Who do you call for help?

“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress” Psalms 107:19

My biggest fear happened a week ago. The smoke coming from the hood of my car forced me to stop on the highway. I was preoccupied on the phone – not in conversation, but in leaving a detailed voice note on WhatsApp. That was when I saw something out of the ordinary- the hood of my car emitting a tiny puff of smoke almost invisibly. I chalked it up to believe, “that must be coming from the truck in front of me.” You see because I never had those kinds of disasters. So in the midst of my biggest fear, I had to decide what to do.

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Driving on the highway can be scary, although we often don’t think much about it- not until something happens. Since I drive on the highway for long periods of time daily, it’s hard not to miss the many accidents and the cars that break down. I glance them and without much thought continue in the safety of my own car. Being the proactive person I am, I get my car to the mechanic to have regular checkups. So since I just had one in April, I certainly did not expect to have any issues anytime soon. A year ago, I decided to get CAA membership just in case something were to happen. But, I really didn’t intend on being one of ‘those’ persons on the side of the road. Every so often though, I wonder, what would I do if that happened to me?

Pretending that it wasn’t happening was my first response. But the smoke lifting up ever so clearly, made me stop what I was doing as I looked in confusion. Was this the time to stop? I called a friend- twice! No response. I called a parent, call declined. I called another friend, voicemail. That’s when I called Jesus. “Lord, help me!” I couldn’t pull over where I was. I was merging unto another highway and there was not much curb room. “Lord, what must I do?” “Please let me drive unto the ramp and unto the next highway!” But, when the smoke was heavier now, I had to decide. “Lord, should I stop here?!” The curb space got bigger and I realized I had no other choice. There I was, broken down on the highway all alone.

Time to Leave

Thankfully, the moment I stopped, someone called me back. Turned out that my bestie was not too far from me, although it was an issue to manoeuvre to that specific area on the express highway. It just meant he had to drive further to exit to get to me. In the time, I called CAA and was waiting for my call to be answered. When my friend arrived, he checked under the car hood and rendered it, undriveable. The temperature gauge was sky-high and apparently broken leading to the smoke. I wasn’t the only car out there. Another car had flashing hazard lights up ahead. And an SUV was behind me as well. Was the day too hot for the vehicles? Well, needless to say, I was scared.

With my hazard lights already on, I moved to the comfort of my friend’s car as I waited for CAA. They would arrive in 30 minutes the caller told me. Once CAA towed away my car, we went on our way to my home. I arrived in the arms of love, comfort and support – and where dinner was being prepared for me. “They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven” Psalms 107:30

I could have never imagined that the thing I had feared would have worked out so seamlessly. Rather than fear, I cried out to God and he answered immediately. There was no delay. He sent the very same people I called to my rescue, and made me know that he was the one who saved me from my distress. I was in the arms of safety, I was surrounded by his comfort and love. And now I know that, He is a God who rescues his children from every trouble.

I know who to call first for help next time (hopefully there won’t be another car trouble though). Who will you call?

Navigating confusion in the midst of decisions

In every big decision that we make, there are little elements that causes us to pause. Most of the times we are not aware of these because of the way they present. Let’s talk about that little element of confusion. The mind has to reconcile in the midst of breakthrough moments and big decisions, is this really the right thing to do or am I crazy? I call this the element of confusion. Confusion is “the inability to think as clearly or quickly as you normally do.” It comes with a number of signs, including,”sudden changes in emotion, such as sudden agitation.

READ MORE: Bursting the myths of fear

Have you ever felt confident in a goal or desire that you are pursuing, but something or someone comes and knocks you out of your adrenaline rush? Once certain that the Lord gave you permission to take that trip, take that exciting opportunity, or refrain from doing something; but, the moment you settle into your decision something happens. You shared it with people, and now you have to reconcile their viewpoints as part of your decision making process- leaving you a little hm, confused. Did you really hear God the first time? Are you making the right decision? These questions plaque your mind leaving your brain too overwhelmed to decide on what is best for you.

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“For God is not the author of confusion but of peace…”1 Corinthians 14:33. Making decisions can often cause us to pause for many reasons, but remember we have to keep moving forward, not fall prey to confusion. So how do we ensure that we don’t get stuck here…and give up forever. Let’s ask ourselves a few questions: why am I confused? What did God tell me the first time? And who am I allowing to make my decision for me?

