Friday, January 6, 2017

Housesitting on Salt Spring Island

For thirty two days in December and January, I lived in a magical place. A place where arbutus and Garry oaks hold a steadfast stance on salty shores. A place where thick mossy rugs are like opium on hilltops, coaxing you to sit down for just a moment -- no, rather lie down for an entire afternoon snooze. A place where cormorants gather by the dozens to roost in treetops, noisily chattering as the sun sets. A place where time is measured only by the ferries that enter and leave the harbours.

An eagle eye's view of the magical place, looking north from Reginald Hill.
The Fulford-Burgoyne Valley, straight ahead, is nestled between
Mt Bruce (2,326 ft / 709 m) and Mt Maxwell (1,946 ft / 593 m).
If I were to turn towards the south, I would see the San Juan Islands.

If I were to turn so that the water was at my back,
I would see this soft, sunny spot,
begging for a picnic or a nose to be buried in a book. 

This magical place is Salt Spring Island. One of the southern Gulf Islands, Salt Spring is located in the Strait of Georgia, snuggled between mainland British Columbia and Vancouver Island. The Gulf Islands are close relatives to Washington state's San Juan Islands. They are separated only by an international border and distinguished by citizens who look the same but end their sentences with "eh." With 10,000 year-round residents, many of them "artist-types," Salt Spring is the most populous of the Gulf Islands. But it certainly doesn't feel that way; nature and solitude are abundant.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

On Solitude

I love being alone. For me, being alone means solitude. It means experiencing peace, presence, and empowerment. For others, being alone equates to loneliness and brings with it a slew of sad emotions.

I'm fascinated by how aloneness can be so wonderful for some people and so not-wonderful for others. Clearly, loneliness and solitude sit at opposing ends of the being-alone spectrum.


When people think of being alone, they typically think of physical isolation from other people. But it's not the only type of isolation that comes with being alone. How do I know this? Because the times when I have been most lonely in my life were times when I felt alone in the presence of other people. There's a lot to be said for mental isolation. Though I can be in the physical presence of another person and engaged in social interaction, if that social interaction is unfulfilling, then I feel mentally alone.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Riding the Rectangle: A Photo Journal

Of all the trips I led this summer, my favorite was the informal overnighter that I organized with friends along The Rectangle.

You may recall me mentioning The Rectangle Ride before. In my Bloated Fish & Butt Raisins post from 2013, I wrote about the perfect autumnal ride around The Rectangle. In my Backpacking in Hell's Canyon post from 2015, I mentioned my mid-winter ride around The Rectangle, in which I first saw the aftermath of the Oso landslide. Needless to say, The Rectangle Ride is my favorite close-to-home overnight bike trip.

In mid-September of this year, I rode The Rectangle for the sixth time. I thoroughly enjoyed sharing the ride with six friends. This is a photo journal of our trip.

The Gang (from l to r):
Brad, me, Yonina, David, Faisal, Eric, and El Mecánico.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Happy 4th Re-Birthday to Me!

Happy 4th Re-Birthday to Me!

Four years ago today, I quit my job and was thereby born again into a new life. Since my re-birth, I have luxuriated in the freedoms afforded by unstructured time and financial independence. Wow, what a joy ride it has been!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

My Friend Joey

Meet my friend, Joey. She's one of those people that I am really glad to know. After you learn about Joey, you'll be glad you know her, too.

My friend, Joey. (Photo: Joey's Facebook page.)

For most of you, you will have met Joey through this blog post. But for me, I met Joey three summers ago when I was riding my bike eastbound across the country.