Afghan music playing in the background, I sit here writing as a gopher sneaks by. In front of me, Afghan and Mexican ladies dance to both Afghan and latino music. A war is brewing but it hasn’t arrived yet. In fact, It’s probably the only time that innocent villagers hope the war comes. We actually hope that the guns will start shooting and the tanks will roll in at any minute.
We hope for this because this is just a training scenario; a $30,000,000 training scenario for the Canadian military in which I am a simple actor…an “extra” so to speak. There are no cameras, however, and none of us are allowed phones or any electronic devices in the field. It’s relatively top secret and will determine the suitability of whether the soldiers will go overseas or not. I first heard about the exercise back in 2011 when my wife was searching for Spanish-related jobs. Since these training scenarios are to train the military for overseas operations, the villagers cannot speak English. This is why they try to recruit people with a second language. That’s also why I am just an “extra”, adding “population” to the various villages set up across a vast amount of land near Wainwright, Alberta. I only speak English and therefore, I cannot speak to the soldiers.
[Read more…] about How To Become An Interesting Person
A few weeks ago, we got invited to Phoenix to meet up with a public relations company that manages various brands. We were excited to learn more about the company we had been working with and discuss various ideas for marketing in the age of video and social media. We had also never been to Phoenix and we’re excited to see the city that so many people visit each and every year.
However, Phoenix itself wasn’t a dream trip for us. Sure, we were excited to meet the people we had previously only knew through email and yes, Phoenix is a pretty cool city, but it wasn’t a trip we would have made if not for the meeting we had been invited to.
But, whenever we do anything, I always try to maximize the experience and turn it into something amazing. In this case, we didn’t have a lot of time because we had to come back and shoot some winter videos for our Must Do Canada YouTube channel. We were also on our way home from both Cuba and Mexico and we’re kind of excited to return home for a change. Despite the lack of time, we still had four additional nights we could make use of, so I began looking at the map. Google Maps in this case.
The first iconic park that came to mind was the Grand Canyon. Karla and I had visited the Grand Canyon many years ago during the summer but we had never seen it in the winter. As a photographer, being able to see the Grand Canyon surrounded by snow seemed like a magical experience. Located just five hours north of Phoenix, the Grand Canyon became our main point of interest. I then continued looking at areas around it and remembered a place called Antelope Canyon, which just so happened to be two hours from the east side of the Grand Canyon. Antelope Canyon is another incredible work of mother nature that I’ve been wanting to visit ever since I saw a photo in a Las Vegas art gallery. Check, Antelope Canyon added to the list. Then, all this red rock scenery got me thinking about another place called Monument Valley. This is another area I’ve always wanted to visit and its only 2-hours from Antelope Canyon! Check again!
Our trip was planned. After three days in Phoenix, we would travel to the Grand Canyon for one night, Page for one night (Antelope Canyon), and Monument Valley for a night, before returning to Phoenix for one last night before flying back to Canada. I especially love road trips, so we rented a small car (just $25 per day, including all taxes), booked our accommodation, and prepared for what we knew would be an incredible adventure. [Read more…] about Exotic Arizona & Turning Any Trip Into a Lifelong Memory
Writing this from Mexico City as we bring in 2018 with my wife’s side of the family, I’ve found writing this article to be quite difficult. Maybe I’m just tired. Maybe it’s because I don’t like planning all that much or maybe it’s because I always struggle with what to write. At the same time, it can be quite satisfying to think of the last 365 days and what’s been accomplished. It’s also a good idea to think of the next 365 days and the biggest goals I’d like to accomplish.
As many of you know, I also have a massive 100-item list that I’ve compiled, with goals I’d like to accomplish over the next 10 years (9 years from now). I completed my first 100-goal list in 10 years (still need to write about that) and thought I’d continue with the spirit of it all. However, we change along the way and some goals that might have seemed important last year might not be so important this year. So, I like to look it over at least once per year and erase any goals that no longer feel all that special. To be honest, it can also be hard to come up with 100 items. It used to be easy but as I complete some items, I’m finding 100 is almost too much. At the same time, if a list of 100 things helps inspire me to accomplish 80 really cool things, then it’s still a massive win in my books. Who cares about the other 20 right? [Read more…] about Bringing in the New Year and Reflecting on the Last 365 Days
It’s interesting how life works at times. Last year I was miserable. With the local economy crumbling all around me, I felt like I was drowning. I couldn’t find a job, my condo dropped in value by almost 35%, I got hit with a special assessment of $45,000, and had to rent out my apartment at a loss of $500 per month. Life really sucked. While staying hopeful was difficult, I kept telling myself to keep thinking big. After all, I get most of my inspiration from living limitless.
Around Christmas time, I started thinking of what I could do in 2017. With a 9% unemployment rate affecting my city, the chances of getting a decent job were pretty slim. As far as I could tell, this wasn’t going to improve for quite some time. So, I began thinking of other cool things I could do. As a travel writer and photographer who’s always wanted to create a travel show, I began thinking of big ideas. Then, one felt like a home run. 2017 just so happened to be the year of Canada’s 150th birthday. The country was celebrating it in a big way. I have a Canadian travel blog called Must Do Canada. What would be a cool thing to do to celebrate Canada’s big birthday?
Then it hit me. A 150-day road trip. But not just any road trip. A multimedia road trip where we feature iconic attractions, local delights and interviews with everyday Canadians about what they feel makes Canada the great country that it is. This is actually something that I have been asking myself for the last few years. As someone who has spent many years backpacking around the globe, I’ve come to realize that Canada has a pretty darn good reputation everywhere I went. Whether I was talking with someone in Asia or someone in Europe, most people look up to Canada for one reason or another. Some admired our vast nature and low population while others admired our kindness and openness. Some people dreamed of exploring Canada as a tourist while others dreamed of immigrating here and beginning a new life. Regardless of the reasons, it was obvious that Canada had done something right. [Read more…] about Making Dreams Happen, 150 Days At A Time
Alas, I am 32, and like most birthdays, I feel the same. However, I have noticed myself feeling more anxious over the last couple of years. It took me some time to figure it out but eventually I realized what the problem is. As a pretty ambitious person, I felt perfect in my early 20’s. After all, failures and set-backs didn’t mean much. I had loads of time left. Now they do mean something, at least to me. One failure feels like 100.
So, in learning to deal with that and to celebrate 32 years of learning about life, I thought I’d write out a list of 32 things I’ve “almost learned” over the last 32 years. I say “almost learned” because I certainly haven’t mastered all of them. I have simply learned them and will continuously try to implement and improve on them throughout life. Isn’t that what it’s all about?
I hope this list inspires you in some way. Feel free to share more tips that you’ve learned in the comment section below!
32 Tips from 32 Years
In no particular order… [Read more…] about 32 Tips I’ve Almost Learned from 32 Years