Why?

When it comes to certain decisions, I often feel that I do not have the ability to trust myself to make this decision, especially when I’ve failed too many times. So I go seeking counsel from sources that I believe have my best interest at heart. Many times when we share our goals with too many people, what we find is that everyone has a different perspective and rather than having to wrestle with our own, we now have an overload of opinions. I have a colleague who is looking for a house. She appeared extremely anxious and overwhelmed. When I inquired, this is when I learned that she had been getting so many opinions from friends and family so she has no idea if she’ll ever get a house. The market is too crazy! Move out of town! Wait til summer, blah blah blah….That’s what happen when we rely on other people’s opinions. Why are YOU confused? Well, when we choose to surrender our decision making abilities to other people, that’s what happens. Yes, we get to take counsel from others (choose who you want counsel from), and when they give us, we can decide for ourselves how beneficial their advise is to us. In other words, do we toss it or keep some or all of it? Once we take back control over our ability to make the decision we stop being confused.

Who?

Who are you surrendering your decision making abilities to, family members, trusted church brethren, friends? I realized that I was allowing these wonderful Godly women whom I trust and whom I consider experts in the area that I am making a decision, in the relationship realm. This is not the first time I’ve done this over my life. Out of fear, I wanted to hold on to every opinion in hopes that they would stare me right. But, I felt more confused than at peace. I don’t get to share my goals and desires with everyone – because even their good intentions can be hurtful and wounding to the soul. Rather than being helpful, they are hinderances to my faith. Even though I trust that these friends have my best interests, I still don’t have to put a heavy weight on their opinions. I still get the final say!

What?

“What did God tell you the first time?” This is the question my dear sister asked me when I told her I’m becoming more confused with all the opinions I’ve been sorting through. Rather than feeling stuck, I have to come back to God. I get to tell Him in prayer, “Lord, I am stuck and confused right now and I know you are not the author of confusion, so please remove everything or everyone that is causing me to feel confused. Please remind me of what you told me the first time.” This way, we are bringing God right where He needs to be, in our hearts.

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We get the right to make decisions- this is the summation of all of our life experiences. We all want to “do the right thing” so that we don’t mess up and fail. But, honestly, it’s better to make a bad decision and fail, rather than surrendering control of our decisions to others – and then fail. When we make a “bad decision” this is an opportunity to learn and then pivot. When we make a good decision, we can celebrate our win and gain confidence to make more decisions in the future. The point is, we shouldn’t give up this amazing power, even if we are scared. I am in the midst of a life changing decision, and I for one am very scared. I seriously do not trust myself, but I have prayed. “With Christ, I can do anything” Philippians 4:13.

READ MORE: Let’s do a new thing in 2022

Let that be an encouragement to you in month 5! Don’t give up on yourselves, we can do this. Remove every confusion and keep on moving. If you are in the middle of a big mistake, pivot, but don’t stop. Trust yourself. You got this!

Bursting the Myths of Fear

Fear; an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

Oxford online dictionary

This year has been interesting for me so far. Yes, like everyone else I have my desires and goals that I want to accomplish. But, while those are at the forefront of my mind, I am faced to tackle my fears. In January, I learnt that a close friend of mine died, Mr. Moss-Solomon. I could use a lengthy page to tell you about his accolades, but those were not how I knew him. He was a mentor and a friend to me. Someone who believed in me. Though we met in Jamaica, at the University, where he held the position as Executive in Residence, he continued to stay in touch when I returned home in Canada. We stayed in touch years later, even a little over a month before he died. I didn’t know that our last conversation was going to be our last, otherwise I would have stayed on the phone longer with him- it was his birthday. He died on Jan 04, 2022.

Read More: An elegy to Jimmy Moss-Solomon.

That death has a shock to my new year. Because the thing I began to reflect on was time. No matter how much we have, it’s never enough. Kinda like money, actually. All jokes aside; there are some things in life that we all need to do, we are called to do them because of our unique skill-sets, experiences, and personality; but we keep feeling fearful. My friend used to tell me all the time that I am made to do more than I am currently doing (though he wasn’t that politically correct when he told me so). That was the rolling joke for us- he was a man that was as direct as they come. And he hated the way Canadians were always so politically correct all the time. There is a Jamaican song that not so eloquently expresses this point in patios, “..who don’t like it not….(I won’t end the lyric). Since I am Canadian-raised, I am forced to remain politically correct.

