Monday, August 30, 2010

from the "day 1" dept.

So, the first Monday sans gig. How did it go? GREAT!

I got up early. Drank a pot of coffee. Fiddled with computer stuff. Changed my eyeglass order. Caught up on some email. Talked to the HR department.

And then I drove to Banff and Lake Louise for lunch. Just because. I guess I'll be thankful for that!

More to come...


Sunday, August 29, 2010

from the "turn that frown upside down" dept.

I'm not quite sure when the latest chapter of my life actually begins. For some reason I think it should be Monday. But in reality, the page was turned when I left Edmonton on the bus yesterday.

Rather than look back and complain about the last 10 months -- it was my choosing AND there were many benefits -- I'll look forward and try to be thankful for things. With that in mind (and just a wee bit of looking back):

Friday August 27, 2010 - I'm thankful for the nice send off at work -- and those who attended post-work drinks.

Saturday August 28, 2010 - I'm thankful for Trisha and Ella for getting me to the bus. And Dave for picking me up in Calgary and driving me to the airport to get my rental (surprise!). Also Dave and Karen for a great dinner, party and introduction to several new people.

Sunday August 29, 2010 - I'm thankful for Karen giving me aspirin this morning. Trisha & Graeme for the lobster they brought back from Nova Scotia (which I just ate) -- and also for a roof over my head for the past two weeks. And to Dave, yet again, for providing another roof. And storage.

And so it goes... (with a lot of help from my friends)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

from the "life reset" dept.

"Which way to San Cristobal?"

And so, it begins.

This morning finds me in a completely different situation than yesterday. My gig is over. I'm about to leave Edmonton. And the sky is still firmly fixed above.

I'm reminded of a quote by the Grinch, when he awakens Christmas morning to find that Christmas had arrived despite his best efforts:

It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes, or bags!

And sure enough, despite taking a giant leap of faith, a bright new day arrived. I'm healthy, have money in the bank and a new direction in life.

So far so good.

Today will see me leaving Edmonton. I have a one-way bus ticket for Calgary. My ol' pal Dave (from the Halifax chapter of my life) will pick me up and I'll hang at his place in Cochrane for a few days. Then I pick up my rental car for some Prairie and West Coast exploring.

A return to Southwestern Saskatchewan is high on the list, as is a stroll on Chesterman Beach outside Tofino.

Mexico isn't far off. September 25. But with the upcoming buffer, I'll be relaxed and ready to hit the ground running -- or a similar cliche.

I had a nice send off at the office on Friday. A long-term staffer (Ivor the amazing IT guru) was also leaving. Thankfully he took most of the spotlight. Sometimes I like being the centre of attention. Sometimes not. It worked out well.

After finishing the workday I headed to a local watering hole for drinks with my (now former) boss Jessica, the newest member of communications Sarah, and a team of reporters (Min, Faiz & Charles). Plus Dan, the lucky winner of my job.

It was a nice way to end the week and the experience. I also received a nice card from the folks in the newsroom.

At the end of the day, most of the frustration I felt was not about work, but about place. If this gig had been in Vancouver, Halifax or even Calgary, I'd be on board for another year. But Doug and Edmonton are like oil and water. I didn't expect that.

Time to pack and get on that bus... Southern Alberta awaits...


Friday, August 27, 2010

from the "the end is just the beginning" dept.

This is it. My last day at CBC Edmonton. And my last full day in Edmonton.

More to come...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

from the "a (small) change in plans" dept.

Thursday, August 26, eh? Crazy.

One day of work left. Two sleeps in Edmonton left. Crazy.

It's been a busy week: Getting stuff ready, looking after a house, garden, two cats and a dog, plus training my replacement.

Now that I've cycled up the big hill, it's time to coast down the other side. Work should be easy on Friday with cleaning out my stuff and submitting forms. I believe all my work related communication tools will expire at 5. Whatever.

