I have been on the road for so much of the past 3 weeks that my legs are extremely cramped from keeping my feet flexed on the gas pedal - yes, I alternated both feet on the gas! It's also felt like so long that the amazing experience of cherry picking has already disappeared beyond the horizon in my rear view mirror.
Part two of why I crossed the border to the American side was to attend the first ever Rainingman Cascadia Festival, dedicated to the education and progression of the Cascadia movement. The movement is based on the belief that southern BC, Washington, Oregon and northern California should be its own country, based on its shared bioregion and progressive culture. The festival took place on a well known eco-village called Finney Farm, located in the US Pacific Northwest.
Upon re-entering Canada, I stopped by my favourite place in BC, a farm in the gorgeous Slocan Valley, BC. Forgive my hippie-speak, but this is a special place where I feel the love, warmth and community that arises from choosing to live off the land and in co-dependence with the right people. I helped Eli cut firewood from fallen trees on his property, and Suzi stake the tomato plants.
The leg pains are always worth it for epic road trips. I couch hopped and tented around BC and Washington state, had memorable experiences and met wonderful people, putting me further in touch with the permaculture world, a world I hope to be a part of in my long term plans.
After cherry picking ended I bolted for Vancouver, but not before meeting Susan in Vernon and Kat near Enderby, BC, connected through common friend Alla, people whose lives were touched by permaculture.
|Henry all excited about Wreck Beach|
After those visits, I drove close to UBC to visit my best friend and like mind, Henry, who was also in uproot mode and in transition towards a major non-profit opportunity in Pakistan. I also enjoyed Vancouver like never before, enjoying rare sunny weather and getting to know the city by bike. It was my fifth or so time in Vancouver, but this was my favourite visit.
I owed my friend Johnny Katz in Seattle, Washington a favour, so I decided to drive over the border to visit him and give him some of my time. But really it felt like he was the one providing the favour, welcoming me to his beautiful home with a zipline in the backyard! Johnny himself is looking to start an intentional community in the Seattle area.
|Vice Magazine article on the festival (http://www.vice.com/read/we-went-to-a-festival-for-people-who-wouldnt-mind-if-the-pacific-northwest-was-its-own-country)|
An unfamiliar feeling took hold in me in the US, as I got the shopping itch during Labour Day sales. I let the feeling take precedence of my plans for the sake of getting some reliable outdoor gear essentials at the REI (like MEC in Canada) in Spokane, WA.
|Taking in the foggy morning in Slocan Valley, BC|
Finally, before my nomad future truly beckons me, I made one last stopover in Calgary, where it all began. I landed here approximately 6 years ago, a young man but more like a naive and curious boy, who has now far outgrown his city shoes and needs to step out into the larger world. I squeezed in some intimate closing conversations with friends, and some genuine Calgary eats, events such as Beakerhead, and neighbourhood sites such as Kensington's ContainR, a revamped community space due to the compassionate work of individuals such as Alla, Lindsay and Natalia.
|Check out the beautiful ContainR site just southeast of Sunnyside LRT, built by volunteers for the community|
Perhaps fittingly, I got to make a final contribution to the permaculture community of Calgary by helping out my ambitious friend Jack with his awesome initiatives. Jack is involved with Calgary Harvest, a backyard fruit harvesting non-profit program, and with Grow Calgary, a non-profit farm which donates all the food it grows to the Calgary Food Bank. The farm has a lofty goal of becoming the largest urban farm in the world.
Alas, it is time to acknowledge my time in Calgary with a grateful glance and turn towards my exciting future, a path fraught with twists and turns, yet lined with golden opportunity and spontaneous bursts of happiness and discovery.
|Earthship building at Grow Calgary (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Grow-Calgary-Earthship-Greenhouse/769742359733097?ref=profile)|
Thanks Calgary for everything! Next up, epic road trip to Toronto, followed by... India!