As unbelievable as it sounds even to me, this is my first official blog post since I left Japan more than a year ago. And I feel delighted about this prospect.
Writing a blog takes a lot of time and dedication _needless to mention the unbearable translating part_ and I guess that being Here and Now has become so much of a priority in my life that I cannot really afford to write as much as I used to anymore, even though I have kept on writing my journals in order to finalize my books in a not so distant future, maybe as I intend to head back to Mexico at the end of the year and stay there until I eventually feel like resuming my long journey around the world overland and overseas.
Of course, I have thought so many times of writing about last year’s extraordinary adventures between the far North and Central America but I was always caught too overwhelmingly into the present moment in a way that has prevented me from communicating properly with the “outside world”. Of course, I will definitely take the necessary time to go back to that at some stage through the constant intent to share my surreal stories with you so that you can understand the bigger picture of my seemingly permanent thirst of sucking all possible feelings out of my existence, the bigger picture that everything is utterly possible. But it is not time yet. For now, it is important for me to share whatever I can with you according to the very little amount of time and access to technology I have as I keep on wanderlusting in the Wild.
When I left Mexico City and arrived in Vancouver, Canada, on May 19th, I did not have the foggiest idea about what was going to overall happen, and I just knew that I was just completely broke, and that I was to pick and sell mushrooms somewhere in the isolated North West of the country, which I had already explored quite substantially last year.
But I was meant to explore the huge, untouched area in a very different way this time, and my quest for mushrooms has taken me far beyond what I had ever imagined. The mushroom quest’s flow has led me all the way through BC and to the Yukon, where I stayed in the most remarkable, uncommon places. I have been through my longest period of consecutive camping nights so far _still ongoing_ after having pitched my tent for nearly 2 months in a row as I write these lines, just briefly going to “civilization” about once a week in order to resupply for food, or to the mesmerizing Liard River hot springs 140 km further South in order to refresh our bodies, minds and souls, before going back to “our” forest. In fact, I have not missed civilization at all as usual and I did feel like home a lot in the bush.
Well, overall, “civilization” is another of these very relative manmade concepts anyway. I sadly guess that a majority of inhabitants of this beautiful planet do consider civilization as being something connected with fancy cars, a lot of concrete and noisy, polluted streets around and a smartphone and getting stuck on it all day long, etc.
But why would not it be related to just being aware of what we are doing and, overall, about being Present? Why being “civilized” would not be the idea that one knows how to feel and love instead of speaking nonsense, how to commune with nature and learning how to accept who we are, without having the urge to be with people or like other people and fear to be alone, how to respect Mother Earth and to understand the magic of the cosmos through quantum physics or meaningful interconnectedness, how to enjoy each very moment to the fullest through simple things such as cooking, eating or sharing with people through the concept of Oneness, or how to help each other unconditionally without expecting anything in return.
During two months, I slept in my tent and went from the burnt forest, my camp that I set with logs and tarps and Buddhist flags to those of awesome people met along the dirt road that takes one to the mushroom buyers or else into the ultimate wilderness quest.
I started the journey with Andrew who I had first met in Budapest, Hungary, when I was hitchhiking and travelling across Europe without money nearly 4 years ago, on my way to where I am here and now, and then we met again in a sustainable community last year in Nelson, British Colombia. The magic of interconnectedness and meaningful synchronicities has had me meet a bunch of individuals all so different from one another at the mushroom camp, yet all fascinating in their respective ways. Despite having very different Paths, they are all, including myself, striving for freedom and independence in the same direction of the universal consciousness, which is why we all understand each other in the forest since we have made the same tremendous sacrifices to get to this very stage of our lives.
I finally left Barney Lake camp and the Yukon early July, after spending exactly 1 month in a burnt forest in order to pick morels and to supposedly get money in exchange of the hard labour. But it was all about the experience as usual for selling fresh morels for 7 dollars a pound after hiking in terrible conditions every single day means that one to pick a lot of mushrooms in order to save a little money. I have heard stories of inexperienced pickers who made 10,000 dollars through the season last year just by driving along the highway, but every fire is different and Barney Lake fire is a professional one with very little access to it and actually a very low production of mushrooms as well. And after all, it is not every day that one would tell a friend: “Oh, let’s go and hike in a burnt forest today!”
