Week 0 (Feb 25-March 4): colds, anticipation and logistics

Feb 25 2016-Good bye, home.
Our apartment is finally mostly empty after the movers have come by to take what was left from our massive purge, into storage. We are slowly getting ready for the grand departure to the Philippines. Time is speeding up, or at least, it has felt this way for the last week or so: the firm deadline of feb 29th becoming increasingly real in our minds. So, tonight we are sleeping on our thermarests in this earily echoey place where our home and furniture once lived, where we lived and built a loving home and partnership for 4 years. Now this is just a shelter, a springboard towards a new adventure, containement before our volutnary release into the unknown somewhere in the pacific ocean cornered by the south asian contienent, Indonesia, Australia and the South Pacific Islands. Philippines here we come!
Feb 29th- First, to Vancouver we go! And then I talk about books….mmmmm books!
Today, we leave on a plane for a week long stop over in Vancouver. We decided to stop by in British-Colombia before our finally landing in Manila in hopes of seeing a few beloved family members and breaking up the trip in more manageable chunks. We are taking a shorter flight to B.C. and resting up there to then take a 19 hour trip to the Philippines, as opposed to a 25 hour trip from Montreal to Manila we were originally looking at.
In preparation for a year of unemployment which will hopefully be a fruitful, inspiring time of mostly uninterrupted writing, reading and travelling, I have complied a reading list, mainly based on the books already on my kindle. I won’t have a lot of money and will be dependent on my partner, so my reading list is mostly comprised of materials already in my possession. I have also slipped in there a few books I dream of reading which I will try to get my hands on. I hope these titles will in turn inspire my writing and be a source of enjoyment as well.
Reading : My life on the road-Gloria Steinhem
Reading line up : Maps of power-Starhawk
Books I want to read this year :
-My life on the road.
-Moby dick
-Reading Lolita in Tehran (re-read).
– Between the World and Me
-Read/watch more poetry (ex: Button Poetry videos online)
-Vernon Subutex by Virginie Despentes
– Maps of Power by Starhawk
– On the Duty of Civil Disobedience
-Filipino litterature.
– Orlando (re-read)
– The Great Gatsby.
-Spiral Dance, Starhawk
– One Hundred Years of Solitude
– Grapes of Wrath
– Love and Friendship (Jane Austen)
– Leaves of Grass
– The Art of War
– Midnight’s Children
– Malcom-X Autobiography
– Guns, Germs and Steel
– Ghandi Autobiography
– The Color Purple
– Beloved
– I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
– Ladders to fire Anais Nin. (re-read Under a Glass Bell?)
– This Bridge Called my Back
– 1 book by Zadie Smith (White Teeth? Whatever I can get my hands on)
– The Bonesetter’s Daughter
– Love in the Rice Fields Macario Pineda
– Daisy Miller
I finished reading Islands of Decolonial Love by Leanne Thompson right before leaving for B.C. It was a deeply inspiring read.I was moved by the constant reference point of nature whether it be animals or trees or seasonal phenomena. It was a powerful reminder of different ways of relating, but also an incredible source of inspiration in great part because of Thompson’s amazing writing style. This might very well be one of my favorite books of all time. Before that I read How Poetry Saved my Life. Some of the poetry contained therein was powerful, and so was the prose, though it didn’t shake me to my core in the way a few of the poems did. As for My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem, I am split. Her rhetoric about the power of travel, hitting the road grips me at the most opportune moment, as I am readying myself for a long journey, a year abroad and a year of self-reflection. On the other hand, many passages seem problematic to me. Part of me wanted to put down the book in utter frustration and the other, to keep reading and dissect further because I really haven’t read much feminist literature and want to explore it more. I’m mostly just frustrated that I don’t have the tools or words to pin point exactly what it is that infuriates me about Gloria Steinem’s writing, what I find so problematic.
I promise, I won’t be writing about books most of the time, I’ve just been reading a lot of thought provoking works in the last few weeks and wanted to share these. I think I<m probably just avoiding talking about at the feels I am having about this up and coming adventure. Once I land in the Philippines though, there won’t be much avoiding possible.
Night of Feb 29th to March 1st-I’m on a plane. And i’m excited for what’s to come.
