Summer Solstice is knocking at the door.

Today is day three of my week of positivity.

When it comes to life in Northern Canada, there are two really important days of the year: summer solstice (the longest day of the year) and winter solstice (the shortest day of the year). These days are how we measure seasons, they’re landmarks for the year.

Okay, let me go back to fourth grade geography for a hot minute. The earth rotates around the sun. During the winter months, the North Pole is tilted furthest from the sun making for days with minimal daylight (sun rises at 10 am and starts setting around 2 pm). During the summer months, the North Pole is tilted closest to the sun, making for some exceptionally long days where it seems as though the sun doesn’t fully disappear.

This time of year, here in the North, the sun rises around 3 am and sets around 11 pm. Summer solstice (the longest day of the year) is Friday, June 21. It’s summer’s way of knocking at the door and saying ‘I’m here! Come outside and enjoy life!’

This summer, I want to:

  • Get a full-time job (Preferably in Calgary, but I won’t be picky)
  • Go to Vancouver, at least once, to see my best friend and her babies
  • Hike the Ancient Forest
  • Meet my new niece or nephew (who should be arriving into this world any day now)
  • Get myself a new phone
  • Possibly invest in a camera so I can start taking photos of the beautiful places I see every day
  • Exercise at least five days of every week
  • Create a new Millennial Life Crisis design to make myself some new t-shirts

I’m putting my intentions for the summer in in writing. The process of writing your goals helps you clarify what you desire to do, understand the importance of pursuing them and commit yourself to making them happen. Goals have value only if they help you develop and improve your potential.

Summer is coming, and I’m trying to start it off on a happy note. This week of positivity has been one that hasn’t always been easy, but I’m holding onto the fact that I’m at least trying. The only way to accomplish a goal is to keep going and keep trying.

I will say, the world is a lot easier to see in a positive light when you get a good night’s sleep. Knight sent me another package of Fadeout, which is a supplement that I use to sleep. It’s the first sleep aid that I’ve ever used that genuinely helps me fall asleep and stay asleep. As someone who has always struggled with sleeping, this is HUGE for me.

Get a good night’s sleep! It’s so important. It regenerates your body, allows your skin to regenerate itself, helps you with symptoms of depression and anxiety, helps with your patience, allows you to be more alert and full of energy.

My goal for this week.

It’s Monday and I’m setting an intention for the seven days ahead of me. My goal for this week is to be more positive.

I’ve been realizing lately that I use this blog as a means to vent. Which, I’m totally okay with. I’m a firm believer that life is messy and that sharing the negative pieces are just as important as sharing the positive. I’ve come to the realization though, that I need to share more of the positive. So, that’s my goal for this week.

I’m going to do everything that I can to be more positive. I want to think more positively and I want to look at the world in a better light.

Venting is healthy. It absolutely is. I vent a lot and I welcome other’s who vent as well, because I believe in being real. But in being real, I need to look at the world in a more positive light. It’s something I definitely struggle with, and since the good is out there, I need to make more of an effort to acknowledge it and appreciate it.

The importance of ‘YOLO’

As much as it annoys me when I hear people saying ‘YOLO’ for stupid shit, there’s also a tiny little voice in the back of my brain saying ‘they’re right, so listen to them’.

You only get a limited number of days, a limited amount of time. Don’t waste those days and that time on people who aren’t worthy of being in your orbit and jobs that aren’t challenging you, or making you happy, or fulfilling your life.

I had a really good conversation with my sister-in-law last night. It was one of those conversations that went well into the wee-hours of the morning where it seems as though everything under the sun gets discussed, so to speak. It was really nice. I don’t have a lot of people like that in my life who I can just talk to. Anyways, the point of this tidbit is that we got to talking about happiness.

What makes you happy? What doesn’t? What do you do because you have to and what do you do because you want to? And if there are things in your life that you’re doing that are making you miserable but you don’t have to be doing them, why are you?