Because it's rainy season in Southern Mexico, I've decided to delay my departure from Canada by nearly four weeks. No sense rushing down there for the cold and wet when the best time of year (fall) is almost upon our great Dominion.

I'm still beating a hasty retreat from Edmonton on Saturday. I'll hang in Calgary/Cochrane for a few days. And then I'll rent a (cheap) car and drive to Vancouver for a bit of work, a bit of play and a whole lot of organizing. If the planets align, I hope to spend a night or two in the Tofino area getting spiritual and eating my face off at Sobo (you had me at deep fried polenta).

I wish I could fit in some Galiano time, but my cottage of choice is booked solid. Boo.

No matter. A bit of transition is in order and I'll be heading south on Sept 25. A little poorer, but a lot more relaxed and ready to work for me and my future.

I can't wait!

Monday, August 23, 2010

from the "four to go" dept.

It was a weird day.

Work was OK, if a little slow. It got better at the end of the day.

No, it wasn't work that made it a weird day. It was me: Thinking.

About what, you may wonder?

Edmonton, I guess. Even though I leave here with few good memories (which is not to say I leave with bad ones -- just no memories, really), I wonder if I didn't give the city a chance. Did I judge it too harshly and too early? Did I set up a self-fulfilling prophecy?

That's what I was thinking about.

And, to answer my own question: I think I did give it a shot. I went to a few events, I tried to have fun. But it's hard to make your own fun. I'm not one for doing absolutely everything on my own. Companionship is nice.

It bothered me hearing about work parties after the fact. It bothered me that my cellphone never rang. It bothered me that the only times I did anything was with people I already knew.

Can you tell I'm not much of a civic booster? Can you tell that I just want to let it all out? It's coming.

Meanwhile: The future. I'm thinking I might delay my departure to Mexico by a week or two. It would give me some time to enjoy Canadian fall and spend a bit more time down in Calgary. There's no rush, really. The only rush was getting out of my rented home.

Time for a glass of wine, methinks. And more pondering.

And so it goes.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

from the "inching forward" dept.

Today is Sunday, Aug. 22nd. Generally, it's an unremarkable day -- cool, gray, fall is definitely in the air. But there is one remarkable thing about today. It is the last Sunday I will spend in Edmonton.

In less than a week I will have relocated to Cochrane, Alberta. What little stuff I have is now there, the last of it hauled down yesterday.

Between here and there lie 6 days in Edmonton and 5 days of work. But it's no holiday I'm about to embark on. It's a big test -- a challenge to see if I can walk the walk and make a living from my creativity, business skills and the internet.

Can I? I hope so.

But, worst case scenario, I'll return to Canada. Not Edmonton. I won't make that mistake again. But somewhere like Toronto where freelance jobs are as plentiful as dandilions in a prairie meadow. Or, at least that's what I like to believe.

It feels good to be winding things down. I'm free of my apartment. I'm free of my stuff. And soon, I'll be free of what has been a most challenging and unexpected year in Edmonton. It's too bad that the last 10 months weren't spent in Vancouver or Calgary or Winnipeg or Halifax. I would be leaving with a heavier heart. But I am overjoyed to be leaving Edmonton. And I won't be looking back.

It's too bad, because, by and large, I had a good job in a good environment. But Edmonton and I didn't click. And that is the primary reason for my departure at his point.

Like I keep saying: I'll write more on my relationship with Edmonton once I'm out of town. But I'm bursting at the seams to let it all out. And, boy, will it feel good.

And so it goes...


Saturday, August 14, 2010

from the "final countdown" dept.

My spirits are soaring as things wind down. Soon, the past 10 months in Alberta's capital city will be nothing more than a memory. More on that once I leave town.

As of this writing, there remain 10 more work days. And two weeks from today I will depart Edmonton for Calgary. And on Sept. 1, I will board the big bird for points south.

All fear has disappeared. But there remains much to be done: An apartment full of stuff that needs to be emptied and cleaned by tomorrow. Bank accounts that need to be set up. Mail that needs to be forwarded. Stuff that needs to be hauled.

