A minuscule spec on a fraction of a pale blue dot.

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Once we overcome our fear of being tiny, we find ourselves on the threshold of a vast and awesome Universe that utterly dwarfs — in time, in space, and in potential — the tidy anthropocentric proscenium of our ancestors. ~ Carl Sagan

This weekend was the Perseid Meteor shower. Being a city slicker I normally don’t get the opportunity to enjoy the amazing light shows they put on. I was lucky enough to catch the beginning of this amazing celestial event, as I was out at my mothers in the country for our annual summer family BBQ. We were fortunate enough to have a clear skies, so I was able to fully enjoy what turned out to be a beautiful light show.

It’s events like the meteor shower, which leave me feeling incredibly small in comparison to the rest of universe. No matter what challenges I face in life, or how big my insecurities feel, its an awfully humbling feeling to realize just how small and unimportant they are in the general scheme of things. Yet in spite of being faced with such a humbling experience, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the problems I face in my life. I have some big decisions to make regarding my future, many of which scare me.

We all can’t help but view ourselves as the center of our own universe. Not because we are inherently a selfish species, but more so because our understanding of the world around us is shaped by our own individual experiences. Every so often we are presented with a situation, problem or moment in life where we are faced with the truth, that despite how important our world seems, we are nothing more than a tiny spec, on a fraction of a dot in the ever expanding universe.

In my everyday life I feel tiny in comparison to the problems I’m facing and that’s what scares me. Yet I know that it only scares me because of the unknown factors that can turn my world upside down. I wonder if its this fear that has prevented me from actually being able to make a solid decision regarding my future and who I wanna be. I also wonder if that’s part of the reason why I’m struggling so much to define where I fit in.

All I know is that even though my problems in life are insignificant in comparison to the universe as a whole, they aren’t insignificant to the world that is my existence. And while my time on this pale blue dot we inhabit is limited, if I wish to achieve my maximum potential, that I must face each problem head on no matter how enormous they may seem.

(NOTE: The image above is the “Pale Blue Dot” photograph of the Earth taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft on July 6, 1990. The Earth is the relatively bright speck of light about halfway across the uppermost sunbeam. Image is owned by NASA and was found on the wikipedia article for the image)

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Weekly Blogging Challenge #3: Far From Home

Since I’ve started this weekly blogging challenge I’ve been seeking out inspiration for topics to write about. Today’s challenge was inspired by the Daily Prompt: Far from home, that I found on the blog “The Daily Post“. I know I’m a bit late as this prompt was posted back on July 15th but it’s still an interesting challenge.

Anyway for this challenge I have decided to write about my October 2009 trip to Fiji. For me it was an unforgettable, life altering experience that left me wanting to travel more. It was a first for me for many various reasons.

When I turned 25, I went through a mid-midlife crisis. Upset that in the first 25 years of my life I had achieved so little for myself, I created a bucket list of things to accomplish before I turned 30. First thing on the list was to finally travel somewhere amazing. It was important to me to prove to myself that I could achieve any goal I set before me. Until taking this trip, I had never traveled anywhere outside of Canada, had never been on an airplane and the majority of my vacation’s meant camping with the family. My family being of low income couldn’t afford exotic vacation’s, so most of my traveling experience has been between Alberta and British Columbia. Many summers were spent camping in the Rockies (which are breathtakingly beautiful), but as I got older I desired to see more of the world.

I don’t remember exactly when I decided that Fiji was where I wanted to travel first. I do remember that I chose the destination with the idea in mind that it was one of the farthest places in the world I could travel. I spent days, learning all about the country, the people and the sites to see. Each day getting more and more excited at the prospect that I could actually visit there someday. It was during my research into finding the perfect island to visit that I came across this photo.  (Seen below) 

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It was after seeing this beautiful image that I swore to myself that one day I would be standing on that exact tree and get my photo taken.  So I set in motion a plan to spend my 27th birthday at Nanuya Island Resort.

Now I wasn’t too interested in going on this vacation by myself. I initially invited my GF at the time to come with me (we ended up splitting up before any reservations were made because she was cheating on me), so I eventually ended up going with my best friend John, which was pretty awesome. Both of us had never traveled anywhere this exciting, and who better to celebrate your birthday with abroad then your best friend right? We left on Thanksgiving in October ( Canadian Thanksgiving being on the 14th and my birthday on the 21st) for our 10 day trip. Our trip would take us 3 hours from Edmonton to Los Angeles, (where we were initially supposed to have a 12hr layover that ended up being over night due to flight cancellation), then a 10 hour 45 min flight from LA to Nadi ,Fiji. We stayed over night in Nadi as it was still another 5 hour boat ride to Nanuya Island. I must say that’s quite an accomplishment for a first time flyer and I am proud of how well I handled such a long flight/travel time.

