Thank you and goodbye | 5th October 2011 | 13:33 PDT

The big dreams
The curious stories
The breathtaking scenery
The (more or less) sunny weather
The interesting strangers
Their fascinating stories
The brilliant friends
Their big dreams
and all the other things

To everyone for reading, enjoying, sticking by, supporting, stranging, befriending and making what has been an unforgettable six months, a massive massive thank you.... And with that, my incredible adventure is now over. It's been emotional.

That's It, That's All, That's All There Is.

Sayonara Vancouver | 5th October 2011 | 13:22 PDT

Just coming back from the most incredible and atmospheric paddleboarding session, glising along the mirror-like English Bay looking from Burrard Bridge, Downtown and it's almost perfect reflection, the West End, the autumn coloured Stanley Park, North Shore and mountains being hugged by low cloud.


Looking back at my experience in Vancouver, it's a weird place, where hostility and friendliness happily reside side by side, it's an easy place to create amazing friendships and yet an easy place to lose your faith in humanity and manners;
As the saying goes: Smile at the world and the world smiles at you back
In Vancouver it's: Smile at the world and the world slams a door in your face
And after a while it's: Smile at the world and the world slams a door in your face and your friends will laugh at you.

As a city, I didn't like Vancouver it's flaws are easy to see being such a young city and it's a place that is being run by clumsy council that wouldn't be able to run a fishing village, let alone a village. Saying that, it's in it's teenage years that is still in its definition stages and I feel like it's hanging on a knife's edge at all times, mainly with the internal battle and friction that is being caused by the original citizens keeping the “vibe” and the new forward thinking citizens using it as their own personal Grand Theft Auto playground. Same old shit then.

G.T.EH: Vancouver

Ignoring the boring unimportant politics, I really admire Vancouver, you walk around and you talk to people, and they're so proud about where they live and just seeing their enthusiasm and glee on their faces as they describe how how much contentment that area has brought them, but that's where my frustration comes in; contentment. Everything's pleasant and everyone is content, which is by far not a bad thing whatsoever and reaching this contentment is gained at an exponential rate, but breaking that roof to go further, is almost impossible.

It boils down to, if you're in a place that all you have to worry about whether you're going up a mountain or down to the beach and on your way home you have to cross the street to avoid a skunk, it really can't be all that bad.

I enjoyed my time here and wouldn't change any the unique sights and sounds I have witnessed and I am extremely sad to leave the lifestyle behind where everything is all about being creative, being outdoors and the relaxed atmosphere, but it also feels right to go now.

Which is what I must do

This is going to be a long paddle home.

Who's this guy? | 4th October 2011 | 17:24 PDT

I'm on the last walk around Downtown, the clouds are low, the rain is lethargic, the buildings are monochrome, cars are slow, people are quiet, nothing is happening, This cite has seemed to have committed suicide leaving its shell like a turtle turning itself into soup.

Either, my mood has some awesome power over everyone and everything to make a visual soundtrack or the weather is making me feel... a bit glum. Either way, Vancouver does have one shining pearl of enlightenment up its sleeve to share with me as I arrive to the new plaza at the recently renovated BC Place Stadium.

I'm looking at these 4 bronze statues of what appears to be some bloke running a bit weird, his face looks like he's struggling and focused and with a tshirt he's wearing that says “Marathon” I can understand why his face looked like that. It took me around 7 minutes of admiring the tribute for my eyes to tell my brain that his right leg differed from his left.

His right leg was a prosthetic – not an actual prosthetic leg as this statue is intended to last a thousand years and his real prosthetic leg wasn't bronze as that's less than ideal for running a marathon with, just a bronzed representation of what his leg looked like.


This man is actually a boy, he is a Canadian icon, he is an international hero, he was hugely ambitious, he led a truly determined but saddening life. An inspiration for all. I introduce to you, Terrance Stanley “Terry” Fox.

Fox was an avid and successful high school athlete, when at 19 years old in 1977 he was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer in his right knee which resulted in him having to have his right leg amputated; during this traumatic episode in his life he learnt the positive effects cancer research and funding was having with his condition, his chances of survival being raised to 50% from 15% in just 2 years; Athleticism ran through his veins and found success with wheelchair basketball with thanks to his competitive, dedicated and stubborn nature, Fox had bigger a challenge in his sights.

While in hospital, Fox read about Dick Traum, the amputee to complete the New York marathon; this inspired him to come up with The Marathon of Hope, his idea was that he would raise 1 dollar for every person in Canada (24 million, at the time) by running a 26 mile marathon everyday for 5000 miles across Canada from St. Johns, Newfoundland to Victoria, British Columbia.

