Family Day Somewhere in the Mountains Far Away

We all left home years ago. Some with a backpack on their shoulders aboard a bus or a plane or in a car packed with all the belongings a teenager could have. We were young and innocent. We were hungry for wild adventures and unique experiences. We were searching for flexibility and freedom. We left a home, we left a family, we left all we knew to enter a journey into the unknown.

Years went by and stories we made. Experiences we created with friends that tagged all along. We built a family, far away from home. This is home now. And we are family.

Today is Family Day in British Columbia. The town is grey and the clouds are low. It doesn’t really matter how is the weather outside, as long as we are all together. After a warm breakfast and fresh mimosas, we pack our backpacks with some refreshments and hit the slopes. 

As we slowly ascend on the chairlift, we find ourselves in the middle of a cold mist. We can barely see the chair in front of us. We are lost in the sky, floating across the frosty veil.

It is when we reach an elevation of approximately 1,800m that we exit the last layer of clouds and reach the blue sky. We leave behind a sea of clouds where only mountain peaks are visible to our eyes. The sky is blue, the sun is bright. 

We go further up and hit the glacier where we settle up our afternoon camp on a dune of snow. We pop the bubbles, crack a cold one and cheer to a good life. The scenery is absolutely stunning. I look at my friends, I admire the mountains. There is no where else I’d rather be.

Whether your family is affiliated by blood or simply affinities, they are the people that shaped you and rode along with you. They accept you for who you are, they never judge. Treat them with respect and care. Protect the relationships. Give and forgive. Receive and remember. They are the people that will always be there for you.

Wrap Up 2012

Comes the end of 2012 and looking back at the days that became weeks, weeks that became months, months that made the year.

As time flies like in the blink of an eye, my goal is to always keep the calendar full and accomplished so each year is a unique chapter with its own flavor, its own story.

It is time to rememorate the highlights of the year passed and cheer one more time for a great life!

Dear 2012:

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to live, work and play in the Cayman Islands.

Thank you for challenging me in obtaining my Advanced Open Water Certificate and the change to dive every mornings.

Thank you for making me taste the life of the rich and famous drinking Moët & Chandon aboard luxurious yachts, every Sunday Fundays.

Thank you for the great occasion to light up a cigar in Cuba and sipped many Mojitos while meeting up with my mother for a weekend in Old Havana.

Thank you for this entertaining road trip in Puerto Rico, from East to West Coast, from historic San Juan to surf town of Rincon, to magnificent inland caves and waterfalls.

Thank you for this nice visit at a friend’s in St-Thomas and all this pampering at the Marriott.

Thank you for the amusing exploration of the island of St-John aboard our roofless Jeep.

Thank you for this return home to Whistler and all those weekend on the lake and wild camping.


Thank you for this latin adventure through Central America, starting in Belize diving the Great Blue Hole with a dozen Black Tip sharks.

Thank you for giving me the chance to explore the Maya temples of Tikal in Guatemala.

Thank you for making me fall in love with El Salvador: it’s sun, it’s surf, it’s sea. I might go back and never come back 😉

Thank you for this attempt to surf in the waves of Nicaragua‘s Pacific Coast.

Thank you for this unique home that I love returning to. My 7th heaven, my soft pillow, my paradise in a snowglobe.

What did I learn through this passed year?

Well, I learnt that even if you jump feet first into the new and the unknown, even if you are scared and unsure, at the end you’ll be doing just fine. By simply keeping your head up high with a positive attitude and an enthusiastic approach, you can achieve anything! Take risks, be scared, get out of your comfort zone and go explore the globe! It’s a brilliant and colorful world out there!

I learnt that sometimes to need to let go, sometimes you need to hold on. It’s finding what’s best for you. Never give up on your dreams. Never give up on yourself.  You can do anything. The only thing stopping you is yourself.

I learnt the importance of being surrounded by people that makes you happy, keeps you positive, inspire you. People that are mentally and physically active. People that smile everyday.

Wherever you are, it doesn’t matter what you do. But it is how you do it. Make a list, and make sure you check it. Restore your dreams, plan your projects and accomplish your goals, one at a time. It doesn’t matter how much you do, but as long as you do it. Remember that the only things that you regret are the risks you didn’t take. You only have one life. And it is yours to achieve.

So I thank you 2012 for all the discoveries of places, for the memorable adventures and for the encounters of amazing and inspiring people.

Farewell 2012 and welcome 2013!

Have a great year fellow footlooses!

 

Time to Be Jolly

 

It is that time of the year again to put our hideous winter sweaters on and raise our sparkling glass to cheer to love, joy and peace at last. Christmas is just around the corner and I am so excited as it is my favorite time of the year. The mountains are thick and white, the air is cold and crisp, the houses are warm and cozy. The tree is fully decorated and illuminated, presents are already stacked up underneath it and the smell of spices, oranges and chocolate just flow through the air.