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When we allow it, fear will stop us dead in our tracks and prevent us from moving ahead. Yes, because the feeling is utterly unpleasant. It’s a moving out of our comfort zones to places we have never been before. It makes us pause, gauge our surroundings, and make a decision about taking a step forward or backward. In my last article, I shared how I stood on the ski hill for almost 10-15 minutes looking down. How would I get to the bottom without falling? Did I really want to do this? These are all legitimate questions that the brain must conceptualize. But, the final decision is always up to us. The questions that we should begin to use to rebut are: Will this hurt me or make me better? Even if it hurts, won’t I learn from my failure?

Read more: Ready, set, pause.

It’s natural that our brains aim and program is to protect us by any means necessary. Have you ever walked on a lake before? I went out walking on the lake yesterday. I did it while being afraid. My brain automatically started to process the possibility that I could fall because the ice could crumble under my feet. That even though all those other people and their dogs were out there walking, I was going to be the one to fall. I slowly started to walk. The truth was, it was hard to tell where the land ended and where the lake began because the ice was also covered with snow, everywhere. My brain reprogrammed itself because it realized things were not as it thought. Even though it was my first time, this was perfectly safe. The next time I go out there, I will gladly go walking on the lake. I was extra vigilant at first, but now that I see that there was nothing to fear, I intend to do it again. Everything that is out of our comfort zones become an imminent danger, and is to be feared…until we do it.

Overcoming fear requires that I step out of my comfort zone to do new things.
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Basically, if I was to follow my brain every time I would never do anything new.

My encouragement to you before we begin yet another month is to DO IT! Do it in the midst of feeling afraid. Ask yourself these other rebuttal questions: Will this actually hurt me? And even if it does hurt, will I learn whatever my failure has to teach me?

“…Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Ready, Set, Pause.

Nobody ever sets out to quit or fail at something. When we have the momentum, enthusiasm and energy we soar ahead, excited about what the end will look like when we accomplish the goal. But then what happens half-way through the course, the dieting? the exercise? that new book? We pause.

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Pausing is no good for momentum because it diminishes energy required to keep us going. Just imagine our favourite olympic skier pausing on a slope. He/She will certainly not be taking home any medal! Recently, I went skiing at Hockley Valley Ski Resort with some friends. None of us were by any means great, or even good, at this sport, but we got better the longer we stayed out there. So much better that we decided to try the beginner hill. While I had done this before- 10 years ago, my friend hadn’t. He was better than any beginner I knew. I went down the first slope smoothly…too smooth actually. But my friend didn’t. He had a fall. I stopped at the end of the slope to wait for him. But during this time, the momentum that was built up on the first slope diminished, and I was a little scared to take the second slope. By then, I watched my friend ski ahead of me and I found motivation from him. If he could do it, so could I. I saw him fall again but this time I didn’t stop. Was I mean? Well, that’s the thing about momentum. I didn’t want to pause because I feared that I would be the one to fall or worse, let fear prevent me from making it to the end.

READ MORE: Let’s do a new thing in 2022

I love the way sports teaches us so many realistic lessons. It lets us mentally see where we are in our minds. At the beginning of skiing, I wasn’t that smooth coming down any hill. I told myself two things: (1) I didn’t come skiing to not enjoy myself and actually make it down the hill. (2) I did not intend to fall. Now, this is a lot of positivity for someone who is totally new (because not skiing for a decade still makes me new). I didn’t know it at the time, but I think my mind was at the top of the baby hill rectifying those two beliefs while I stood there. I was trying to figure out the how. How would I go down the hill without falling?

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For 10 minutes I examined the hill, observing the other skiers fall and going again. Until I got too close to the edge and gravity had its way with me. I screamed all the way down and somehow my feet situated themselves correctly. I watched my friends jumped out of my way as I was coming at full speed, and a miracle happened. My feet turned so that I didn’t fall and I kept on going. I slowed down by myself startled and in shock. How did I do that? I looked up the hill and followed the route I had taken. How did I not fall? I can’t believe it.

