I feel like the last few posts of mine have been very much produced by the self-reflective realm of my brain. I guess the past year and a bit has made me contemplate a lot.
But it’s been a while since I last wrote and, honestly, I don’t want to think too hard about anything right now. So, I figured a good ol’ fashioned update-on-life post was in order ;)
Well, after the fiasco with getting sick and having to bow out of the show I was supposed to sing in back in March, I decided to reach out to another venue. Luckily they said they’d be glad to have me perform there!
In the meantime though, I had great adventures to tackle — a solo trip to Peru …!
I tried out hostel living for the first time and met some seriously awesome travellers. I went on a walking tour and ended up making friends with our guides Arturo and Mario. It was great to hang out in Lima both with my hostel roomies as well as some locals.
Arturo and I taste-tasting desserts at the Plaza de Armas in Lima’s historic center
Of course I needed my getaway in nature, so I took off from the busy streets of Lima to the remote Andes mountains. Tucked away at 3,200 metres in those grand ranges is a tiny village called San Pedro de Casta. From there, you can do a hike up to Marcahuasi which is known for its strange and sacred monolithic stone sculptures.
After trekking up to 4,000 metres elevation, I felt like I had run a marathon. Once reaching the top, my young guide Oswaldo and our faithful canine companion Chance had our lunch at this panoramic vista and all passed out for a nap.
On the Marcahuasi plateau, trying to stay vertical for this photo
I was only in Peru for eight days, but felt like I had been gone forever thanks to the full experience I had while I was there.
When I got back to Toronto, it was time to buckle down and prepare for the show! I actually had a 2-hour slot, so lots of new songs had to be learned. Then, one day I received word that the venue I was going to perform at was closing down its doors. I couldn’t believe my luck (or complete lack thereof)!!
I debated giving up … or giving this performing thing one more shot. After a hopeful phone call to the most awesome Michael Burton at the Free Times Cafe, I had a date and time booked there for July!
In the meantime though, summer was in full swing. I was finally coming out of hibernation mode and June saw my birthday, which basically amounted to an eating spree over four days and change. I was honestly kind of dreading turning 34, but by the time the day came around, I had accepted my fate. Really, I have lived such a full 34 years and am so grateful for everything all of my life experiences have taught me thus far!
Starting the birthday eating marathon (not pictured here: my lunchtime scotch)
After all the food and wine consumption, I needed to summon some restraint so I could get my voice into gear for the show. This was such a long time in the making, but all of the practicing and prepping was worth it. We had a full house and some of the most dearest people to me came out to support <3
Special thanks to Roarshack Photography for capturing the memories :)
A cover of one of my fave love songs, “Ready For Love” by India Arie <3
After the show, my brain had to switch to camping mode fast. I had three weeks(!) in Killarney Provincial Park planned for August, but was way behind in being prepared for it!
In the meantime, I kick-started the camping season with a short trip to Bruce Peninsula, hiking the Lion’s Head trail. It was also my first time volunteering for Parkbus, the awesome service I took last year to do my solo camping trips.
Enjoying solitude and dreamy clouds at McKay’s Harbour on the Lion’s Head hiking trail
Then, my epic three-week backcountry adventure in Killarney Provincial Park arrived. It was so unreal to be out there for so long — but at the same time, it felt completely right.
I went canoeing with my friends Dave and Steve, who had taken me on my very first backcountry trip ~15 years ago. We enjoyed the hot weather, lots of swimming, and the super addictive game Hanabi.
After they left, I was joined by my cousin Lilli, friend Lucy, and their dogs Smokey and Noodles for the first ~5 km of the La Cloche Silhouette hiking loop. We got the rainy part of the trip, but some sunshine for a day hike to The Crack and lots of food and laughs.
Then we parted ways and I took off for a ~12-day solo trek around the rest of the loop. Words just can’t do justice to the experience … at this time, it feels like a complete dream that I was standing on those beautiful ridges, looking out onto those awe-inspiring views.
Proof it wasn’t all a dream …
After sadly rejoining civilization, reality hit big time. It was September (still is September), a really big month for me. It’s the ending of a couple of journeys, including my current job and the career path I’ve been walking down the last ~8 years.
I’ll also be saying good-bye to not only my apartment but to the city I’ve grown up and lived in all my life. It’s a sort of temporary farewell, but it marks a huge life change … I’m nervous, excited and ready to take the leap into The Great Unknown.
Over the past couple of years, I have come to realize without a doubt that living more of my life in nature is the right thing to do for myself. I love being in the outdoors, perhaps need to be out there. Every time I get back onto the trail, amongst the trees, that sense of comfort and happiness comes over me. And so, I’ve made the decision to do just that.
To start this new journey, I’ll be taking a vacation of sorts to Tuscany, Italy to volunteer on an organic vineyard (hey, someone’s gotta help make the vino). When I get back, I’ll be living the farm life and exploring a new career path that lets me live more in the outdoors and travel abroad. I’ll keep writing about my adventures, whether it’s here in my humble abode in the blogosophere or on a new website currently brewing in my mind :)
In the meantime, I hope you’ve all had a full and exciting past few months and that you never stop dreaming for the future.
Janice (a.k.a. Cafe) <3