My Deserted Island

Love the TTC, Toronto.
Love the TTC, Toronto.

Maybe your country is only a place you make up in your own mind. Something you dream about and sing about. Maybe it’s not a place on the map at all, but just a story full of people you meet and places you visit, full of books and films you’ve been to. I’m not afraid of being homesick and having no language to live in. I don’t have to be like anyone else. I’m walking on the wall and nobody can stop me.
Hugo Hamilton, The Speckled People: A Memoir of a Half-Irish Childhood

I have found my deserted island. For the longest time, I thought to myself that I had to travel in order to discover myself. I had to go far, far away to discover who I am, and what my deepest self is like. But recently, I have realized a new reality. I moved into my own space on Jan 17th, 2015. A momentous date in the speck of a life.

For the first time in my 31 years, I have a space of my own – a space that is truly my own. I can do to this space, whatever I want. More than that, I can be whoever I want in this space. I’m free to dance around like a crazy person or Om at 6am in the morning.

I’m free to put my vision board up, play my music at whatever tempo I want, and walk around naked if I want.

It wasn’t like I couldn’t do all of this things in my room in my parents’ home. They were amazing and they truly let me do what I wanted. But it isn’t the physical space as much as the mental freedom that I have suddenly realized. For the first time, I truly feel like a space is my own.

I clean my space everyday, cleaning the counters, washing the dishes, brushing the floors. I feel a unique sense of ownership and joy in my space. I wake up every morning and I stare at the white-washed walls. The minimalistic nature of my space, the empty walls, and spaces, really gives me room to breathe.

I can be free to do what I want, because of all the free space that is present in my condo.

If I had known the joy that I would feel at having my own space, I would have partaken a long time ago. It is hard to put down on paper what I feel. It is this feeling of expansiveness – of taking up a bigger space than I actually hold that I can’t really put down on paper.

Did you feel this way when you moved out into your own space? Tell me about it.

Contentment Brings More Unrequited Joy

Memories of snow from February in Toronto.
Memories of snow from February in Toronto.

Whatever we are waiting for – peace of mind, contentment, grace, the inner awareness of simple abundance – it will surely come to us, but only when we are ready to receive it with an open and grateful heart. – Sarah Ban Breathnach

I wanted to blame my hormones, but the truth is I was being silly. I had lost a bunch of friends recently with the break-up, and I had given up a bunch of friends due to their negativity. It was a Saturday, and I wanted to go out, but everyone I called was busy. At first, I took it as a sign to rest – I had been pushing hard all week, and I definitely did need the break. I fell asleep early and woke up feeling great. But as Sunday kept rolling along, I kept getting crabbier. I was going deep into a funk about absolutely nothing. Continue reading

Do Not Hurry, My Friend; You Will Arrive

Waterfront, Toronto.
Snowy Waterfront, Toronto.

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.
–Lao Tzu

In the past few months, I have been changing the way I do things, or at least trying to. I have been letting things come to me, rather than running after them like I used to. Let me tell a story to explain. From October to January, I was searching for a full-time Marketing role. In the beginning, I was like a chicken with its head cut off.

I ran around meeting different people, I applied to hundreds of jobs everyday, I woke up early and stayed up late. I was generally a complete mess.

I got lots of interviews, but nothing materialized into a full-time job. Continue reading

Do As The Locals Do

Yonge-Dundas Square, Toronto.
Yonge-Dundas Square, Toronto.

Live, travel, adventure, bless and don’t be sorry. – Jack Kerouac.

A colleague of mine was telling me a story about his travels. A few years ago, he was in Chile at a volcanic lake (the name escaped him) with his girlfriend. They got there in the morning, and lazed around all day with a bunch of other locals. At 330pm, all the locals started packing up and leaving. In a few minutes, the lake was empty, except for the two of them. They didn’t really know what was going on, so they decided to take advantage of the quiet and serenity. They considered themselves lucky to have the whole beach to themselves. Continue reading

Yoga Is Life

Waterfront, Downtown Toronto.
Waterfront, Downtown Toronto.

Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured. – BK Iyengar.

I was chatting with a colleague of mine. He was chatting about all the injuries that he had sustained in his short time on this Earth (he’s 27). He has a shoulder injury, a pinkie finger injury, an ankle injury, a wrist injury, and a myriad other number of injuries. When asked, how he received all of these hurts, he answered ‘Basketball’. The only reason he was upset about all the injuries was because they restricted his Basketball time. Even though he is in pain, he plays Basketball every week. Someone said, ‘Maybe you should take a month off from Basketball. It will really help with your recovery.’ He looked at them as if they were crazy, and said, he couldn’t do it. ‘Ball is Life’, he said, earnestly.

He couldn’t live without it – it was as important to him as food or water. Continue reading

Redefining Living The Dream

Beach jam Cambodia
Beach jam Cambodia

This is a guest post by Brooke Palmer, bio is below.

10/24/2014
I get a lot of “You are Living The Dream” comments lately, but all smouldering sunset photos and enthused tales of gigs aside, The Dream is a lot messier and a lot less glamorous from the inside than it may seem from the outside.

But the key is that for The Dreamer, it doesn’t matter because it’s still The Dream, no matter what it looks like from anyone’s perspective. Continue reading

Leaving Shanghai And Suzhou

Last morning in Shanghai leaving for the airport
Last morning in Shanghai leaving for the airport

This is a guest post by Brooke Palmer, bio is below.

8/12/2014

Before I moved to Shanghai, I remember looking at teaching job ads in China and actively and specifically thinking, “Yeah right, that’s somewhere I will never live.”  Then I visited a good friend in Shanghai, fell in love with the city, and 2 months later, there I was. 

Continue reading

The Great Purge

Unpacking and repacking my stuff, La Paz, Mexico
Boom’s wardrobe for 10 months of backpacking – La Paz, Mexico

This is a guest post by Brooke Palmer, bio is below.

8/1/2014

11 DAYS TO GO: THE GREAT PURGE

Ok, we’re getting there. 

I’m in the process of shedding years of material acquisitions and reducing everything I own to one 60-liter backpack, an additional small backpack, and one ukulele case.

I’ve been purging for the past year, ever since I returned from a month in Cambodia with the decision to simplify life, focus on music, and live near the ocean. With 11 days to go before leaving China, I’m getting down to the nitty-gritty, the cutthroat stage, the part on performing arts reality TV shows where they don’t want to let anybody go because everyone is so great, BUT SOMEONE IS GOING HOME TONIGHT. Continue reading

Ukulele And A Letter From Cambodia

Playing Real Life at a music festival in China
Playing Real Life at a music festival in China

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” – Mae West

2015 has been about finding my purpose and living it. Even in the confines of working full-time, I believe that I can find my purpose and live it. I have been thinking about it over the past few months. I actually cried out in despair a few days ago because I thought to myself, “I don’t know what my purpose is! I would live it, if I knew what it was.” Continue reading

Fish And Chips And Love

Fish And Chips from Australia, along the Great Ocean Road, Summer 2014.
Fish And Chips from Australia, along the Great Ocean Road, Summer 2014.

This is a guest post by Shruti, a story-loving traveler driven by curiosity and a thirst for inspiration.

You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection. – Buddha

When I was little I used to think that I would grow up, fall in love, get married and stay that way forever. I imagine I’m not the only one who looked at love this way, thanks to fairy tales and blockbuster films. Now fast-forward a couple of decades to a more recent time when I sat eating fish and chips with a dear friend. Between delicious bites of haddock and tartar sauce, the conversation turned to our thoughts on lasting, romantic love. No better segue to matters of the heart than food! Continue reading