“Hapiness is only real when shared” is a quote from Chris McCandless. (Check out his book or movie both named Into the Wild, both are worth checking out). His quote often echoes in my mind and I frequesntly share it with people. However over the last few days it’s really been an overwhelming feeling.
While on this journey I’ve encountered jaw droping landscape after jaw droping landscape. Numerous mountain streams, that gently meander through the valleys. Torrent rivers cascading down the mountain side, rushing with untammed might. I have peddled through lush prairie valleys, with the smell of Lilac floating on the warm summer breeze. In the last month I have seen more pictureques lakes that perfectly mirror the world around them, then I can shake a stick at.
But despite these incredible sights there is that human condition beating away in my heart. The seemingly inevitable feeling of loneliness and the resulting attmept to share this experience known as life with others. The best way I can describe it, is when you take a photo because you hope to be able to convey the beauty of the scene to the rest of the world, but so often the picture hardly does it justice. This feeling can be visualized by my selfie on top of a mountain camping under snowy peaks.
I love to share and convinently other peoples love of sharing, has made this trip possible. When I am able to share it brings me so much joy and wealth into my life. I am getting to the point where I feel that not only is hapiness only real when shared but I feel like life is only “real” when shared.
With this in mind I’d like to talk about my experience in Nelson and the generosity of my host Vivian. She openly shared her home to me, no expectations, no strings attached and no pressures on me. It was an amazing feeling. When I arrived, this was the sign on the entrance to her home, I knew we would get along swimmingly :D.
As soon as I entered her home I felt warm and welcome. She had elegant and tasteful decore that was abundant but not overwelming. Her home had the perfect balance of being clean but feeling lived in. As a couch surfer you get to expereince a wide array of different homes, ranging from this
(ummm people live here?)
(umm do people live here? or is this a hermitally sealed room for building micro chips :S)
My lovely host Vivian even made me breakfast every morning and we found an excellent balance of skill, resources and even emotional sharing that made the experience very enjoyable and life feel a little more “real” .
My sharing crusade extended out into the rest of my Nelson experience. I was able to volunteer at the local bike co-op sharing my bike fixing skills and laughs with the other volunteers and patrons. Here are some photos of the co-op.
(The awesome Francois, whom has spearheaded the project)
(Pile of bikes that need fixing, mmmm bikes…)
(Me fixing some of said bikes)
The co-op is then run by volunteer mechanics who help members fix their bikes when they come in. For begginers this often involves watching the mechanics do much of the work, but for the eager learners, it quickly becomes a hands on expreience. The co-op also recycles neglected bikes which can be seen in the above photo.
In exchange for my service the co-op even donated me a few parts I needed for the bike, even an awesome leather seat, which through the help of a local leather expert Dean, we managed to bring it back to life. It has been super comfy thus far, and is like a hammock for my bum :).
With the bike end covered in Nelson I also managed to do some stand up at an venue called Expressions. It was run by the talented and knowledgable Nelson (Yes Nelson from Nelson!). It was a no alcohol venue that had a very similar feel to the loft concerts we conduct in Bowser. It was on open mic and thus sharing at it’s pinacle.
(Nelson from Nelson, mcing!)
When you think about it art, music and performing in general are intertwined with sharing. Without an audience what is the point? The venue and crowd were great, and a number of people displayed a huge variety of skills, from music to poetry, to an expressive dance/story/sonnet. I also have to tip my hat to the folks who attended this open mic, as cellphone usage was at a minimum, nearing zero! Everyone gave full attention to the performers it was a great evening.
I was stayed in Nelson from Monday to Sunday morning, with a number of highlights. One of my first days I encountered an awesome man of the theatrical arts named Micheal, we began chit chatting at the local coffee hole, and he said he had a bike that needed some fixing. He was unsure of how much work it needed but when I arrived, it only needed some air in the tires, oil on the chain and some minor adjustments. So withing a few minutes Micheal had a nice rideable bike and I had 25$ for food! Woo go life!
I also went to a 2 hour no talking dance that was awesome and very unusual for me. I am such a social guy, so shutting up for two hours and just dancing and stretching was a good growing experience for me. It was an absolute blast and people danced in a very safe environment. It was an urban no alcohol dance party.
(Dude totally stole my move)
Worf and I also checked out the local waterfall.
(Worf searches for Zen)
The last night I was there the co-op held a film fest, depicting the numerous ways bikes makes this world better. It was held in this great venue the oldest church in town, that has recently been coverted to a fitness gym and also host events such as the film fest.
