This blog's for ME

Almost 25 years old, asking my parents if I can sleep in their bed with them. I had thought I was going to be the 25th Prime Minister of Canada. Things had changed. 10 years later, I was still a scared little boy. The time had come to slap myself awake. One Saturday morning, November 19th, 2009, I declared to the world I would be riding my 10 year-old motorcycle from Vancouver, BC Canada to Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, and back.

The official departure was August 28th, 2010. A group of well-wishers saw me off at 8:03 am.

I arrived in Rio de Janeiro around 6 pm March 1st, 2011.

My return to Vancouver came on July 5th, 2011 about 2:00 pm.

Drug & alcohol abuse, ADD, social anxiety, health, chronic pain, night terrors.

So many concerns. But I am far more interested in this question: Do I have the capacity to make this trip despite all my shortcomings?

My mission: To inspire myself to face my fears, enlighten myself on how all living things can peacefully co-exist, enjoy every moment, and see the world as plentiful and generous.

Go ahead. Call me crazy. Call me anything you like.

I'm out to save my world.


Questions, comments, concerns, threats? Contact me:

Trying Again

Marivy and Victoria have been wonderful hosts here. I have my own room, have a 100 movies at my disposal, get made breakfast most mornings, and my room cleaned. Hot showers, and a key to come and go whenever i want, as well as local phone calls despite a charge for each one. I have been recovering my mind, spirit and body everyday and it has been such a welcome respite from the intensity on the road. They have been so generous with me - how can I repay them?

Well, their house is quiet, exceptionally modern, cozy and spotless,except fort he bathroom ceiling, which was the victim of some moisture problems causing the paint to bubble and flake off. The problem was, I thought, it would be a pain to try and get all the tools to complete the job properly. An instance of telling myself not to do something just because I can. So, the new question I am learning to ask myself now is, "What do I want to do, and what can I do?" The only other option was to give Victoria English lessons. She speaks Spanish every day, and hasn't spoken since grade school. Yet another problem: I hadn't taught English in 4 years, and the last time I tried, I ran out of the school not wanting anything to do with it.

My ascension into the ranks of an English as a Second Language Teacher was a new experience. As I painted the thousandth window frame on an $80,000 job in Richmond, BC, 20' in the air on a hydraulic lift, I suddenly imagined myself teaching English in Shanghai, China. Upon completion of the job, I called my client Terry to tell him I would not be taking anymore maintenance contracts, and was shutting down the company.

The process began with some phone calls to local ESL schools, and an eventual application to the University of Cambridge's CELTA program, taught at the satellite school housed in the YMCA. My first interview with Tamwood on a Friday ended up as a temporary job to last one month the following Monday. I stayed 16.

Moving up the ranks to Activities Coordinator, and level 5 conversation was a flattering, yet humbling experience. An abrupt change in curriculum left me totally lost. I spent hours thinking of lesson plans with a blank page. I became a master of disguise, trying to fool the students into thinking I was organized and ready for their classes, but I couldn't fool myself. I felt like an imposter, despite wanting so bad to be a good teacher, enjoy the students and committed to their learning. Eventually I became more and more anxious, tired, ornery and stressed each class I came up with an empty lesson plan.

I quit, and spent 3 weeks stuck in bed shivering with anxiety. It was an awful experience and I was humbled once again by my mind's ability to shut my entire life off. I had been there twice before, but despite having the knowledge of what was happening, I couldn't shake myself out of it.

So here I was with lesson plan in hand today, prepared the night before, and a bit nervous. I flashed back to the feelings and moments teaching all those years ago, and realized I had to put a positive sign on this. I chose the career, and ended up afraid of it - a demoralizing experience. What went wrong? Well, I was scared to ask for help, too scared to fail, and a perfectionist. I couldn't allow myself to fail in front of the student, so I didn't even try.

Today, we won the battle. Victoria seemed to enjoy the speed and level of English, and together we built up her confidence. I guess that's it. A team - we work together, teacher and student. Equal ground. I came to terms with my time at Tamwood, and realized I can get pretty overwhelmed with the thought of infinite choice through creating my own lesson plans. I preferred to work off of someone else's plan, so I didn't have to go through the anxiety of starting from scratch, and looking at the clock saying 12 am knowing work started at 6 the next morning. My achilles heel, so to speak, came in the form of experiences of being at the front of the class, directing a group of people, and fearing making a mistake. My fear created itself a negative experience, but I know now it wasn't ME. It was just a skill I hadn't learned, and if I stayed relaxed, and committed to it fully, I could get through my physical pain enough to create the lesson.

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Videos of my journey