even floating on the thrill of the post race adrenaline rush, I’m having difficulty finding the right words. I kicked ass today. The race was, well, not sure if I can find the words. Invigorating, rejuvenating, inspiring, life changing.



As I sit here and write this, 20 hours later, every muscle in my body is singing, it even feels like my bones ache. But all I can think is, “I feel amazing! I feel strong!”I am continually astounded at what the body can do. The goal was a sub 2 aka (for all you non runners), run 21km’s in 2 hours. I almost did it. If not for all those darn hills, I would have done it. But I am so incredibly proud of what I did.

I’ve never disclosed this, but I was still sick this entire week. My throat hurt, my ears pounded. On Wednesday I was spending time hoping there was no infection. Thursday came, and we moved ourselves from Tofino to Vancouver… the wind on the ferry over was painful. I was going to run no matter what, but wow that would suck if I have to do it this sick. By Friday, there was so much adrenaline, topped with tons of Vitamin C, I didn’t have time to think even ponder it. It was race prepping day. Time to get my head in the game. By Saturday, the thumping in my ears had stopped, but my throat still hurt, I packed a couple of Ricolla drops. But through the race, I felt nothing but the souls of my feet feeling the cushion of my shoe as each foot hit the pavement. It all caught up with as soon as I crossed the finish line though, took me a bit to get past the throat pain before my legs started screaming.

What a rush.

Won’t even have much time to wonder at it, tomorrow, we go to whistler!

-Deej

A break from daily life. Vancouver

There is a hockey game tonight, and our hotel is right beside BC Place Stadium. I am downtown Vancouver, on a bench, corner of W. Georgia Street and Cambie, watching hoards of people stroll by. The sea of them littered with blue and white jersey’s, designer clothes, and positive game faces.

There’s going to be sweet chaos tonight.

I sit here, seamlessly invisible, if not for the occasional sideways glance. I think for a long second, they wonder if I’m homeless. A lonely poet maybe, spending more time in wishes then reality.

I am cold, but for the one creative part of me that seems to strive in constant noise and movement, I’ll remain on the bench a little while longer. Though I should have grabbed a thicker jacket.

I can’t help but wonder if any of the guys passing by think I’m hot, even without the home Jersey. Smoke in one hand, pen in the other. Doubt shouldn’t reign, of course they (probably) do.

My vacation is going really well. A pleasant mix of being in thick forested pine, drinking wine under the stars in a totally secluded got tub, and extreme metropolitan living.

(Fairly moderate pause).

Ok… my shivering body won, so I trucked myself upstairs back to my suite. Jeez louise it’s busy out there. Sorta makes me wish to be back in all those giant forested trees.

Tomorrow’s the big run. The race I’ve been training for all year. The entire reason for this “vacation”, and most importantly, being in Vancouver. The half marathon, the Fall Classic, the last race of the season. #runvan!! Going for a sub 2! The fastest I’ve ran 21 Km is 2:12:12, on flat ground. Muscles ready, mind impatient for the journey, let’s go see what I can do!

G’night ya’ll, tonight I get a glorious 8 hours of sleep!

-Deej

Rainy day slow run, on location of the anticipated 1/2 marathon tomorrow!

A break from daily life. Tofino

Have you ever just stood naked in the forest? No barrier between you and nature. Like roots of the trees, my toes dig into the soft earth, searching for strength. My mind is still, silent, absorbing all the sounds around me. I can hear droplets of water as they fall to the ground, gently caressing each leaf on the way. My skin tingles between the displayed goosebumps.

There is no weight on my shoulders, no burdens to carry. No heavy decisions to make other then, do I go sit in the hot tub and watch the stars? Or sit in the chair in front of property?

Like the perfect set up of a surround sound, nature sounds fill each beat with steady tempo and a crescendo of melody. The harmony sets the mood to almost silent, the surrounding air, almost romantic.

Finally a break from city life. A much needed vacation, just my sister and I.

We started in Tofino, rented a quaint little Airbnb just outside of the town. Nestled in a piece of the rainforest, it boasted an outdoor shower and hot tub. Inside, as we walked in, we felt like it was a giant hug, embracing us with the serenity we were seeking.

Freshly baked, gluten free, dairy free, everything free, melt in your mouth, bring you closer to heaven, star cookies sat on the table, awaited our arrival.



The place was spectacular. It had a fully loaded kitchen, everything you need, making our morning coffee time a blissful endeavour. We spent our days relaxing between slow beach runs, boat rides, and shop hopping. We spent our evenings submerged in the hot tub, attempting to count the stars until our legs were too wobbly to stand.

Beach run!!



As we layed our body down in the bed at the end of each day, each tired muscle relaxed as the bed simply embraced us forever. No noise from light or hustle, just the soft glow from the stars, and the rise and fall of the ocean waves in the distance, whispering goodnight.