In April 1980, after gained sponsorship from Ford, Adidas and Imperial Oil, he dipped his right leg in the Atlantic and set off west; with every step, through every town over summer his aware to the cause gained momentum and captured the nation's imagination and became a national icon.

In September 1980, 143 later from when he started, Fox suffered from chest pains and was unable to continue his run; worried, he rushed to hospital. The next day he held a press conference, with tears and great regret he shared the news of his hospital tests results saying, his cancer had spread to his lungs. The Marathon of Hope had come to a premature end and by December 1980, he had disappeared from public view and in June 1981, Terry Fox passed away.

Though he was gone from the public view, he was not forgotten; He received an overwhelming public response, in the 7 months he was absent from the public eye people from around the world were hearing of his achievements and donating from far and wide, letters with “Terry Fox, Canada” were being successfully delivered, by April 1981 over $23 million had been raised; it didn't stop there as it has gained more momentum over the years; a Terry Fox Run is held every year, involving millions of people in over 50 countries and has raised half a billion dollars in his name so far.


The most curious part of the Terry Fox plaza is a small written piece by Vancouver resident Douglas Coupland called “What If?” it goes into detail about, what if Terry had changed his mind to do the Marathon of Hope and decided not to go ahead with it; He might not have had a relapse and gone on with his life to get a job, get married and raise a family; he himself might have wondered for the rest of his life, “What If?”.

Coupland continues to say; the world, weather and its people would just be the same and carry on doing its thing, everything would be the same and yet the way life is viewed by us after learning his incredible story wouldn't be the same as our perspectives are now altered about we feel about death, courage and strength; but, we are all guilty of feeling we are just one person on Earth and do we bother going on as nothing really matters; but yet, we all do.

Coupland concludes with; “If we follow Terry's example of choosing the more difficult choice, our lives take on meaning greater than we might ever have dared hope”

After I read that and looked back at the statues, for what seemed like hours – eerie shivers ran over my skin, welling up of tear ducts mixed with admirable feelings towards this motivated young individual who I never knew existed a couple of minutes ago. I leave feeling sad and a bit low, but surprisingly, I simply couldn't dwell on it; I quickly shifted from feeling down to feeling enlightened and reinvigorated.

I think most of us, if not all, are familiar with the story of heating up a frog; put a frog in hot water it immediately jumps out, put a frog in cold water and turn up the heat it will stay there until it dies. Life can sometimes feel like this, sometimes all is required is a bit of bravery to take that leap out of the pan of comfort and accept that new challenge.

Last Supper | 3rd October 2011 | 23:52 PDT

Tonight felt like it was the beginning of the end as a few friends and I went out to not celebrate but, acknowledge with merriment my imminent departure as well as other people's achievements and markers in their lives that seemed that have taken place in the same week.

To respond the rising of a spring tides and everything shifting onto a new plain as the evolution of one era evolves into a another era. A special effort was required from us to enjoy these future changes, we went out and grabbed a burger.

This wasn't like a Happy Meal burger to remind ourselves of a life that was much simpler when, the toughest task you had to face was getting enough confidence to go back to the counter and negotiate with the sales person to swap the toy over for one you really wanted.

What we had instead represented we'd all become bloody snobs abroad with roots to our previous lives... or something. We had a gourmet 3 course meal including beef corn dog, organic sausage and beef burger and cupcake with beer icing with lots of other bespoke beer related items to finish of my spa treatment to my taste buds, each course was matched with a different pint of beer from the local brewery. Each course and each drink was presented by chef and brew-master respectively who gave a brief chat about what we were about to consume.

There's something about the burger (or more likely, the beer) that made us want to go out and drink with a mission to get drunk and seeing as it was a Monday, it was the best day to do it. We headed to Room Eighteen for board game night and immediately got distracted by something more fun that is called a '649 Shot' which involves 3 liquors, a beermat and a shot glass.

649 is the name of the Canadian lottery and sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. First thing being first, liquor – Now, behind most bars in Canada you have 3 rows of liquor like some sort of eye-friendly reminder of why your liver will eventually stop working and cease to exist. With beermat in hand, you have to throw it at the bottles of goodness behind the bar and whichever bottle your beermat hits, decides your fate.

From that impact point the barkeep will count 6 bottles in one direction, up one row and count 4 bottles in the other direction, up one row and count 9 bottles in initial direction with each landing a third of a shot will be poured out, resulting in a horrible concoction of liquid or not – most people had positive results and the minority had a reaction so vile that it sounded like they would be put off drinking for the rest of their lives.

None of us stopped drinking, as we managed to have an overly drunk and emotional final goodbye at the end of the night, thanks to a few pitchers of beer.