The boat we took from the mainland to the island was pretty nice. Called the Yasawa flyer it took us on a trip through the Yasawa islands stopping along the way to drop off and pick up travelers. Totally with the extra $$ to stay in the Air Conditioned cabin where we enjoyed the views and the company of the staff on board who were always smiling and full of interesting facts about each island. When we arrived to the island and were immediately greeted by the resorts staff, who presented us with some hand made seashell necklaces and a tasty cool, fruity drink. Jioji, who was the resident bartender gave us a briefing session about the island and what to expect. We then settled in for 8 days of true relaxation.

After 2 years planning and many hours of travel, finally I had made it. Nanuya Island Resort, FijiImage

(Can you believe how blue that water is?)

We spent the first day just relaxing, eating some good food, smoking some Cuban’s and just soaking in the experience. I couldn’t believe I was actually there, yet there I was watching the sunset behind the island across the way. I snapped the photographs (below) to capture the moment and the beauty of what I was seeing.

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(The pictures truly don’t do that view justice. So beautiful I’ll never forget it.)

Now I booked this vacation with the plan in mind to do absolutely nothing for most of the time. I wanted to get away from all the noise, crowds, stress and responsibilities of my environment back home. So I pretty much spent the majority of my time there sleeping, reading, listening to music, sleeping, and exploring the island and enjoying the delicious eats provided by the resort. We even took an hour long walk around the island during low tide in which John was burnt to a crisp (Such a pasty white fucker lol). We did end up taking a trip to the Sawa-I-Lau underwater caves on my birthday, where we took a underwater dive through a very small 5 meter long opening to access the caves which was a bit scary, If you are brave enough like me you can take a cliff dive off a 30 foot high cliff into the clear waters below. (I didn’t get any pictures of the caves as I didn’t bring a water proof camera so see the link provided to check the caves out).

My time on the island was going pretty well, we met lots of people from different places around the world despite how remote a location we were at, including this Swedish guy and his girlfriend who talked hockey with us the whole time we were there. I spent a lot of time taking photographs of various things on the island from the animals, flowers, the beautiful ocean view and just silly things. During one such photo op I came across a can sitting on a tree. All rusted and gross I decided to pick it up to go and toss it in the garbage as it seemed wrong to have it sitting there. When I picked it up a lizard popped out of the can and scared the shit outta me. I managed to snap a few photos of him as he certainly wasn’t overly afraid of me. Image

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He obviously had made the can his home so I returned it to where I found it and let him be. But he was by far the largest lizard I saw my entire time there. The place was crawling with little lizards of varying colors.

I took lots of photos of the flowers on the island because it was littered with them. The flowers I loved the most I snapped this photo of. It’s one of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken. Perfect composition in my books.

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( I love the deep yellow colour with the white edges. I keep meaning to sketch this photo.)

So eventually it was time to say goodbye and go home. My final night there I started getting sick so I didn’t get to take part in the traditional Kava drinking ceremony they were holding. I was disappointed but I didn’t want to get anyone else sick. We said our thanks and good byes to the staff and the people we met. John gave Jioji his LED flashlight as a going away gift as Jioji had never seen one before.

Before we left I made sure that one more photo was taken. I swore to myself I would make it to that tree and get my photo taken of me standing on it. Image

( I made it. I totally made it)

This is my favorite photo of the entire trip.  What was initially a daydream inspired by a random photo I found online, became a reality for me. It’s proof that if I want something bad enough and am willing to put in the work to accomplish it that I can do it. This trip was certainly a life altering experience for me, it left me with memories to last a life time, a taste of the culture the world has to offer and it left me with a burning desire to explore the rest of the world. But most of all it was a truly humbling experience. Before I left all my life’s problems seemed so big because my world was so small. Now my life seems so small because the world is so big.

Thanks for reading tonight’s challenge, I truly enjoyed writing it. I know its a bit late in posting but it took me a few hours to write this out as I struggled deciding which photos to share. Please feel free to share comments, questions etc if you have any.

(NOTE: All photos except the first one were taken by me. I own them. The photographer of the first photo is unknown to me)

(NOTE#2. I didn’t include pics of the resort itself on purpose. It was more important to share my story then upsell the hotel, but I want it to be known they were amazing, affordable, courteous and well maintained. If you’re considering a trip to Fiji please consider Nanuya Island. You can find more info on them at http://www.nanuyafiji.com )

How music has left its permanent mark on me.

I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but music has always been an important and defining part of my life. I find it quite interesting how most people define themselves by the music they listen too. Each of us influenced by a song or an artist in a profound way, leaving a lasting impact on who we are as individuals.

