There have been a lot of ideas since Canada. All kinds of distracting notions have drifted into my mind and unfolded into rants and manifestoes and projects. It’s not surprising, the smallest thing can inspire and for all my moaning about idle Summers spent in Sligo, it’s a pretty brilliant place and it hasn’t been entirely devoid of goings on. Even boredom can force creativity; trying to occupy oneself can lead to insane thoughts and intricate plans. Yet I haven’t written a thing and after all these weeks what compelled me to start at this craic again was a packet of photos from Canada.
I got them back today, they were developed from a disposable camera I bought on April 29th to document our road trip with Kyle but which ended up being used to take snaps of all my last adventures in BC. I opened the folder as soon as I left the shop, still walking until I saw Celia and Helene smiling at me from the first picture- then I had to stop. I had forgotten even taking it but it brought me right back to that moment – my last day, waiting for the bus to leave, a Moguls cookie in my backpack. It’s mad; you forget that when taking a photo you don’t just record what’s in front of the camera but also how you felt at that moment. Looking at each of those pictures I felt at home. I loved the people and places that I was fixing the lens on, and being there with them everything seemed right and bright and brilliant.
The images of Tommy Africa’s and Whistler and getting ready for Stacie’s birthday also brought on a heavy sense of nostalgia, a feeling that was probably long overdue. I didn’t cry on my last day. Perhaps because the experience was incomplete then; I was still living part of it even as I was leaving. Now two entire months have passed and the photos have made me look at it as something that has ended. Which it has. I will go back some day but it was those ten months, with those people that made it what it was.
Of course things weren’t perfect at all times. There was still a lot of moaning about having to walk long distances with backpacks and skis, there were terrifying essays and massive queues for dodgy night clubs and now and again you missed home. That said most of the time it was fairly deadly and everybody seemed to flourish being there. Some places are more conducive to that than others. The beauty definitely helps. It is hard not to be inspired when you are never far from hypnotising, breathtaking views of ocean and awesome overgrown forests that climbed and clung to those vast dramatic mountains, as inescapably present downtown as they were from the Rose Garden in UBC or from Celia and Kirsty’s kitchen window, forming the reassuring backdrop to every adventure and upset. With all of that in sight it’s hard just to stop yourself from smiling.
I spent a lot of time staring at things in awe and I definitely reckon it does the old soul good to be exposed to natural delights but it goes without saying that the people I met were pretty central to the success and general brilliance of the whole experience, I mean I’m a big fan of mountains but they are pretty deficient when it comes to making you laugh. I feel safe in saying that anyone who engages in a bit of travel or faraway living comes home with a few new lifelong friends. We are as motivated to wander as much by a desire to meet new types of people as to see exotic places and famous sights and Vancouver and Whistler and Hope and the Island surely delivered on that count. I must warn those of you appalled at the sentimental tenor of this blog of late and this post in particular – things are probably going to spill into the downright saccharine at this point. It starts with this sentence: I am so feckin’ grateful for the friends I made. We were like a family. A cafe crawling, weird dancing, road tripping, hitch hiking, couchsurfing, fort building, exploring, Metropole whoring, making the most of the outdoorsing, bit getting, third handing always awesome laugh having family. From those guys and even from the people I met for just a few hours or hung out with for a weekend I learnt so much. The noise a zebra makes, the power of positivity, the definition of salivation army on urban dictionary, the importance of having a goal and a vision. My favourite lesson though, and I guess it’s one all folks who do their little bit of travelling learn sooner or later, is just this: people are awesome. They are generous, tenacious, brave, hardworking, witty, passionate, they’ll go out of their way for you, tell you their life story and listen with interest to yours, help you solve a problem, bring you on adventures, change the way you think about things for the better.
I reckon that’s enough cringey expressions of emotion for a while. With that off my chest that’s the book closed on Canada, hopefully I won’t forget about it. Plenty of new adventures with old friends (and strangers) to look forward to and all kindsa ridiculousness in Dublin, banter and antics and all (to be written about in an off hand cavalier way to counteract all the recent earnest personal stuff, apologies folks)