This is part of a continuing series from my travels in Canada. You can read the previous blog post here. I'm currently typing this post from a Starbucks on a rainy day in Seattle. This is the quintessential life of a traveling entrepreneur trying to make a new start. Driving to Portland tomorrow and interviewing for a marketing job at D3 Solutions after New Year's. Two days before my 30th birthday! I'm already in contact with the lead recruiter. They're a new growing startup of 11 employees based in Beaverton right down the street from Nike's Headquarters. I just recently listened to the audibook Shoe Dog by the founder Phil Knight. "Just do it!" I'm confident I can make a positive impact in their future endeavors and look forward to calling Portland my new hometown. I will certainly miss my good friends in Austin. Being a leader isn't always easy, but taking the road less traveled is usually worth the often solitary adventure. With that being said, it was such a pleasure exploring Canada for a few weeks. I was able to stretch my dollars far by staying at hostels and cheap hotels along the way. I'm always excited by the challenge of surviving on a budget.
To illustrate this point, I will tell you a story about an experience on Christmas Eve in Vancouver. Picking up from where I left off in the previous blog post, I arrived back in Vancouver via the ferry boat. I decided to drive up to Whistler again to get away from the traffic, people, drinking, consumerism, homeless people, and just generally avoid all the commotion. It's a beautiful two-and-half hour drive to Whistler along winding roads with waterfront vistas of the harbor and islands. Remember, the journey is the destination! I stopped to pick up groceries in a small town called Squamish. Every part of me fully expected the hostel in Whistler to have bookings available. How wrong I was! Whistler is one of the most popular ski resorts and it's the night before Christmas. So I pulled up to Legends Lodge and walked in like I owned the place. I asked how much it was for a room for one night. The answer will knock you over in shocked surprise! $780!!! Let me say that one more time so it sinks in. Seven-hundred-and-eighty-dollars for a single night stay. At this price they should at least throw in a professional masseuse, or dare I say it, a one-night-stand "companion". I can't imagine ever paying such an exorbitant fee to stay anywhere, especially as a starving artist. That happens to be the exact amount I had in my PayPal account at the time. It's rather embarrassing to admit, but I would essentially be bankrupt after getting a solid eight hours of sleep in the most comfortable bed of my life. So I immediately started looking for other options, driving around aimlessly for awhile, checking prices at other lodges in vain, and trying to decide whether to drive up to Pemberton or go back to Squamish for the night. It was below freezing outside but I seriously considered pitching my tent at various parks. I even attempted to drive up to Garibaldi Provincial Park.
After trying to get up this steep icy hill with two risky failed attempts, I decided to cut my losses and head back to Vancouver for Christmas. I stayed at Samesun Backpackers Hostel for a few nights and made friends with a few guys from South Korea, Japan, and Germany. The other guests were drinking and making lots of noise the whole time, which didn't particularly interest me. Everything was closed on Christmas Day and my car was locked in the parking garage, so I just explored the city. The day after was another holiday of sorts referred to as Boxing Day, where everyone, after spending time with their friends and family, goes out and buys a bunch of discounted shit they don't need to impress people they don't like. I honestly couldn't care less! So I packed up my camera gear and drove up to Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge. I hiked the icy trails in the snow, took photos along the river, fell a couple times, got back up, and kept on hiking. I also flew the drone in a snowstorm for the first time. Take a look at the stunning HDR photo I was able to capture from above the bridge! I submitted this photo to NatGeoYourShot last night at the wise suggestion of a friend. If you're a dedicated photographer looking for a chance to get published in National Geographic, it would seem this is your best bet!
If you couldn't tell by now, the answer is yes, I really enjoy driving my car. Her name is Penelope Cruze and she's taken me most everywhere for the past 5 years after graduation! Over 115K miles and still going strong! That being said, I drove through North Cascades National Park in a snowstorm on my way to Seattle. Everything was closed except the roads. Curiosity got the better of me as usual and I continued rolling on my four wheels. No snow tires, no problem. Eventually, I came upon a truck plowing my path through the white snow symbolizing purity and innocence to a town called Diablo. I followed this plow for a few miles before discovering the gates were closed, so I was forced to turn back and not pass through Hell on my way to the other side. That's a relief!
I drove to Olympic National Park yesterday, roughly 2 hours from downtown Seattle, and the roads through the national forest was a mess of deep potholes filled with muddy water. Rather than give up and turn around in defeat, I saw this as a good opportunity to test my driving skills. Persistence is the key to success! I turned off the ignition at the park entrance and hiked the rest of the way; admiring the scenery, meditating, taking photos along the river, and snapping long exposures of waterfalls. Being in nature is when I'm truly happy and alive. However, there's still this empty feeling wishing that I had someone to experience all of this beauty with in life. I'm a hopeless romantic at heart. I will never stop searching for her! Oregon is calling my name! My Spidey Senses tell me she's living somewhere near Portland...
How do you know when you've found your true passion? When you'll do it for free with joy! Please consider donating to support my photographic journey!
Last but not least, here's enjoy my final cut aerial promo video from my travels around the Vancouver area over the span of two weeks!