Lisa Nichols defines mindset as “the knowing.”

The knowing enables you to push past limiting beliefs, take on new opportunities with confidence and succeed in getting what you want. This knowing precedes your ability to succeed and paves the way for you to enjoy abundance in every area of your life. And its this knowing that I want to help you develop now. 

Lisa Nichols & Janet Switzer

What I am saying is that having a positive mindset about skiing took me down the first baby hill. It gave me the courage to get on the ski lift and then try the beginner hill. The more I skied was the more I felt confident and the more I wanted to take bigger risk. Why? Because of momentum. Pausing makes us loose that momentum and it prevents us from sailing ahead with our plans, goals and desires.

**May you continue to build momentum in February as you press forward into your goal. You started it, just don’t stop. Don’t let your pause become a full stop.

Let’s do a new thing in 2022!

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” Isaiah 43:18-19

It’s exciting to start new things. New hobbies, new love, new jobs. It’s the feeling that I have no history, no perceptions or knowledge about the thing I am doing and I get to have a clean slate. Plus, there is no judgements from other people about me. Starting at day one, I am free to be anything I want to be, or even better, the best version of me. The Lord told Isaiah (43:18-19) to “forget the former things.” That is, forget the past because He is doing a new thing. Can you not perceive that it is already beginning to happen for you? What an exciting place to be on the first day of the year 2022!

Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

Awareness is the gift I give myself this year. Today, I went out walking on a trail nearby my house. I usually do that, but today was the first time for 2022. I wanted to be present and to feel alive and to experience the joy of something so simple. I spent time giving thanks to God as I reflect on his goodness and mercies. Each time a future plan came to mind, I committed it to God. With each step, I found joy and peace. I am excited about the fact that God promises to do a new thing and it will be better than the former. I don’t have to worry about whether God is going to come through this year like He did last year. I also don’t have to go looking for my blessings at the same places where He blessed me last year, because this year it is going to be different. Doesn’t that fill you with anticipation about what God is going to do this year?

I sure do. And what I love is that I am reminded by Matthew (6:30-31), “God will certainly take care of you, much more than he takes care of the grass. You should trust him more than you do! Do not have trouble in your mind about these things.” I am committed to lean on God’s promises so that I am not anxious, worried, or afraid. If 2022 is going to be an exciting year for us we must set our hearts with great expectations. Will you join me in doing so?

Since I left some advice in 2021 I decided to do it again this year.

READ MORE: Let go of the past and say hello to 2021!

Here are some tips for my 2022:

Set boundaries: In the past I have often felt that this is a rejection word (And I suffered from this painful feeling for years). Now, I am embracing boundaries because I realize that I need the space from people (including family members) to become my best self for them.

Pray about everything: The bible tells us to do this, but when the bad things come around we are so anxious that we can’t even sit for a minute to say a sensible word to God. But, this is when we need to pray, so that we won’t do something stupid that we may regret.

Avoid unnecessary conflicts/Contentions/Arguing: No I am not saying to be passive and to ignore the need to address certain difficult situations. What I realize is that I have always been ready to address the conflicts when others are shunning them. And because I don’t get my resolve, this might set me off to ruminate and not think good thoughts towards the person. Plus, I become the one causing more conflict (including for myself). This year, I will use wisdom to know when to not respond and walk away and offer grace to people who irritate my skin.

Trust God to fight all my battles: I witness God fighting for me last year, over and over again, at work and in my family. It was like watching miracle after miracle. And the best part was, I didn’t have to be bent out of shape in the end. I experienced peace and I gave God is praises that is due. So I am committed to doing the same thing again.

Wait: Yes, I know this is a tough one. This is where the anxious thoughts come in. But, let’s be honest we do not control the times and we do not control people. So, I am going to be doing a lot of waiting and while I wait, you best believe I am going to be praying and worshipping.

As I set out on this first day with great expectations I know that every journey has its bumps in the road, but I will use my tips above to get through them, one at a time. I am committed to believing God for every promise He ever made to me. I hope to come back after a year to share my testimonies (and that you might do the same).

May you move ahead seeing and perceiving the new things the Lord will do in your life this year. He will do it.

Have an extraordinary year my friends!