We didn’t ever want to leave. If you are ever in the Tofino area, I highly recommend checking out this place.

https://abnb.me/UW6O3V7q80

Next stop…. Vancouver!

– Deej

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Love travel: reason #14, the challenge – manoeuvre-ability.

There are some days, where the second I lay my body down for the night, I literally give myself a big hug and applaud myself. I made it through the day. I didn’t die, I didn’t get angry, and holy shit, I didn’t get lost.

Here was my travel itinerary from Saskatchewan to Vancouver island.

12.27.17: 12pm, get mom and dad to drive me from PA to Saskatoon. 2hrs. Stay at my brothers.

12.30.17: 5:30pm, leave Greyhound station in Saskatoon to Kamloops. 18hrs. Stay at my sisters.

12.31.17: 5:30pm scratch the previous day, had to move my ticket to today because I was puking and too sick to get on the bus yesterday. 18hrs.

01.02.18: 10:00am leave greyhound in Kamloops to Vancouver. 4 hrs. Once in Vancouver, find public transit to get from Greyhound to West Vancouver, to a private Airbnb home. (Take the skytrain from Chinatown station to Granville station, then bus number 250 to Marine drive and 22nd, then walk 1km.) ETA: 5:30pm.

01.03.18: 6:30am, leave said house, walk 1km to bus station, take bus number 250 all the way to Horseshoe bay. 8:30am, take ferry to island. ETA: 10:15am. 10:30 am, Leave in greyhound shuttle bus to Tofino, stop will be the information centre 1 km from resort. 4hrs.

Needless to say, by the time I got to my brand new place, I was exhausted. Pretty sure I slept close to 13 hrs that night. And yes, gave myself a gigantic hug, right before I dozed off.

It may seem simple to a well experienced traveller, but it’s a lot of work. You have to always be alert, always paying attention to everything. Never lose sight of your stuff, and if you’re wearing headphones, don’t have the music too loud. Every second, you pay attention to the energies around you, to the people’s expressions, and if your lucky eavesdrop in on some couples interesting gossip. Be on time, all the time, or you’ll miss your ride. Race through the airport if you have to. Read every sign, and understand the transit schedule. Pay attention to the date and time, and don’t forget to take a selfie!

Vancouver makes it fairly easy to get around, but it’s gigantic, one wrong turn might lead you to some unknown, possibly unwanted, adventure.

And you know what? I love it. I’ve gained a pretty decent sense of direction. I don’t get lost in airports, and I’ve taken public transit through cities like Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Kona, and Vancouver, and haven’t gotten lost yet.

Now, I get a little break. I am staying in one spot for a bit to figure out my next move. I’ll be here for a bit… so if you need me… I’ll be on the beach. Come visit! It’s beautiful.

Pacific Sands Resort - Tofino, BC

My goal in the next couple of months… rest, eat, sleep, maybe create a travel bucket list, and figure out how to get back to where my heart is… Hawaii.

Where in the world do you think I should go??

~Deej

Love travel! Reason 24: work experience 

Work experience!

I typically find work wherever I am.

Part of my experience here in Prince Albert was serving. I’ve been a server before, so I know the basic fundamentals, but wow, I forgot just how exhausting it is. Making sure everything is perfect, no matter if you have one table or six. My first couple of weeks, I didn’t make very many tips. I was new so I didn’t always get the big reservations (phew!), I didn’t know the menu, I did not understand the alcohol menu, and I was grumpy because I was hating the job. Suddenly, I realized I needed to change my perspective, or the next few weeks were going to be absolutely miserable. Might as well be in the moment, and fully experience it. Allow it to penetrate the soul, even for a short minute. Shadow the lives, and listen to their stories. Take the time, maybe hang out.

So I let go, and just let myself be. I stood in the background for a while, and just took it all in. People really are incredible.
Here are these men, walking tall behind the line. Boasting their strengths, and being exactly who they are. No matter what, they speak their mind, and everybody will still be ok. A spat every now and then, but nothing like a good drink to bring it all back to zen.

Bobby and Alexander

All the servers run rapid politely, fetching each beck and whim. They truly keep everyone organized, and the people eating are grateful for that. Each of them it seems, holding on tightly to all the true emotion and dreams they’d would rather be in.

We all stress each night for all of the clients, making sure the experience is perfect. We all have hard jobs. Here’s a few things I learnt.
* know the menu. I once had a lady order one of the four choices of steaks. She asked if this particular one comes with garlic toast, and I said yes. Not knowing, and forgetting to ask before I put the order through, when the meal came up I asked “is there garlic toast?” Of course not, this one doesn’t come with garlic toast. This lady would have been just as happy ordering the steak sandwich, which already comes with garlic toast, but I didn’t know. Now, it may seem like a small cost, but I just cost the restaurant an extra 50 cents. Plus the extra time it took to make it last minute. The lady was happy, she didn’t know, but what about the next time she comes in?

