The great divide and maple dreams

chillin' at moraine lake

 

I must be stressed, I can’t write.. That took me a few attempts, but I guess something is often better than nothing. It has taken me quite a while to process the last couple of months. To absorb all those adventures after leaving Australia and put myself back into Canadian life, where I no longer feel attached, certainly not the way I was. 

Until a couple of weeks ago I was still striving for this life, the one where I thought I would remain here, the life which tempted me with amazing landscapes, high mountain peaks, crystal clear lakes and a lifetime of adventures in seasons I dreamed of as a child. 

This upheaval and the effect it has had on me is profound, but it is justified. I admit now that I found myself alone out here. I tried so hard to create my new world that I was blinded by the connections that I nurtured and the beautiful environment I had moved into. I didn’t realise how shallow the bond was. I was misguided in my attempts to create something more meaningful. 

My 4 years in Canada have gone by so quickly, it really has! I can remember like it was yesterday arriving in Vancouver, a new city which I had always imagined to be covered in snow. It was a wet and cold evening in Coquitlam where I reunited with an amazing individual. One of few inspirational women in my life, and she probably doesn’t even know it. Sooz, or as some of us still probably think of her, Ms Leith! .. had moved to Vancouver quite recently. She was one of the teachers at my high school but was only young herself, so after high school in a small town a lot of her ex pupils were suddenly her friends. When I was given the opportunity to stay at the house she exchanged for her own back in Australia I took it. She was there as part of the teacher exchange program and it was a great spot to catch up, recharge and look for my own place downtown. 

So that was how it all began, living in a spare room of my high school teachers house in suburbia Vancouver. Four years later I have moved all my things from Turbos house (the worlds friendliest and nicest grandma).. And I found a place just down the road to base myself and begin catching up on all of the things you put off and sacrifice when you travel on the road for extended periods of time. It was a tough choice for me, because it would of been so easy to save money and continue living on my bike. Visiting friends and camping in some of my favourite spots. But I felt the desire to be settled a little bit, I felt the need to become stationary and to allow my friends the opportunity to come and visit me. Well, one of those things was true, I stayed put, believing I would get the chance to catch up with people who I had missed while I was away. Shockingly, nobody came. It did hurt my pride, my ego, my sense of worth and the role I play in this little society was questioned. Why don’t people want to come and visit or make plans or do anything? Has life moved on so much? Have they forgotten me? .. The truth is, it doesn’t really matter. When I spoke with Steph she noticed I seemed down, and I was, I explained to her and some others which had asked, that it is impossible to remain at the top and keep living at such a tempo all the time. All people need the time to decompress, we all have those high and low moments.

 

My life got extremely busy all of a sudden, I can’t explain in a paragraph all the finer details of the course of my life the next year or so , but it does involve quite a few changes. Which ultimately is very difficult for me take on board in such a short time span. I have lived a very adventurous and spontaneous life, that is true. But for the last few years I have had a purpose. I had an intention to build the “west coast wanderer”  company and do off road motorcycle tours around British Columbia. Until a couple of weeks ago I still genuinely believed that was possible to do soon. But now I’ve started the acceptance that it is further away than I hoped. I cannot deny the fact I should have began the process for my permanent residency a long time ago. It was stupid of me to believe I could come back from this huge ride, not have worked since 2013, and apply to be a permanent resident based on my qualifications as an electrician. And, I think I didn’t put the time and effort into discovering that because I didn’t want to ruin the illusion before I had even left. So perhaps deep down I had already committed to knowing that but my denial stopped me from really letting it happen. Either way, I am now in a position where I love a country but cannot stay. I would love to bring Steph here, and show her all the things that have been such a huge influence in making me the man I am. The places I’ve adventured, the people I’ve met and all the experiences I had. I want to share those with her, to make her understand why I am this way. So that upsets me, considering that it mite never happen that way. 

I know I will miss Canada, I do intend to come back, my goals right now are to do that. But I have to admit, the times I’ve spent back in Australia with her make me fully appreciate the opportunities we share together. We’ve now discussed our options and have a very basic plan on how we can still create the perfect life where we have a small business in each country, only spending summers in each hemisphere. It is possible, but the priority for us right now is for me to sort out how I can move home, take my things with me and then settle in. I’m excited about buses right now, which is very different to my usual mode of adventure. But I wanted a van and Steph was adamant we needed a house. I suggested we don’t rent though because we could save more money that way but we didn’t have enough to finance the business as well as a house. So we compromised, like good relationships do I’m told. I found some amazing bus conversions online. Some nights I stay up til early morning watching and researching them. It’s probably unhealthy, but it really interests the builder, the planner and the engineer in my brain. 

Living apart has been very interesting for our friendship and our new relationship, we’ve both had moments of doubt and it has been extremely hard to travel and live on opposite sides of the world. I recall laying on top of my sleeping pad on the grass underneath my tarp, parked in my friend Bill’s back yard and Steph called. I knew she was upset. I knew she had things on her mind, it was building up to that all week. She wanted to end it. My stomach sank and I knew we had to open up discussion about how we would make it work, but also I couldn’t push her away or get angry. We talked for an hour about it, and it was one of the best conversations we’ve had. Because I was able to manage my emotions, even though I was hurt, we actually talked very openly, we shared our feelings without feeling too defensive. I will be the first to admit I know very little about women, I know very little about life. But I know that to make things work and to really connect with someone it really all relies on the communication. From that conversation we had over the phone in Oregon, it gave me strength, it gave me belief that it is going to be tough, and it is going to be one of the most difficult times of our lives, to continue building a strong relationship even though we had such a short time to cement our foundations before I left. I had doubts too, and we struggled like a little roller coaster just bouncing around and not knowing where our fate would lie. But when the time comes to see her again, I know my heart will fill, and I will have made the right choice to return to the country I was born in with a woman who supports my decisions and my way of life.

This post comes at an interesting time, it is quite unsettled, I feel uneasy writing it and sharing it, but the fact I’ve been able to sit here and write some things down has helped me immensely. I will go home tonight, feeling relaxed and confident about the path I’m walking. I hope everyone reading realises that life is not meant to be easy, but find something which makes you smile and enjoy it.