My sister-in-law has a younger sister who got married at 20. Not only did she marry at an age which we consider to be young, but she married a man 28 years older than her. He was the first man she’d ever been with and she’d dated him since she was 17. (Yeah was and still is pretty gross. It’s a whole big family-drama story for another time) Now, having been married five years, she’s 25 years old wants kids and is with a man who’s ready to retire and live out his days lawn-bowling and spending winters in Arizona. She’s miserable. And she’s too damn afraid to leave him that my sister-in-law doubts it’ll ever happen.

She’s miserable. She’s 25 and she’s too afraid to do anything to escape the misery.

The thing is, she’s 25. She’s got soooooooo much life left to live. I wish I could knock some sense into her that she’s capable of leaving him and more than strong enough to do so. Why? Because YOLO.

Life is far too short to live it being miserable. I say that in funny situations and I say that in serious situations. Being 25 and married to a man who’s 53 who you don’t want to be with anymore, that doesn’t have to be your forever.

She owes it to herself to be happy.

You owe it to yourself to be happy.

I’m sure that we all have things in our lives that we can’t escape. That’s life. But honestly, when you can cut the ties with what’s weighing you down, do it. Whether it’s a 53 year old man you’ve grown to hate, a stupid job that’s making you miserable, friends that tear you down, or whatever it is that is weighing you down, you are strong enough to move past it.

You owe it to yourself to be happy.

You only live once. It’s far too short to waste your days with someone or something that doesn’t make you happy.

For what it’s worth, it’s never too late or too early to start over. Begin again, chase the life that will make you happy/happier/happiest. Eat that piece of cake, take that trip, buy that ________(insert expensive object here), be the most fulfilled version of yourself that you can.

At the end of the day, the best thing that you can give to your future self is the memories of a happy life, and the knowledge that you lived it to the fullest.

YOLO

Set goals and make radical changes.

I’d like to repeat the advice that I gave you before, in that I think you really should make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. 

Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

‘What do you want out of life?’

I’m actually asked this question quite frequently. Especially in the past four months.

Genuinely, I want adventure. I want to be able to stop and think ‘I can’t believe this is my life’. I want to do things that I never ever thought I could do. I want to go everywhere, see everything and meet everyone. I want to try foods that gross me out and scare the crap out of me.

I want to get on a plane and not know where that plane is headed. I want to know that I always tried, that I always put forth the effort and that I never backed down from a challenge.

And most of all, I want each day to have a new and different sun.

Where do I see myself in five years? Where do I see myself in ten years? Happily travelling the world, sharing stories of people and culture, places and faces, showcasing the unknown, the overlooked and the forgotten about. And, most of all, hopefully instilling a whole lot of wanderlust in everyone that I meet.

I hope that you’ll join me for the ride. And perhaps a cheap flight or two hundred along the way.

Working on the story of my latest adventure right now.

Tips & tricks for smooth transitions through the airport.

As someone who’s been on a few thousand flights over the past 10 years, I’ve learned a few things about how to make the most annoying place on earth (aka the airport) as easy as possible when you need to get somewhere.

First and foremost – a very important thing to note – where at all possible, DO NOT BUY BLACK LUGGAGE. Everyone buys black luggage. If you want to identify yours when it’s coming down the conveyor belt, avoid the chance that random strangers will pull it off the belt thinking it’s their’s, or your luggage getting lost in general, don’t buy black luggage! Not to mention if your luggage does get lost the first thing they will ask you is “What does it look like?” If you say “Well it’s a black suitcase,” you’ll see the eyes roll. Everyone has black luggage.