First time Travelling by Train to Edmonton

Leaving Vancouver on Via Rail was something else. I was passing through Vancouver to visit Edmonton for the first time. Everything was new. The Bridges, the buildings, and even the buses. I read once that the brain thrives on new experiences: “Novelty.” I may not know the neurological process, but I know that what I was experiencing felt good. Travelling makes me come alive fully.

READ MORE: 10 things to know while travelling

My train ticket from Vancouver to Edmonton costed me just under $200, which covered one economy seat. It was spacious enough and no one was sitting next to me. There were two bathrooms per railcar and I had access to the other railcars as well. Once we were settled in our seats, the conductors introduced themselves and laid down the rules and expectations for us. As soon as they were done, I made my way to see what the other cars looked like and where the dining car and the skydome were located. Basically, just to get a lay of the land. Familiarize myself with my surroundings since I would be travelling for 26 hours. I learnt that the bathroom in the other car next to mine was more spacious. And since there were fewer passengers, hardly anyone used it. Next, I grab my laptop, books, and note books and sat in the dining car to begin my writing. Too bad there was no wifi access. It is a feature benefit in the business car though, which was further from where we were. In a way, I felt an invisible label “lower class” placed on me. Not that the service was bad, it’s just that I felt the division. Maybe it was the way the server barked at me when I ventured down a hallway pass the kitchen were I shouldn’t have crossed. It was just a feeling…

On Via Rail in the dining car

Still, travelling across the country by train was a bucket list item. When I woke up the next morning, I could see snow covered pine trees. I didn’t order breakfast because I was still full from dinner the night before, salmon with rice and veggies. I planned to get breakfast in Jasper once the train stopped. I sat in the dome car with others, looking through the transparent ceiling at the mountains all covered with snow, the aqua coloured water below, and the pine trees lining the mountains. “Gorgeous” were the words just rolling off the tongues of passengers, and “Aw” and “Wow” “Unbelievable” “Breathtaking.” The best word that described this experience though was “Divine.” It wasn’t made by man, but by God. And it was perfect and flawless.

Inside the dome car

The train sped under tunnels that went through the mountains. The mountains were on both sides of the train. Our eyes swung from side to side, ahead and behind…just trying to capture every moment with our eyes, with our mind. I think I had. I can still see the experience vividly. But, not the same way as what it looks like on the many photos I took or the videos taken. No. The one captured in my mind cannot be replicated. It is as I saw it, and it will remain that way forever.

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Yes, I made conversations with a few passengers, listening to travel tales, and strange meditation practices or grounding practices. I often find that passengers who travel for fun are the retirees, which puts me as an anomaly. I was the only black person, except for the French conductor. Half the passengers were in my age group. One family was travelling with two infants, which must have been difficult. There wasn’t a bed for them to sleep on, or a place to play. The boy occupied the aisle with his toys. The baby was spread out on the large size seats. Very uncomfortable.

Stopping in Jasper for breakfast for the hour broke things up a bit. I was able to get fresh air, walk around, buy touristy things and grab breakfast before re-boarding. I went straight to the dome car to eat. I wanted a good view as I enjoyed my meal, with matcha tea that had messed up my white gloves, and left blotches of green on my black coat. After not bathing for over 24 hours or changed my clothes, I started to feel, dirty. Maybe I belonged in the lower class car at this point. It didn’t matter in the moment.

READ MORE: The Halifax Citadel: Lest we Forget.

I used my afternoon to read and journal about my experience. As it started to get dark again, I made my way back to my own seat. And sat there to enjoy what was left of the train ride. It would be arriving in Edmonton in 2 hours. Approximately 6:30 pm, I said my good -byes. The conductor was kind to take down my luggage and had it ready at the door for me. As I waited for my ride with an elderly woman beside me talking my ears off, she whispered, “we call it Dead-min-ton.” And then disappeared in her taxi.

10 things to know while Travelling

“Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you’re doing. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself.”

Actor, Alan Alda

I find travelling to be the most creative of things I can do, specifically when I do it alone. I am connecting the dots through every decision I make. I am connected to people I’m never going to see again, at restaurants, while walking, or standing in line. Each person I meet has no idea whether I am a local or a tourist, not unless I actually tell them. When I was in the west of Canada, there is no distinct marker between me and the people I meet. Saying, “I’m from Ontario” doesn’t create any surprise reactions. Except, the people are curious about how my experience is going. Sometimes I would share my next venture with them, that I am on my way to Alberta.

