Vilcabamba, Ecuador

Recently, I spent 3 months in Ecuador. There was no particular reason I chose to go. I guess I just thought if would be nice.

For the most part, it was. The part that wasn’t so nice was when I had my computer and camera stolen out from underneath my feet on a bus during the day. Yes, that’s right: during the day!

I had fallen asleep for a bit and the people behind me reached underneath my seat and took my bag. After they had taken what they wanted, they put it back. They even filled it with water bottles in case I picked it up. Then they got off at a town along the way before I noticed. Be careful if you ever go there.

But that story isn’t why I wanted to write this post. My intention was to show some photos I took of the beautiful town of Vilcabamba.

I stayed there for two weeks at a hostel that doubles as a yoga retreat. For $10 a day I got a bed in a 6-bed dorm and free yoga every morning. It was definitely a great experience. The hostel is called Izhcayluma, if you’re interested.

But, again, that isn’t the point of this post. So let me just put up the photos before I get side-tracked again. 

If you have any questions, be sure to ask.

My First Day of Teaching

I had no idea what I was doing on my first day of teaching classes in Korea. I was given nothing more than a book of illustrations that told the story of Little Red Riding Hood. There was a total of ten lines of English in it. And simple lines at that. I was expected to use if for the week. I hadn’t been given any training either, aside from the brief introduction I was given to the students the day before. I was completely clueless as to how to begin. Continue reading

On a Jet Plane

I moved to Korea in 2003. I was living in Toronto and had just finished writing a book about travelling around Europe after university. I had a beautiful apartment on the top floor of an old house near High Park. And I had a girlfriend (or somewhat of a girlfriend – she had moved up north to go to college and we knew that things between us weren’t permanent).

I was working at my old high school friend’s restaurant on King Street (right downtown). I served soul food while listening to Funk and R&B bands play live. It was fun.

But, one afternoon, while out on the patio, my old high school friend’s friend came to visit. I had met him before, so I fell into easy conversation with him. He had told me that he had just come back from Korea. He had been teaching there. I had no idea what he was talking about. I didn’t know that such a thing as teaching abroad was even possible.

He assured me it was. That he had been teaching English at a school for a year. That they had flown him there and back and had given him a place to stay, on top of a pretty good monthly salary.

I asked him how he found the job. He gave me a website. Three weeks later, I was in Korea. Continue reading

Reverse Culture Shock (Oh, Canada)

Yesterday I wrote that I was going to talk about the culture shock I’ve had upon coming back to Canada. Some refer to it as “Reverse Culture Shock”. I suppose that makes sense: I am stepping back into a culture that I was once a part of. But whatever anyone wants to call it, it’s hard. Continue reading

Where I Live(d)

Writing went fine today. Again, I didn’t do a whole bunch. I just split some chapters into smaller chunks. Overall, I think it’s going to make the beginning of my book faster and punchier. It’s going to be rapid scene after scene after scene. And that’s how I originally wrote it. So, I’m glad about that.

But the truth is that I didn’t really want to speak about my writing today. I sort of wanted to get a bit into my life. I wanted to get into what it feels like to quit my job, come back to Canada, move in with my mom, and try to make it as a writer, all at the age of 41. Spoiler alert: it isn’t fun. Continue reading

Walk, Canada, Walk

Years ago (over 10 to be exact), I wrote a book about travelling around Europe after finishing university. I had never thought much about trying to get it published. Though recently the idea has crossed my mind. Especially since I’ve started self-publishing my novel, Glory.

Regardless, every so often I go back and read a chapter or two. It’s great to be able to look back at some of the thing that I had thought and done all of those years ago.

I thought I’d post one of the stories for you.

It takes place in Germany and involves someone I was surprised to have met. He showed me that there’s still a lot of kindness in the world. And, in today’s day, I think that’s a message that we all need to remember.

So, here it is: Walk, Canada, Walk. Continue reading

A Little Like Royalty

Laos RiverSeveral years ago, I visited Laos. While on my trip, I decided to take a kayak from Vang Vieng to Vientiane on the Nam Lik River. It’s a popular route that involves being driven to the river, then kayaking for a few hours until arriving at a spot where a truck waits to pick us up. This time, however, things didn’t work according to plan.

It all started at the drop-off point.

Continue reading