The end is nigh.

Party Aftermath | 2nd October 2011 | 23:52 PDT

I feel like I've been living in a perpetual Sunday the last couple of days, today, being actually a Sunday, I can partake in the activities normally associated with a Sunday guilt free.

After a typical heavy Saturday night, you know the typical drill when you wake up in a friendly place that's not your own – you wake up late, you have a glass of water that leaves you feel like you've just taken in a big gulp of stomach churning curdled yoghurt, proceed to lie around looking around in a daze, having incoherent conversations before you realise that a trip to the local diner can be achieved.

A quick American meal later and a giant non-water liquid ingestion, you're ready to spend all that regained energy indoors, watching the flashing colours of YouTube, films, before night falls once more and you feel ready to face the world alone again and return home.


What caused this day of lapsing? A BC house party an odd experience, where you fall into two very distinctive categories, You're either musically talented beyond your years and can play absolutely everything and create the soul of the party by doing incredible things to a guitar, banging out amazing beats, free-styling deep whimsical lyrics or; you're drunk.

Being a “heavy Saturday night” - I fell into the latter category, I fell quite a bit, trying my hand at drumming or a bit of musical 'whooping' to try and join in, I was swallowed up and left for dead by the giants, leaving me with one option which was to stand there in a jealous awe at these talented people while drinking wine from a beer bottle, because I'm classy like that.

Driving Art | 1st October 2011 | 15:16 PDT

Having the mentality of going out and partaking in a casual and relaxed day that is more suited for a quiet Sunday than a noisy Saturday, I had expected and expectations for the day and wrote it off as a normal day where I would have lived the life of the living.

I didn't notice it at first as I was walking down Robson street but I did sense that there was something interesting skulking there and pulling within my head lobes to go back and after I crossed the road and got half way down the block, before I stopped randomly, without reason, faced 180degrees and moved to where I just came (my body also turned with my face) and parked on the corner was “I Am Eh”

Riiiiiight, what?

Looking at it, I'm not quite sure to make of it, I can make out from its vague shape that it was once a VW Beetle but this has had the entire contents of a bric-a-brac shop poured on top of it, like the owner was making an expensive grown up version of glue and glitter art.

That's not to say it's rubbish, it's incredibly intriguing to see a car contain flowers, toys, garden ornaments, words, flags, money, musical instruments, bikes, telephones, keyrings, fountains and all sorts of other stuff screwed and glued to the car.

Riiiiiight, what?

There was a leaflet dispenser on the side of the vehicle that was 2 full sides of pretentious quotes about the Earth, beings and to be honest I couldn't read it as it was hurting my head too much. The main reason behind is simple; We are the world and this is everyone within it.

Riiiiiight! ... What?

Winding Down | 30th September 2011 | 22:05 PDT

It's the stage between Summer and Autumn meaning the weather is either, warm, cold, cloudy, hot, humid, clear, drizzly, grey in one day, but always appears to be wet, it's more confused about what to do with itself than an overexcited kid on holiday at a waterpark.

With the sun more or less gone, Vancouver has shift a few gears down and everywhere outside has gone dead, the population shift seems more noticeable (with tourism being the 2nd largest industry, after timber) than anywhere else I've been as there are no tourist here, not until the ski season starts.

Void of all intelligent life

Compared to summer this place feels like a ghost town (“Ahhhhh... This town, is coming like a ghost town”) and the people left behind are catching their breath, readying themselves for winter and the various challenges that it will involve. No one is going out, nothing is going on... At. All.

So, when it is raining in an empty wet city, you don't want to be roaming the streets aimlessly because it's rather unpleasant but, I want to remain indoors but out the house, I want to be in-out. For me, that means only one thing, going to a coffee shop.

Vancouver has a laughable amount of coffee shops it's obscene, I couldn't believe it when I first got here. Oh, what a fool I was for thinking that as the first sign of rain is spotted on the concrete, that's your cue to run for a coffee shop.

I left it longer than 30 seconds to get to my nearest Starbucks when this happened and it resulted in me trundling up and down random streets for 30 minutes looking to find a seat to enjoy, it took the 7th place I visited as the other 6 places I tried were absolutely packed out with about a billion people, the whole thing resembled a Serengeti watering hole.

Hang on, this is mud water, I ordered a latte! (via

When I found my seat, I guarded it for, hours, mostly with an empty drink. Watching people running in from the wet looking for a seat, before bracing themselves to go to the next place, I would find myself pretending to get up, to the joy of the wet guy, only for me to sit back down again and enjoying the little power trip I was on.

Then, I would need to toilet and lose my seat and would have to do the whole thing over again. Oh, how the mighty fall.