Drifting on the wind

When drifting, expect change

With no permanent home, I’m drifting along keeping myself open to possibilities so it’s not surprising that my plans are changing and evolving along the way. That’s one of the exciting things about the unknown which lays ahead of us all. We may “think” we know what’s going to happen within the next few months, but in all actuality, the future is a blank page waiting to be written. What is written depends on the direction you take and the doors that open along the way.

My original plan, which has detoured somewhat, was to spend only April in Squamish before returning to the Island to house sit. In June, I planned to fly to Toronto. Following that, I didn’t know. Perhaps I would travel, hit a few kizomba festivals in Europe and work remotely from various countries. Sounds like a lot of fun, right? Some of it is still a possibility, after all, me and my pal “change” have become quite familiar with each other over the years. Anything can happen.

On April 3rd, the morning after a minor panic attack, which you can read about in my post, “Don’t panic, it’s just change“, I headed to Squamish with my plan intact. A long-time friend who I’ve known since I was four had offered me her lovely vacation rancher for the month. It backs onto the forest near a dome-shaped mountain called Slhanay which is situated beside the well-known granite monolith, the Stawamus Chief.

Stawamus Chief

The Stawamus Chief from the Squamish Estuary. Slhanay is on the far left.

When my friend suggested I could have her place for April, the clarity I felt shoved every other possibility aside. Squamish is in the mountains which I’ve missed terribly. It’s between two fabulous places, Vancouver where I could dance my feet off and Whistler where I could hike my feet off. This scenario was really quite perfect.

A mountain lover

Victoria, nestled on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, is beautiful, cultural and quaint. I could go to a beach any day of the week and have the ocean lapping at my toes, but it didn’t fill my soul like the mountains do.

I’m a lover of the alpine, mountain lake swims, cook stoves and camp coffee in the morning.

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While on a 4-day solo backpack trip in Austria

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Backpacking in Strathcona Provincial Park

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Swimming at Diana Pool in Strathcona Provincial Park

Trailside huckleberries always stop me in my tracks and beckon me to stuff my mouth full, even between my teeth and lips. Only when my mouth is completely jam-packed do I allow myself to chew and savour the sweet-tart flavour. I highly recommend trying it! The girl who introduced me to this huckleberry mouth-stuffing ritual is the same woman who offered me her Squamish vacation home in April.

My friend and I

My friend, Sylvia, and I grew up in the small rural community of Whonnock and both of our properties backed onto Kanaka Creek and what my dad called “the gully”, except that she was one street over from me. We’d cross the cow field to play in one yard or the other.

This is when I wish I had a better pic of both of us. My friend, Sylvia, on the left and me on the right.

Reconnecting with Sylvia in Squamish brought back all kinds of childhood memories like swinging on her trapeze, walking her balance beam and Fosbury flopping over her basement high jump set-up. We were both heavily involved in track and field and cross country so we’d run to school together sometimes. We could also be found in the plum tree on Ferguson Avenue snacking on saliva-inducing sour plums or at her house sneaking dog biscuits — and not to feed the dog. We ate them and actually liked them. Ugh! We also read Archie comics and drew Betty and Veronica’s various fashions, although neither one of us became fashion goddesses like they were. Nope! We were athletic girls who morphed into mountain women except that I hike them and she climbs them.

Hiking up the Stawamus ChiefCliming in Squamish
The same piece of granite, just a different method of reaching the top. Me on the left, Sylvia on the right.

I have a feeling, though, that I’ll be joining Sylvia on small rock faces very soon — a short easy warm-up for her, but a little nerve-racking, like climbing a skyscraper, for me! She’s belayed me here in Squamish before and with over 25 years rock climbing experience I trust her with my life!

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Climbing in Squamish at the end of July 2013. Me on the left, Sylvia on the right.

The challenge

The other reason Squamish was a good idea is that I could give freelancing a full go without my safety line, the UVic temporary staffing pool. Squamish is far enough away that I would think twice about tossing in the white towel, but close enough that if I failed I could return to the Island and have a job.

It’s always scary to let go of a steady income especially when you have responsibilities and bills to pay. Luckily for me, I’m mostly free of the bigger responsibilities like raising little kids (mine’s grown up) but I still need to live somewhere, eat, get places, communicate and replace my socks when they get holy, and believe me, I’m running out of good ones.

During my month in Squamish, I felt full of vitality and strength but not without a good dose of uncertainty. Being in the mountains made me realize how much I’ve missed them. The forest aroma was familiar, sweet and earthy, like the gully.

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Forest foliage at the Squamish Estuary

On breaks, I’d hike up the Chief or visit the estuary which quickly became a favourite place.

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On the second peak of the Stawamus Chief

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The Squamish Estuary in early April

The challenges were more business-related. Trying to attract new clients while keeping my current ones moving towards the end goal of a live website had me feeling a little anxious at times, but overall April was a fantastic month. I finished a website for Lyrical Note and started another for a land surveying company. I even did a commercial photography shoot which turned out fantastic. See my commercial photography page for the results!

Change again

During my time spent living and working in Squamish, my mind became open to new possibilities. Perhaps Squamish could be a home one day. This is where “change” cuts in, “ahem…you know you could alter your plans.”

Sylvia suggested that I’d be welcome to rent the guest room for the entire summer if I wanted. Clarity filled my heart once again. Plans don’t have to stay the same. Travelling can wait a little while longer so I can sort out this freelancing business. What’s more, my son convocates from BCIT in June and summer is peak hiking season here in BC. It would feel wrong to miss both of those things.

So, it’s set. I’ll be sticking around Squamish for the entire summer beginning in June. Well, at least that’s what I think is going to happen, but as we are well aware, you never know. I’m just a seed drifting on the wind. Who knows where I’ll land and pick up again.

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