South American Vagabonding

The best way to tell how nice your hostel is in Peru is to take a quick look at the bathrooms. Does the toilet flush? If yes, then you probably won’t get too sick just from staying there. Is there a toilet seat? If there is, then it’s a pretty swanky place. Is there toilet paper? If there is, then you’re at a literal palace, you fucking princess. Don’t even bother checking the hot water in the shower. The answer is either “no” or “sometimes”. It’s best not to know until you have your towel in-hand, or you’ll never convince yourself to take a shower.Read More »

Juliaca, Puno y Muy Mala Suerte

When my flight landed in Juliaca, Peru at 8am, I was more than a little bit of a wreck. I had slept no more than 10 hours in 3 days, I’d forgotten my altitude sickness medication in my checked bag, and I was still reeling from being kidnapped by a supposed taxi driver, taken to an ATM in a bad part of Lima, and forced to withdraw the maximum allowed amount. Yup… I fell for a fake taxi scam. I lost 600 soles, but I got a tour of Lima’s ghetto and a valuable lesson for that price. I’m an idiot, but I think we already knew that. Read More »

The Great Escape (Not About Peru)

I’m not gonna lie… I celebrated the conclusion of my 6 weeks on the farm by drinking whiskey on a street corner in Ashland. It was a great evening, but the only details I’ll be sharing publicly are that there were 2 tiny fluff ball akita puppies present, I dyed some random guy’s hair red (a classic drunk Allie move), and I met up with my friend Lang, who had driven up from San Fransisco to road trip back with me. Read More »

Longterm (a poem)

I’m not sure I’ve been anywhere I’m destined to remain.
I know I like highways, riding around in cars, windows
down, hair blowing, I can’t help but fall in love at every turn.
Though I’m not sure I’ve met anyone I will know a year from now.

I know whales breaking from broken ocean, salt marsh stretching on for miles, swells
of land disappearing into distance, green and gold, fields of sunflowers in saskatchewan,
trees like old gods and trees like the dead, trees I’ve cried for, remembering.
Sometimes there’s so much sand that I panic, recurring nightmares of counting to infinity,
cities— dark, even in the hot sun, each one the same as the last, and small towns
I remember each detail, though their names have packed up and left.

I must be an infinite power source, bright flash of light, connecting to others in fleeting
trust and kept promises— love, maybe. Paths crossing, undetectable to stationary eyes.
I miss the taste of “I love you” in my mouth. I miss the feeling of it against my lips, but how can I find my people when we all move so fast, passing like semis in the night?

Same experience, so many places.
What is it about somewhere that can make you return?

I have impossible amounts of love to fit in one backpack. I show up laden, bursting
in through doors left cracked ajar— “Will you take some for me?” In pieces, a mess
on the clearance rack, deteriorating in half lives that last a millennia. I can’t seem to get rid
of all this shit, all this red hot feeling, all these stories without endings. But somebody needs
to get these things where they’re going, and I don’t see anyone else walking this highway.

Wherever I am, I miss everywhere (everyone) else.

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This Way

After a big fiasco at customs that I’d better not discuss in detail just in case the government really is watching, I made it on the ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles. I showed up at the terminal at 9am, planning to get on the 10:30 ferry, but they CBP agents so many questions for me that I missed the first boat and didn’t make it to the United States until about 5pm.

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Goodbye BC: A Victory Lap

At some point early in the 6 weeks between my last exam and the day I left Canada, I said to a friend, “I love how I’m treating the fact that I have to get to Oregon soon as no big deal at all.”

You know, just playing the character: Cool, calm, collected solo female hitch hiker. Not afraid of anything. I play it so well sometimes that I believe it, but there was something about saying those words that day that flipped a switch.

“Oh shit,” I thought, “I have to say goodbye to everyone I know for a long time and hitch hike to southern Oregon in a few weeks.”

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And so, my time for me turned (blissfully) into time for others. I went on a mad-dash around southern BC, clocking about 3000km, clawing after connection, having fun with far flung friends and family, but all with the shadow of how I wasn’t going to see them again for a long time hanging over us. Read More »

Summer (supposed to be) in Vancouver

This summer turned out to be a lot of me saying, “I know I’m taking full time condensed courses, but yeah, I think I have time to fit that in.” I found time to take on a bunch of extra work, go to a festival, take several day-trips up the Sea to Sky, and I even squeezed in two weeks of backpacking into the one week I had off between classes. But no, I did not have time to blog. So now I’m faced with the gargantuan task of summing up the 3 months since  my last post into something with few enough words that my brain– exhausted by the fact that I just finished a university degree (what?)– can handle concentrating on long enough to write.

So, of course there was the studying, the working, and the angst…

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Ugh… Riding around in boats and talking about my favourite sport for money is the worst

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Cardboard Signs & Fresh Lines: One Hell of a Year

It’s June 1st and I have never been so stoked to celebrate an anniversary. Happy one year to my favourite duo of all time— Allie + Adventure!

June 1st, 2015 is the day that Adrian and I left our backyard home at The Palace for the United States of America, only to be escorted back to Canada by an entourage of six border guards. “You can’t tell a border guard that you quit your job and gave up your home to go travelling” was just the first of many lessons learned the hard way.

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A Story That Includes Surfing and Hippies

So what I have been doing for the past month is this: More, but mostly less living in Victoria and spending every spare day between sporadic Victoria-based commitments backpacking the island. One day, I was sitting around my mother’s house being generally depressed, when I decided that I should probably learn how to surf. Why? Because sometimes you just need to throw something new into your life, the weather had been pretty good, and I own a wetsuit that I don’t use enough.

My trip to Bamfield was only ever meant to be a stop on the way to Ucluelet, where I’d rent a giant beginner surf board and attempt to hitch hike with it to Long Beach. I was hoping to do some splashing around in the wash, get hit in the face a bunch, and maybe even catch a few waves. However, I got picked up at a gas station in Port Alberni and was invited to drink beer around a campfire by a nice guy called Uncle Dave. What can I say? I’m easily distracted.

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Looks cold

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Journey to the Edge of the World (Alternate Title: I Love Bamfield)

After hitching a 2 hour ride down the logging road out of Port Alberni— full of potholes, narrow bridges, and enormous trucks— I arrived in Bamfield East. I had no good reason to go there, other than how I didn’t know a single thing about the place. I had even failed to realize that the road I would be taking wasn’t paved. All I knew was that it was there, at the end of the road, and that I wanted to be at the edge of the world. Also, there was only a 40% possibility of the precipitation, compared to the 70% in Ucluelet. That’s mostly why I went there.

I stepped out of the car under gloomy grey skies and wandered down to a park. The streets were empty, lined with boarded up buildings and boat trailers, and the park was not exactly worth the trip. It came as a shock when I ran into a woman getting the campground ready for summer.

“You can’t just come all this way and not see Bamfield West,” she said, as she poured gas into a generator. Bamfield West, she explained, was definitely the cooler half of town, but it was on a peninsula with no over-land access. The water taxi was 5 bucks, and once I was there, I could apparently walk wherever I wanted to go. She handed me a map and told me to go to the general store and ask them to call the guy who owned the boat for me.

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