As for the airport, here goes:

  1. Always check-in online. In this day and age where it costs for EVERYTHING, spending $50 for seat selection just seems like something I don’t want. But, here in Canada, you can check into your flights a full 24 hours early. And, if you’re one of the first people to check in, you’re assigned an aisle or window seat ahead of them assigning you a middle seat. So ALWAYS check-in online.
  2. Skip the jewelry when you’re getting dressed. (And belts) If it’s important to bring it, put it in a little baggy and slip it into your carry-on or suitcase. Then bring it out when the timing is right. By avoiding putting it on, you’ll avoid needing to take extra time in the security line taking it all off.
  3. Dress up to dress down. Combat boots are cute and all, but taking those bad-boys off to go through security to put back on immediately afterwards takes a considerable amount of time. Things like slip on shoes can, and will be, your best friend.
  4. Take a screenshot of your booking information/boarding pass. The screenshot on your phone will be a lot easier to access than trying to fumble through paperwork amidst everything else in your backpack/carry-on.
  5. Separate your electronics. This will make your time in the security line go much more smoothly and much faster.
  6. Figure out your liquids game before you get to the security line. Where at all possible, if you don’t have to bring liquids then don’t. But, if you must bring liquids, know the rules before you go. Don’t be that doh-head who needs their bag to get searched and have full-sized perfume and hand creams pulled out of it. I’ve seen a lot of times the TSA Agents be nice about this, but you can also get into a lot of trouble.
  7. Wear an item of clothing with a sports logo on it. This isn’t a certified fact, and I only do this in North American airports, but I have noticed on days when I am wearing certain jackets with sporting logos on them, the TSA agents will move me to the quicker line. Perhaps they like sports? Perhaps, they just think I’m some sort of coach and want to help me on my way. I’m not sure. But, when wearing the logo makes the security line shorter, I’m going to wear the logo.
  8. Bring an empty water bottle and fill it up inside of security. Buying water at the airport is no-bueno. I’ve paid upwards of $6.00 Canadian for a single bottle of water. Having a reusable water bottle with you can avoid a lot of unnecessary costs.
  9. Save your Starbucks rewards for the airport. It’s a well known fact of life that Starbucks costs 2-3 dollars more per drink when you’re at the airport. If you collect Starbucks rewards, save the free drinks for when you travel, for when you’re in the airport. And if you don’t collect Starbucks rewards, start collecting them. Seriously.
  10. When you’re travelling internationally add international data and roaming minutes to your cell phone plan. In the airport alone you can’t always rely on wi-fi in other parts of the world. If you’ve got the international data, you can still use your phone to help you get to where you need to be.
  11. Bring a phone charger. Always bring a phone charger. And, if you’re travelling internationally, bring a plug converter. You don’t want to find yourself in the Amsterdam airport, unable to speak the language, with a dead cell phone.
  12. Keep your money in your front pocket. Especially in busy airports, pickpocketing is a real issue. For guys that keep their wallets in their back pocket, put it in your front pocket while walking through the airport to avoid pickpocketing.
  13. Always arrive at your gate early. Why? Planes can leave early. I’s not a frequent occurrence, but they do leave early. You don’t want to be the doh-head that missed the flight because you were looking at overpriced magazines down the hall.
  14. Be kind. Don’t yell. Even when it’s frustrating. Even when someone pisses you off. You don’t want to find yourself in a foreign country where you cannot speak the language, with people unwilling to help you because you’ve been a tired, pissed off asshole. There was one instance in Frankfurt when the security guard was telling me to take off my shoe. I could not understand her because she was speaking German. Naturally, being Canadian, my response was “I’m sorry”. And then I said “English, English?” She called over the German police (at the time I was worried I was in trouble, but it turns out she was doing it because she knew they could speak English). The police officers were actually very kind to me. One of them told me I was very soft-spoken and told me thank you. Moral of the story – always be nice. Even when it’s annoying.
  15. Fly the flag. This is a big one, especially if you’re Canadian. Put a Canadian flag on your luggage, on your carry-on, on your backpack, etc… It’s a good conversation starter with strangers. There’s nothing cooler than striking up conversation with a badass human being half-way around the world and making your wait at the airport a little-less boring. And who knows, in this day of social media, perhaps you can stay in touch.