Slowly, the list of things gets ticked off. And with each tick, the transition gets easier.

I've been looking at Google StreetView of my new 'hood. Looks great! Lots to explore. And no winter, although sources say that it does get chilly. No matter, the Pacific and Caribbean aren't too far away. As is my old home of San Pedro la Laguna, down in Guatemala.

And so it goes...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

from the "it begins with a single step" dept.

I suppose the first step was resigning. Done. Waiting for the memo.

But reality set in: I had to do something. No waiting around. Time passes. Soon I will have no home. Soon I will have no job. Even if I wanted to maintain the status quo, the plans have been put in motion.

I've been trying to book the perfect escape. Wrestling with bus schedules, housing schedules, plane schedules and, all the while, trying to keep it cheap.

Today push came to shove. I clicked some buttons. And I now have an itinerary.

Friday Aug. 27 - Last day of work.
Saturday Aug. 28 - Bus to Calgary Airport ($90). Pick up rental car. ($156). Drive to Cochrane.
Sunday Aug. 29 - Tuesday Aug 31 - Last minute errands, relaxing, stressing and what-evering.
Wednesday Aug 1 - Return rental car. Fly to San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico at 7am. ($488)

I'll arrive around 9:30pm -- and, with luck, to the smiling faces of Dennis & Kelly - whom I met last year in Guatemala. Housing secured. Work about to begin.

And that's that. Next: Getting rid of the last of my stuff and cleaning my apartment. I begin housesitting Friday. How strange to think that Edmonton will soon be a (bad) memory.

Let the future begin!

from the "a change in direction" dept.


If I'm going to go through another big change, then it's time for Roadspill to change. It's time to start writing about the ups and downs of life lived differently.

It's hard to believe that in four weeks I will be down in Mexico. There is so much to do. And even though I've done these kinds of life changes a number of times before, I'm still overwhelmed. Selling stuff. Cleaning the apartment. Finding temporary housing. Booking flights and cars. Spending money. I don't want to spend money!

And, the big one -- believe it or not -- fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear that I'm making a mistake, even though I know I'm not. None of my past decisions have ever led me astray. Things have always worked out. Not perfectly, of course. But the worst case scenario has never happened. And I'm not even sure of what that would be. And if I were homeless and penniless on the streets of some Canadian city -- well, deal. Would that happen? I doubt it.

There will be more on all these issues over the coming days and weeks. First -- I must get rid of stuff. And then the rest will fall into place like it always does.

At least that's why I try to tell myself -- when I actually listen.


Friday, August 06, 2010

from the "heading south" dept.

My third-last weekend in Edmonton is about to begin. And I'm going to Calgary. Yay!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

from the "let's go exploring" dept.

Let's go exploring!

It seems like I write a lot of these posts:

News of a big change in my life. I'm moving to Thunder Bay/Halifax/Winnipeg/Vancouver/West Africa/Vancouver again/Guatemala/Edmonton.

And now I'm writing another one. I'm just not sure of the destination.

Yesterday, after a lot of thought and after leading a rather craptacular existence in Edmonton, I chose to make a change. I decided to resign from my job and head off into the sunset.

Originally I had planned on a late October departure. But the universe had a different plan and moved my departure day up by two months.

I don't mind, but it's going to be a busy August.

What's next, you ask?

Good question. And a hard one to answer. I'll be leaving Edmonton and heading either south or west.

What will I do, you wonder?

Point your browser to -- THAT is what I will be doing. Building a website (and others) to generate passive income. It will take a lot of time with little initial reward. But the goal is long term. And freedom will be the result.

There's much more to say and explain, of course. But for the moment, I still have a job. A job I'm late for.

There's much more to come. And thanks for playing along at home!

Monday, August 02, 2010

from the "almost home" dept.

Greetings from Cochrane, Alberta.

I'm slowly making my way back to Edmonton from Vancouver... big changes await tomorrow.

The fallout here... Wednesday.