 As I’ve mentioned in past posts, for as long as I can remember I have defined myself by Punk music and the subculture associated with it. Now I enjoy various types of music genres ranging from Ska, Rockabilly, and Metal to Classic Rock and Jazz. But Punk Music has always been my one true love. 

To give you an idea I’ve been to 300+ concerts (lost count years ago), traveled across 2 provinces to make it for the traveling punk festival Warped Tour on a few occasions, I’ve seen my favorite band 13 times and counting, own multiple cd’s, vinyl, stickers, posters, t-shirts and other merch in support of the artists I listen to. I’ve likely invested as much money into supporting my favorites artists as one would put into buying a car over the years. 

So as you can see music has been a huge part of my life. Despite the fact I’m not overly musical myself (Oh man, I was a terrible bass player) I am who I am today because of the music I hold dear.  In fact when I was turning 25, for my birthday I got a tattoo of the logo my favorite band (Strung Out) uses. (see photo below) Image

I got that tattoo to celebrate turning 25 as well as to serve as a reminder of my punk and nerd roots. While I love my tattoo I’ve been itching to add to it since the day I got it. But have been struggling with when, how and what to get to add to the existing ink. Well now that school is ending in a few weeks and the fact I am celebrating a major accomplishment in my life, the idea of getting a new tattoo to celebrate has been on my mind often. 

So I’ve come up with a concept I am happy with, as well have saved up $150 so far for the work. With music being so important to me and already having a musical inspired tattoo, I’ve decided to get a select score of music from a song by my favorite artist that’s very important to me. I hope to have it turned into a sleeve on the same arm as my existing ink. Below is a concept photo I found using Google Image search (Artist unknown)

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Now this is only just a concept of the tattoo I want inked. I’m hoping to find an artist who is willing to take this picture along with the music I provide and personalize it a bit more to me and have some colour added.  But I definitely love this tattoo. Now I’m not exactly sure when I will be getting the work done, but I’ve definitely made the decision this is what I am going with.

So what do you think? I’d love to get an opinion from readers about this tattoo idea? Do you like or hate it? Do you have an idea to improve upon the design. Or are you like me and have musically inspired ink and just want to share your story/pics. Whatever your opinion is I’d love to hear it. 

I’ve included a link I found on youtube to the song that inspired my next tattoo. The guitar solo in the final minute of the song is the part of the score I want inked.  I picked it because it’s one of the few songs that no matter when I hear it, my emotional attachment to it still leaves me with chills. 

Thank you again to all who read this. Enjoy the music. 

The Misanthropic Principle – Strung Out

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3z2ioOKKGiE

 

 

Opportunity is knocking. Better answer it.

opportunity_knocks

 

So my teacher today reminded us that after this weekend we are down to our final nine classes of the semester. Which for me is also my last nine classes of my upgrading. That only leaves my final exam and then I have completed everything I need to prepare for my next step in my education. I’m surprised how far I have come since I started, in fact I’ve accomplished what I never did while a teenager, which is complete my high school education.

Now I find myself somewhere I’ve never been before. I’m used to never knowing when opportunity knocks and always guessing what my future holds for me or how much potential I may have. But if anything my time over these past two years has shown me, it’s how much potential I really have and that my future is shaped by what I make in the present. My experiences I have gained over my time reeducating myself in preparation for my post secondary education has changed me for the better. I’ve learned so much about myself, where I see my life in ten years, and who I want to be professionally.

For one of the few times in my life I find myself with the opportunity to make some significant changes for myself and my future. When I graduated from High school in 2001, I was faced with the same opportunity but I squandered it. Not because I didn’t appreciate the significance of it all, but because I was struggling badly to find my social identity that my professional identity and career goal was the furthest thing from my mind. This time around because I’m much more mature and have developed a strong sense of social identity, I find myself better equipped to seize hold of the opportunity I’m facing.

While I may have a long way to go before I finish my education and am settled into a design career, my first step towards a successful future has been a large and very important one. I’ve built a strong foundation to build my future upon, and with the skills I’ve gained I’m much more confident in my ability to achieve my career goals then I’ve ever been. I think I’m ready to take on the next step and accept the challenges ahead. It’s a liberating feeling to be in some control over my future. Much better than always wondering to myself “what if?”.

Anyway thanks for reading. Sorry again for the late post. My computer died a bit ago and have been writing most of my posts via my iPhone (which sucks monkey balls) and had to wait to use the only other computer in the house. But better late then never. Until next time, I leave you with a final thought.

Every day, you get the opportunity to change your life. Change what you do not want. Change what makes you unhappy.”
― Rodolfo Costa

 

Sources:

Image: http://mcauleyfreelancewriting.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/opportunity_knocks.jpg

Quote: http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/opportunity?page=4