Granville Station, Vancouver

When I got off the ferry, I took a bus to Vancouver’s skytrain. It wasn’t hard, just frustrating to figure out where I am going while on a strict schedule. I wanted to be at the Via Rail train station at 2pm. I sat on the bus between two asian young women, one white man at the back of the bus, and another white woman joined him with her suitcases. Once I got off the bus, I followed one of the asian woman. She agreed she would show me where to get the skytrain since she was going on the train too. While we arrive in the elevator, a black man (which I had seen in the ferry terminal in Victoria) was already in it, and an elderly white woman joined us. Most of us didn’t really know where we were going. We were figuring it out together. We lost the man who ended up taking the escalator, while the rest of us women walked to another elevator that took us to the platform. On the train, we started talking about Canada. I shared that I was on my way to Alberta, the Asian girl shared that she went to visit her parents on one of the island and she is returning. The elderly woman shared how she has watched Vancouver transformed into the big city it is now. There was another young white woman behind me who got my attention, and shared that she used to live in Alberta, but she is happy to live in BC now. She is in graduate school but doesn’t think she’ll be going back to Alberta. “Don’t go to the Edmonton Mall” she said, “Everyone goes there. Go to the Art Gallery or the Museum instead.” Well, I took her advice.

Art Gallery of Alberta

The elderly woman had told me to get off at the City Centre. Even though my GPS wanted me to continue on the train. I decided to take the elderly woman’s suggestions. When I got out of the train, I asked a number of people for directions. What I noticed was, no one was from Vancouver! The strangest thing… Two young girls directed me down an escalator, and from there I followed the signs to the platform. Nothing was completely difficult, it’s just that with the added stress of not wanting to miss my train, created anxiety. Anxiety and travelling is an uncomfortable mix. That’s probably why most people won’t do it. But, what calms me down is the confidence that, no matter what choice I make or not make, everything will work out just fine.

READ MORE: Ferry to Vancouver.

Travelling opens up my curiosity and puts all my assumptions and expectations behind closed doors. I wish that I could live like that in my ordinary life. Each moment is an opportunity to create a memory and to not take anything for granted. When travelling, I am fully aware of how to live in the moment, because I am certain that I won’t get another opportunity to come back to that very spot. Sitting in the train with strangers talking like ole friends hardly happen for me at home. We connected over our transitory journey.

So to end this post, I want to say that I have learnt a lot while travelling, I just have to use those same lessons in my regular life. Let me share 10 of them with you:

  1. Always ASK questions, don’t assume nothing.
  2. LIVE in the moment and don’t take anything for granted.
  3. Set aside plans, and go with the FLOW (this is the one that I use as my mantra).
  4. Be CURIOUS and try new things (this is a staple of travelling)
  5. Always go with your HEART and set aside every limitation.
  6. Create MEMORIES not nightmares.
  7. Be OPEN minded.
  8. Be anxious for NOTHING.
  9. Make MISTAKES. They can turn out to be best memories.
  10. Be completely FREE to be yourself (no one is judging!)

Ferry to Vancouver

Monday morning came. I laid in bed for a little while, wondering what was happening outside the walls of this hotel. Were people frantically trying to get to work on time? Were children apathetically walking to school? If I was home I would be in the former category, but I was not at home. I was in Victoria, British Columbia. And this morning I was going to Vancouver by ferry to catch the 3 0’clock train to Alberta. Now, that was exciting to me.

My suitcase was pretty much packed from the day before, so I only had to get dressed. The drive to Enterprise rental car was calming. Looking outside to see the colourful scenery in the comfort of a luxury car, with my favourite music playing was idyllic. I felt a sense of completion because I had done everything I wanted to do in Victoria. I anticipated whatever was going to happen next. I was quite surprised when Enterprise told me that they would provide me a taxi to the ferry at no cost to me. Within five minutes the taxi arrived. Every thing went seamlessly.

READ MORE: From the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.

