Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Some nine months ago, I sat in my parent's home in Toronto, wondering what to do with my near future, as is part of the Christmas custom. At my father's suggestion, I made for a nearby nunnery, and hid away for three days to sit, ponder and plan. I drew out the various trajectories my post-university life might take, and sat until I sensed that which felt best. 

Cutting wood the honest way: an ode to Nova Scotia.

That same week I started planning, and two weeks later, back in Halifax, Nova Scotia, I had the outline of a plan: a starting point for the next leg of the journey. I would finish university, head West to Vancouver Island for the spring and summer, then fly to Maharashtra, India to work, volunteer, live at Mahindra United World College, one of fourteen UWCs around the world, and sister school to Lester B. Pearson United World College, my home from the age of sixteen to eighteen and a stepping stone into a much more connected, exciting, inviting and challenging world than I had ever known.

My volunteer-job outline was to come primarily as an outdoor education instructor, and to help Mahindra UWC of India--known more affectionately as MUWCI--to develop an outdoor program to match an already enthusiastic culture of outdoor adventure. With a backdrop of sacred forest groves, mountain caves, paddle-able rivers and of course, the Himalayas, it seemed a suitable proposition. 

And so, as I made motions to finish my thesis, final projects and one chapter of life in Canada's rugged and real East Coast, I also made ready to start a new chapter... with a quick stop over in BC of course. Heading to India on a pretence of leading out trips, I felt a sudden urge to brush up on my guiding skills. Working as a kayak guide and counsellor with Camp Thunderbird's Leadership Development program, I was able to do just that, in my time off ferrying to Vancouver for Wilderness First Responder training and, of course, to see to my visa.

Four months later, feeling grounded, fit and generally ready for adventure, I bid farewell to my woodland community and within twenty four hours, was on a plane, heading so far West I would end up East.

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