I've been living in the beautiful land of Canada for one month now and I fell in love 5692573 times already. Life is good in the summer sun. On my first days in Vancouver I met a wonderful musician who hosted me in his dream house on Vancouver Island. All mountain views and salty air and I felt like home sweet home. Hitch hiking with the most stunning views, collecting stories, living life day by day.
After years of catching rides and sleeping on couches, I decided it was time to give back to hitchers and create a home while being on the road. Yes, I did what all grown ups do and bought a car. My first old noisy lady of a truck. She's older than the boys I date and huskier than my voice after five days of festivals. But she's a rockstar and goes by the name Patti. Yay to the freedom of driving wherever I want to, sleeping in the back of my truck and going thrift shop crazy because for the first time in my travel life I have space to put things! No to carrying overflowing backpacks, yes to singing along with the radio and sticking my head out of the window like a dog feeling the breeze.
Another big thing happened while I was falling in love with the island: I became a member of the 27 club! Well, not really, because I'm alive and not quite as famous but if you ignore all that and just shout hooray and happy birthday you will see the biggest smile on my face. I bought a present for myself in shape of a wedding dress, ready to be worn all over the country to dance and frolick and who knows maybe even get married in.
As I was driving around in my home on wheels, picking berries while hiking in the forest and swimming in fresh lakes surrounded by mountains and stars, I thought things couldn't get any better. Life was flowing and I happily went with it, saying yes to every new adventure coming my way. So one night I found myself on a beach in Tofino, around a fire and beautiful people, hugging Jess (who I met in Australia three years ago) and celebrating the summer solstice like a dream. I lived in a hippy commune and enjoyed the sweet Tofino life, singing karaoke, dancing to hiphop and soaking up the beach views.
I heard about a little underground festival on Cortes Island, and my curiosity wins every time. So I hopped on a water taxi and danced, swam, looked at the glow in the dark jelly fish and met the most amazing friends. My energy levels were rising while my voice was fading as I arrived at the second festival that week: Tall Tree. On top of a mountain, waking to pine tree views, laughing, loving, dancing so hard my body is still recovering.
On the ferry back to Vancouver I felt a rush of emotions. Sadness to leave this island I love, the people I just met and hold close in my heart, gratefulness for everything that happened, nerves for Belgian friends to meet and letters to read, total bliss standing on the ferry deck, looking out over the Gulf Islands and ocean. At that moment a band started playing and people were cheering as whales showed up in the distance.
You know that intense feeling of happiness coming over you for a couple of seconds, leaving you longing to find a way to hold onto it. I think I found the way. Follow your path, do what feels good, be yourself completely, without fear, without judgement, love endlessly and share your smile with everyone. Many will smile back, many will think you're a weirdo. That's where you look at yourself, your beat up truck home, your wedding dress, your husky voice from laughing too loud for days on end and blistering feet from dancing all night, your crazy friends and their happy faces and realise it's fucking great being a weirdo.
Stay weird, that's how I love you best.