After being dropped off by the taxi driver, an Indian man who had been living in Victoria for the last 25 years with his wife, I went through the ferry terminal doors. It was easy enough to purchase my ticket, then follow the escalator down to the lower level to sit with the other passengers. As soon as it was 10:30, I heard the announcement calling for the passengers to commence boarding. I peered through the little peeping holes (like the windows of an airplane), to watch the orderly flow of cars driving unto the ferry. It reminded me of when I took the ferry from Nova Scotia to Prince Edward Island.

READ MORE: Adventures to Prince Edward Island.

I was in a long flowing line of passengers going though a lengthy hallway. I showed my ticket and stepped unto the ferry. That’s when I realized this was nothing like the one I took. This one was huge! I didn’t know where I wanted to sit because there were so many options. I took a corner row that had five very broad seats, with equal seats in front of me. I had that row to myself. After I was settled in, I decided to go exploring – only to find there was a section for dining. A full restaurant with everything, including chefs that were making meals, cashiers, as well as a cold food section. And there were so many dining tables. It was a restaurant, and one with the best views! I left the dining section, I opted not to take the elevator, so I could climb the stairs to the upper level. This was where the deck was. The deck also had tables and several seating areas on both ends. Some people were getting their meditation in the sun, and backing in this glorious experience. I went back to get my wallet.

The ferry started moving. I looked out of the numerous windows to observe the snow covered mountains in the distance. It looked like the mountains touched the sky. The food line moved quickly enough and I was at the cashier ordering a burger with fries and a hot chocolate. I carried my tray upstairs to the deck. The wind almost blew my tray away. It almost blew me away too. Another passenger picked up my wrapped burger from off the ground and walked with me to a table. Luckily, there was an overhead covering that blocked the wind. It was a bit cold, but not too cold to prevent me from staying on the deck long enough to get my heart’s content.

The ferry ride was only 1 hour and 30 mins and I really wanted to take in as much of the view as possible. So after lunch, I walked around the deck, my hoodie blocking the wind. I went under the overhead covering to look through the glass at the rough waves the ferry was making. I wondered if I would see a whale or dolphin in the deep blue sea, but I saw nothing. Being at sea though wasn’t boring. The sea drew me to reflect on the Creator of this magnificent ocean. And I worshiped the Lord, God.

From the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean

It turns out that the Gray line sightseeing tour bus was a great idea after all. On my third day, I was itching to get to Vancouver, for a number of reasons. Mostly, so that I could catch the Via Rail on the Monday afternoon. I felt that by arriving in Vancouver on Sunday I would have time to see the city and get to the train hassle-free in time. Since my hasty decision didn’t work out (or at least, I caught myself quickly enough….literally), I decided to use the tour bus as an opportunity to see more of the city that I might have missed.

Photo by cheyyenne north on Pexels.com

Let me explain what I meant by “I caught myself.” I was dressed and getting ready to check out of the hotel that Sunday but I was running late. I still had to drop off the rental car and get to the ferry on time. I began feeling a little anxious. My scarf got caught in the zipper of the suitcase, while the scarf was hung around my neck, and the zipper just wouldn’t close! As I was bent over the suitcase, I also noticed I wasn’t wearing my socks (the ones I had in my hand just minutes before being stuck). In that moment, the still small voice of the Holy Spirit asked me, Why are you in a rush to leave today? To that, I quickly assessed the position I was in and decided against leaving. Strangely, the zipper loosened right away, and I glanced at my socks in my handbag. Do you believe in these random signs?

READ MORE: Walking in the rain at Beacon Hill.

I left the suitcase where it was, unpacked some of the unneccesary items and looked at the time. 11:30am. New plan: I will catch the sightseeing bus at 12pm. As usual, it was raining. Non-stop. I arrived on Wharf street and I saw the tour bus down the road, but I went the opposite direction to order my meal to go. I looked at the time while waiting for the server to pack my meal, 11:55. When I finally got my order, I hasted. “Ticket for one” I shouted jovially to the conductor, once I knew he could see me. “Hey we waited for you yesterday for 2 hours” Commented Derek. I was surprised he remembered me. “No, you didn’t.” We laughed. I made my way into the bus and was seats away from Derek, who would conduct the tour. “Oh you’re sitting with me today.”

“Yes. Am I able to eat in the bus?”

“Certainly.”