Coffee Bailey’s, Powder Days, Apres Ski, Snowmobiles

Holidays can run forever, or until you are out of your 26oz bottle of Bailey’s to put in your coffee in the morning. It is a time to get together and be jolly. Grab a cup of coffee, spike it with some love, put on your gears and reach the mountains. Along with your best pals, ride all day on the most untouched terrain. Powder days are usually abundant at this time and fresh runs are always found. Apres ski at one of the best patios in town, perhaps order a Caesar and munch on some delicious nachos. Come back home and soak in a hot tub for the lucky ones, or if you have pooches like I do, take a walk through the park or take your ross-country skis for a ride or even your snowshoes. I usually make sure I have a batch of home made mulled wine or spiced rum apple cider ready to reheat and put in a thermos. If it is your day off perhaps you want to bring the snowmobiles to one of the cabins in the backcountry and spend the night away in the mountains. Snack on cheese fondue and toast the bread on the wood oven. You can hear the snow melt on the roof as the hut gets warmer. If the lake is ready to go (and make sure it is), put on a pair of skates and go for a spin. Fireworks are also always fun to bring to the cabin.

Christmas Eve Dinner: A Classic Whistler Family Feast

As a tradition that runs in most of our families back home, we decide to keep it going and cook a massive feast ready for midnight on Christmas Eve. Cooking homemade food, delicious and savory recipes for 20. As much work as it seems, I just simply love it! While in the kitchen, mixing flavors and ingredients, sipping on wine and Christmas cocktails with a girlfriend, the boys play cards and video games

and the dogs are passed out on the living room carpet. Living in Whistler make us all far away from our families every Christmas. We all left 5,10, 15 years ago. This is our family now. We are family. And moments like this are simply unique and priceless.

After devouring a gourmet feast, it is time to open the presents that are waiting impatiently under the tree.Like big kids we dig in our treats, proud and happy of showing our new toys and accessories. The rigodons paired with the wines and cocktails invite us to sing and dance as the night flies to early hours of the morning.

The ladies
The gentlemen 

We eat, we drink, we dance, we celebrate. We laugh, we cry, we love. What a beautiful night. What a beautiful scene. What a beautiful family I have.

From East to West Coast, from islands to mountains, from big cities to far countries, from white sand beaches to powdered hills, I wish you all Happy Holidays and I hope you all get what you need. As for me, I surely did. And it wasn’t a watch nor a car, neither a raise at work or an envelop filled with dollars, but it was the friends and love and the genuine spirit of Christmas.

 

Island Life: A Year in the Making

I got here on a 4th of July. Like many islanders I came here to search for a new light, try to brighten up on some points in my life, try to escape the mold; try to create life experiences; try to build a new chapter of my own.

This whole experience was never planned. It came up randomly as an opportunity. Call it luck or not, it came perfectly in a good time in my life, where my heart was looking for recovery and my soul was searching to hold on to something new.

I never really put any thought before into the Caribbean. I mean it is touristy, easy to travel to, very modern and built with big hotels and amenities. All the opposite of what I am looking for when I travel. But this time was not about backpacking. It was about leaving home, on my own, at an older age and moving into the unknown. I was there to work and step away from my reality to get a better understanding of it. I had no expectations.  Just a work permit, a one-way plane ticket and an open heart and soul.

With hesitation at first, I took courage by the horns and entered in a whole new adventure. The first couple of months were cruel. I missed friends and my puppies growing up. I missed the family that I built in the past 9 years. I missed the mountains, the lifestyle, the fresh air of my homey Canadian West Coast. I missed home. But there were reasons why I was here. I needed to put aside loneliness and the feeling of longing for home and start living this island experience. After 2 months residing in an old hotel room, I found a cozy condo on the beach. And when my co-worker Jo from Whistler came down on the same opportunity, I felt that a part of me found home. Now, it was time to start that island life!

14 months later I am sitting on my balcony drinking my latte overlooking the Caribbean Sea and I remember those days that went by. I remember day one when the taxi dropped me at destination and the humidity attacked my hair permanently; I remember when I first dipped my toes in the ocean and marked (literally) the Caribbean as my new territory. I remember my first kiss with a stingray, my first dive in the clear waters of the Antilles, the first time I went wakeboarding under the sunset light and trying so hard not to fall and be a prey to sharks. I remember jetskiing the angry sea and holding on to my dear life. I remember the crazy parties, theover consumption of Jager and the nights that once were to forget now became nights to remember. I remember the friends I met, the ones that left, the ones that stayed, the ones that inspired me in future projects.

I remember the pride I had to welcome my mother and my friends from home in my paradise. I remember leaving home with no shoes and going for lunch to restaurants on the beach. I remember walking home from work while the sun sets over the horizon. I remember going for a snorkel right in my front yard. I remember meeting up with my mother in Cuba for a weekend. I remember grabbing my mask and fins and going diving in the morning and clocking in at work with a massive mask mark on my forehead. I remember cheering my roommate on the beach between 2 bottles of Riesling after deciding to purchase a Jeep (with 2 months left to our journey). I remember the with great DJ’s, the boat parties, the famous Sunday Fundays. Like a captain stirring his vessel, I drove my island life through memorable experiences, a bottle at hand (eh, no judgements, I live on an island)!


It surely has been a legendary rollercoaster and a hell of good time! No regrets, only great memories that will last.

Cayman Islands, I raise my glass to you today: cheers to you and thanks for the good ride! Ya Man!