* try everything on the menu, including drinks, and the desserts. The first time I tried hunter chicken at the restaurant, it blew my mind. Every flavour on that plate complimented each other. Everything had a purpose. These cooks spend time getting the recipe right. I had a whole new appreciation for them, and the menu. It made selling a whole lot simpler.

* be amused by the “difficult” people, and accept it as a challenge. I like to observe personalities. Question everything. Why are they being demanding? Is he just wanting some extra attention? People want to be cared for, they want to be, well, served. Isn’t that our job? Yes, you might be at that table every minute, but get to know them a little. Take some time, show your own personality.
* treat every single person with respect, and don’t just “expect” a tip. People will surprise you. Be open to what they say, and really listen to what they want.
* people, usually, are there for the experience! I’ve made many many many mistakes, but I didn’t get mad or grumpy. I just apologized, laughed a little at the ridiculousness, fixed it, and tried to learn from it. I once put a straw in a pint of coors, I’ve brought one table the wrong kind of wine 3 times, and didn’t bring someone their cosmo until 30 minutes after they ordered it because I had no idea how to make it, and everyone else was busy. That’s only the things I’ll admit. But every single one of them still generously tipped me, because well, I called myself out on the fumbling fool I was. Because I laughed with them, shook my head and apologized. Because it’s not about the mistakes, it’s all about the experience. So smile, laugh, and maybe have some fun with it.
Sometimes, life brings us places we would never dream of being. Some moments are hard, but it will pass you by if you let it. Let it happen. Enjoy the moment, even if it’s ridiculous, and just be.

Signature 22 in PA, Sask.

And if you want some mouthwatering, flavour exploding, almost better then sex, make you involuntarily close your eyes and sigh food, head to Signature 22. The experience is worth it.

~ Deej

Reason I love travelling #1

Longer “vacations”.

I have never been able to stay at my mom and dad for longer then a weekend. If I was lucky. I always had to go back to work. This year, I get the amazing experience of living with my mom and dad for two whole months. I get to shadow their lives. And don’t you know it, they can’t stop talking about how lucky they feel to have their oldest daughter at home for a while. And smiling all proudly, “yes! Those are real dreads!”. My mom would boast. “My oldest,” I know my dad would say, ” I could fit her on my forearm and palm the day that she was born”.
I saw amazing things today. No, it wasn’t the effil tower, or the latest tourist trend. All the people I saw today were family. I saw the air filled with love today. Tears of joy, and deep hearted laughs. While we shared food and stories, we really couldn’t help ourselves. When the sweets got passed around, four pieces didn’t seem like too many. I saw celebrations of the recent battles won, and a shared ping of grieve, for the loved ones who were gone. I saw amazing people today. The daily work they each do. They daily battles, and the lives they live. Mixed personalities, emotions and thoughts.
I know I didn’t stay long, I’m not much of a people person, I like to spend my time alone. But I am so grateful for my family. For my parents, my brothers and sisters, my aunts, uncles, and cousins. I am grateful for my grandma. She is such a strong, beautiful woman. I feel very lucky to know you all.

So thank you for showing your love. To take the energy to come together, to bring food and bake delicious sweet stuff. I know I’m gone a lot, but you are always on my mind. Thank you for showing all your strengths.

~ Deej

Aloha! 

I tried NOT to burn my skin my first day here!

It didn’t work……

My first day here was amazing. I was a little jet legged this morning, but I remedied that with ocean water and sun! Too much sun……


Plus amazing company. This is my first real hostel experience, and wow. Why have I not been doing this Years ago? One of the guys that worked here is leaving, so tonight the hostel put up a fairwell supper. You could put in $5.00 and eat salad, rice, and curried fish. I split a bottle of wine with another girl staying here that cost only $5.00 total! I met some amazing new people, travellers, a couple of girls talking about coming to Canada to hike! Maybe I’ll have some company when I hike the Trans Canada Trail again! I am blown away, it’s all so amazing.

< My Hawaii Hostel > The staff here are super friendly, very easy to get along with. Coffee is available all day long, and we even had popcorn to munch on today. You crawl into the bed and just melt into the mattress. A/C going so at night it’s just cool enough. Towels are provided, wifi works great everywhere, everything is clean, and the showers have enough space to do jumping jacks in. It’s truly amazing… If the rest of the island didn’t promise amazing views, I would just hang out here the whole time!


Tomorrow morning I am getting up early to go paddling, watch the sunrise over the ocean, and possibly swim with the dolphins. Does it get any better!? I guess I’ll find out.

I am sleeping in a room with 7 other girls, and before bed, every one of them has a different experience to share from the island. From hikes to the Volcanoes, I can’t wait to experience it all!

So far I have been successful keeping the budget cheap. In total, today I have spent $11.50. Thats it. I bought a fresh papaya from the market today for lunch to go with my noodles I had brought along, and snacked on other food I brought, including some Easter chocolate.   (thanks Ma!)

I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, as I have nothing planned so far! All I know is adventure awaits!

Gnight all!

~Deej