I unmask my face and made myself comfortable. There were a few other tourists, but they chose to ride at the top of the double decker bus. On a summer’s day, I am certain I would have loved to sit up there. But, it was too cold since the top section was roofless.

READ MORE: When it rains, it pours.

My Sunday tour turned out to be perfect. I listened to the audio tour guide, combined with Derek’s interpretation of Victoria’s history, and updates about when we were stopping. Since I was sitting so close, I asked my own questions. And he answered them in between his announcements. We passed through some of the places I had visited already like China town. Once we left the inner harbour though, I could see the Pacific Ocean in the outskirts. I was itching to join the people at the scenic lookout points. It was a glorious kind of deep blue and the sun glistened on the water. We passed through Beacon Hill and continued again along the ocean.

I hadn’t realize how much of Victoria was surrounded by the sea. Of course, I knew it was an island. But, it was on the tour bus that I could to see much more of what the island had to offer in terms of scenery. I decided to get off at Oak Bay. I didn’t want to miss another opportunity to spend time by the ocean. “Be back here in 2 hours.” Derek told me. “I will be looking for you.”I stepped off the bus, in the cold, feeling sure I wanted to see the ocean up close. It was too beautiful not to. I walked down the hill, the bus passed me and disappeared from my sight. The sun that had come out earlier, had disappeared again. I kept on walking (yes, thoughts about getting lost, crossed my mind, but I ignored it.) hoping to see the ocean. It was too big not to miss. I passed houses after houses, and decided to turn down one street.

When I spotted the ocean, I followed the boardwalk that led to a restaurant. I could see the change of colour in the water. The deep blue emerged with large waves splashing on the rocks. What beauty. That’s when I realized, I have been from coast to coast. From the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. I was inspired. In awe. Absolutely amazed that I completed what I set out to accomplish eight years ago.

READ MORE: Travelling post Covid-19

These are the experiences you will have to experience for yourselves, because the telling of them doesn’t quite do justice. Like I said in an earlier article, travelling for me is a calling. I see things in a new way and experience life, in my opinion, the way it ought to be experienced. With Wonder.

Adventuring the outdoors at Thetis Lake

Do you like the outdoors? There are so many conservation parks around Victoria. But, the one I went to was called Thetis Lake Regional Park. I really loved it. I have visited so many conservation parks around Ontario which has there own charm. There was something different about Thetis Lake. I loved that it had a mixture of everything. The best part is that as you walk through the park, the lake was in eyesight. I loved that the sun peered through the massive oak and maple trees, amongst other typical Canadian trees. I loved that there were areas where I felt hidden from the world, surrounded only by the trees. And still parts of the hike, where I could step off the trail and unto a hill overlooking the lake. I took in the beauty from up high; the sun glistening on the water with the colourful trees everywhere. There were other areas that I could stand at the edge of the lake and embraced the stillness. At one point, I began noticing these massive maple leaves laying on the ground. The size of the leaves were bigger than the palm of my hand. I picked one up and carried it with me as I continued.

Many others were hiking as well, some with children, some couples, and some loners like myself. I often find hikers are pleasant. Maybe we each have more in common than we are able to appreciate. And maybe it’s that we subconsciously know what the other really want, that is, time to be left to our own thoughts and imaginations. There is a subconscious respect, that a smile or a simple “hello” is enough. I was filled with a mixture of thoughts; that I was in BC for the first time, that I had never been to this lake before, inspired about what the future holdings, and how deeply content I was at that moment. People say to me all the time, “you are so brave” and “I could never travel alone.” But when I am hiking, I think about how this place could be anywhere. What is brave about flying to another part of the world and doing something new or in my case, doing the same thing I would do at home?

READ MORE: Never Alone

The hike carried me all around the lake. It took me over an hour to get to the middle point. But, that’s because of all the stops I made to enjoy the scenery before the sunset. Instead of walking around the entire lake, I turned around and walk back in the same direction. I think I wanted to see the same views going back (and felt a little uncertain about where I was going if I continued). My favourite way of hiking is when I have no sense of time or schedule. When I arrived at my car, it was already dusk. Hardly anyone was around. To me, there is nothing like coming back to a hotel room after a long, hike on a cold day. The ambiance spells utter relaxation.