Now, I am actually on the plane, on my way to Vancouver to visit my dearest friend, a few family members and a long lost friend from college.I still have a number of things to get done before leaving the country, but Fred (my partner) and I balance each other out very well on this front. While I am planning the last details frantically, he is being so laid back he risks forgetting important elements. On the flip side, he calms my nerves and I make sure we have a complete list of « to-do’s »; I tired myself out with the longer term aspects of getting ready, and Fred took over to accomplish the more last minute arrangements in his super chill but efficient way. Friends of mine have pointed out that we make a great team and I could not agree more. Moving, packing and getting rid of most of our possessions has been a great test of this and I think we passed with flying colours. We are a well oiled machine, getting more and more in sync as our life together marches forward. I imagine this year-long adventure will mark a mile stone for us regardless of how it unfolds. Stay tuned for more Fred and I updates.
Some thoughts on my upcoming trip…
I am excited by the fact that i have all these different friends who are living, or will be travelling to south east Asia this year.This will also help make my travelling cheaper. I am excited to discover all these vastly different countries/islands/cultures. I remember my trip to Ghana in 2008, and how much, in hindsight I wish I had taken a more committed “say yes to everything” attitude in order to more fully take advantage of my trip. I am going to try and do this, this year.
My hope is also to keep a journal, a more detailed one. I most recently re-read my travel journals and it was such an amazing source of information, inspiration and wisdom. I also sourly regret not holding a journal for my ghanaian trip. I took many intership-related notes but very few notes on the personal experience that this trip and internship represented. I want to write more spoken word, expand (finish?) my work of non-fiction on witnessing and write an article surveying the state of Sexual Assault policies on University campuses in Canada. I am exited for all of these projects. We will see what comes out of all of these, I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself, or set myself up for disappointment. Rather, these are meant as loose goals to work up to, to approximate in whatever ways I can.
I also hope that through the next year I can work on getting out of the rat race, figure out how that feels, what that looks like for me. I want to regain my taste for spontaneity, adventure and biting into and tasting fully the beauty of living. This is something that I let dwindle in the last few years. It is as if, throughout my youth and young adulthood- filled with adversity, I had established one constant-the refusal to let that adversity dampen my spirit. Yet, remnants of these hardships appear to have caught up with me in the last few years, possibly because things quieted down, stabilized, so that I could suddenly process more tumultuous times.  These are elements which have helped break parts of my spirit . Yet I am hopeful that this brave side step, saying « no » to monotonous adulthood will offer me a second breath of passion and life. We shall see…
Later, arrived in Vancouver.
I just went for a long walk on East Hastings while Fred napped (he developped nasty cold last night.) Vancouver is such a beautiful city with the ocean and mountains within view and it’s mild climate. Fred and I have been talking about building our tiny house here in B.C two years from now. I really hope we make this dream a reality.
March 2nd- Last days in Canada
The last few days have been awesome. I saw Andra, my dearest friend, got to hang out with my two aunts and tonight my cousin and her boys, who are super cute, are coming over for diner. I have also really enjoyed my walks around the neighbourhood and alone time reading, writing and generally meandering through a good balance between responsibilities and the small pleasures of life. Tomorrow is my last day in Vancouver. It promises to be busy.
March 4th-And off we are! (for real this time.)
I am on the plane on my way to the Philippines. I have been in the plane for nearly 11 hours and my body is cranky from sitting in the middle of a four person row for the great majority of it. I am excited to get to Hong Kong in order to stretch my legs and breathe some regular air, rather then sitting in a recycled environment as I am now. I am also excited to actually arrive to the Philippines, to sleep in a proper bed and begin my adventure. I guess I am grumpy from the never ending flight, so there.
It will be interesting to land and settle-in, I am curious to see how that all unfolds. We should be in Hong Kong in about 3 hours. So the majority of the trip is finished. We are in China for 5 hours until we take our one hour flight to Manila.
Over March 4th in the late night to the 5th late late late I was more or less too cramped and exhausted to enjoy my own excitement. Once landed in Manila though, that changed a bit.
And so ends week 0, pre-Philippines adventures. Onto week 1!
*You will notice here that I am posting entries dating back two months. It took me some time to settle in and create this blog. Now that it’s done though, I should be posting here on a weekly basis.

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