(The co-op crew, David, Francois, Vivian, Mortan, Simonne, Jessie, Jess, Brent and I forget last girls name 😦 )
My time in Nelson was capped off by an excellent live music performance at a local venue. I had made a number of aquentences roaming around Nelson for the week and I got to re meet so many of them. This experience was really pronouced when I was talking to the local bouncer who initially had a bit of the “bouncer” stance.
After talking to him about the bike co-op film fest, he randomly aksed me if my name was Dion. I said “yes” and he yelled “do you know who I am?!” To which I replied, “if you have to ask then no…”. Oddly enough it turns out Brad was the one person to reply to my free bike servicing ad on Kijiji, I posted an ad describing myself as a “bike genie” and described my bike trip and offered free service to anyone that needed it. I only got one response here is what Brad the Bouncer forwarded me!
“I don’t need any bike work but I just wanted to congratulate you and wish you the best on your trip. I’ve done a smaller trip but not with so much class.
Good luck and be well,
And if you need a place to crash, I’m half way to Castlegar and you welcome to stay. ”
That was a pretty sureal and stange coincidence.
The whole time I was in Nelson I was trying to find a second host. Vivian was by far one of the nicest hosts ever but I always try to be the “ohhh hes gone” guy rather then the “where are you heading next there friend!!!!!???”. So as things continue to work out an awesome fellow David hosted me my last night. Dave and I hit it off, he has dabled in a number of different acedemic fields so we had amazing discussions. (Added bonus!) His family lives in Newfoundland and his dad is a political science professor, can’t wait to pick Daves dads brain.
I had so many people tell me I had to spend some time in Nelson and I can see why. It’s filled with some of the most physically and emotially healthy people I’ve met. I loved the people and the eclectic mix of taste and style.
After staying with David I said a heartfelt goodbye to Nelson I peddled on, on the way out of town there where two french Canadian hitchhikers I had some extra bananas and some extra “greenery” I had been gifted, so I was happy to share. Which always feels great ;). I peddled to Kaslow. I then peddled up an easy 400 meter mountain climb where I had a whole valley to myself.
(In the morning the grass I was sleeping on was in full bloom)
The next day I peddled to Nakusp for groceries and coffee and was enroute to my first ever hot spring. Which is non commercilized and undeveleoped, and I was soooo incredibly excited about it. Ironically it’s “renowndly” secret and cahllenging to find. On a frustrating note I found it on my first try but didn’t trust my gut and after 20 minutes of confusion peddled 10 km past it, only to realize my amazing host Vivian had given me one last gift. She wrote me a very detailed note of how to get to the spring, which I remember I placed in my wallet! And so I had to peddle back 10km up a hill I had just come down :S. Once I got there I also had to push my bike 6kms up this rocky dirt road,
(Road bikes and rocks are not friends)
but my god was it worth it!
This place is one of the most magical places I have been, and no photo or explination can do it justice. Again I felt this overwhelming desire and yet inability to share the expereince. I had hopes of some beautiful nymph, gently bathing in the ancient spring, instead I found 5 freindly french men and a few comfortably naked old men.
Becoming more comfortably naked myself, I also went for a swim and soak in the buff and it was a delight. A girl from the coffee shop in Nakusp I met had also come, however she was with her father, so not exactly the ideal combination ;). I camped right beside the springs, and sticking with the common theme, again I had a new episode of Game of Thrones to watch before bed.
The spings are a half kilometer walk down some beautiful cedar root systems.
(Joe enjoying the secluded majesty that is, St Leon hot springs)
In the morning I was dreading the 6km ride down the rock road, but fortunatlely I made friends with Joe and Charity a really nice couple visiting from the US. They had a super cool 1972 ford that Joe had restored, we visited and did some gift exchanging and they gave me a ride back down to the highway. Thx so much Joe and Chairty that apple sauce was AMAZING!
And again I was off, heading towards Revelstoke for the night. My host feel through, but fortunately a Warmshowers host Doug connected me to his friend Peter and Kai, whom hosted me and two other awesome fellows. I am spending an extra day in Revelstoke resting my legs before the 148km climb into Goldern. Rumor has is there is an open mic tonight, and as usual I will be trying to fix peoples bikes.
That about sums up my adventures for the week, hope you enjoyed the post, thanks for reading. My next post should be from Banff where I will be spending 5 or so days. As usual if you have any questions, helpful tips for people or places to see I always welcome them. Next weeks article will be Sleeping in Other Peoples Homes 101.