That is also why the amount of new knowledge about how nature evolves and recycles itself, which has poured in my brain in the meantime by roaming in such an atypical environment, is priceless.
In the end, I picked nearly 80 kg of morels in total during the month spent in the Yukon _more mushrooms than in my entire life until then_ and it was barely enough to pay my expenses in the meantime. But well, it was exactly the same for almost everyone, including those who had to sell everything in order to be able to go to wherever home was.
So, I am now completely broke again as usual but I always take it as something very positive somehow; First of all, I am used to it and this is when the magic of the Universe happens, and secondly, it also means that I have done everything until now for free.
In fact, meanwhile, I swiftly realized that picking morels cannot even be considered as a job for it would be a complete rip-off, and I often thought that I was getting paid to hike in the middle of nowhere in some of the most stunning and remote forests in the world. Then, money becomes quickly irrelevant and it is hard not to consider picking mushrooms as a privilege…at least for those who have chosen to embrace a very different way of life far from the erroneous conventions of the established institutions, far from the indecency of this so-called civilization that I have left behind for good.
It was a very physically harsh experience indeed, after which my body looked like a battlefield, and also a mentally exhausting one after hiking through marshes and windfalls almost every day. It has probably been more than a couple of hundreds kilometres and hours in total lingered in the intrinsic beauty of the Yukon in the end.
It is not about the distance, it is all about the concept of clock time that does not exist at all out there. I have hiked thousands of kilometres in dozens of countries, but it was on a trail _at least most of the time if not on melting river ice caps at springs or lost in the snow and fog, following yak footprints for I could not see more than five metres away for hours_ and a burnt forest is a place where one has to create and endure one’s own Path where most probably nobody has ever set foot before.
This is all about travelling and living off the beaten tracks; even the concept of working becomes completely part of the concept, and the entire mushroom picking experience has taken me to the point of being more immersed in the wild, far from the limiting conventions of normality, yet no longer walking on trails and sculpting them through the unknown for myself, which is what my life has eventually become over years of roaming around the world.
No electricity, no technology _but GPS, compass, topographic maps and music devices_, no western style toilet, no shower _had my first shower one week ago after five weeks dipping in lakes, rivers and hot springs_, no chemtrails of planes in the sky, no concrete, no pollution, no darkness of the heavens, no time, no phone, no TV, but with a substantial amount of bonfires, gorgeous, eternal sunsets and lit up nights, bears and bisons and porcupines and beavers and trouts and eagles, berry bushes and fireweed blossoming, survival skills and creative cooking around, with our hands that used to be as black as the rest of our bodies from the ash everywhere. The most simple things are always the most inspiring ones. Yet, distraction is okay as long as we are aware of it and willing to do something about it.
I did the road trip from the Yukon back to British Colombia with my Austrian friend Peter _met in the forest at Bobtail Lake_ through the magnificent Highway 37, all the way to Kitwanga in North West BC. Then, Peter made his way to Vancouver in order to head back to Europe and I hit the road toward Prince Rupert and the remote Haida Gwaii _Queen Charlotte Islands_ to the far West, with my German friend Woolgang and his lovely dog Yuki _”snow” in Japanese_ who I also randomly met in the Yukon burn before heading off and who offered me to come along with him.
The Universe has its own ways to bring the answers when it is time, and the new moon had brought a new very interesting short term cycle into my existence. All in all, I have been on the Canadian roads for about 3,800 km so far, which already more than last year’s hitchhiking trip, and the intense, varied emotional cycles experienced in the meantime have already been numerous.
I have been lingering on Haida Gwaii for more than a month already. Haida Gwaii literally means “the land of the Haida people”, and I feel proud to have been welcomed and accepted as part of the local community, sadly one of the last ones in the world where the natives rule a land in a Western established government.
Mother Nature is truly stunning and sovereign here and It reminds me very much of the virgin West coast of Washington State, which I hitchhiked last year on my way to San Francisco and Mexico, with one of the densest rainforest and wildest coastline in the world. I have already hiked and camped a lot between the Lord of the Rings like bewitching forests and the long, deserted stretches of sand and stones of the North Pacific shore with its innumerable geese and swans above and multicoloured agates and opals below.
It completely makes sense to be in Haida Gwaii in this cycle of personal evolution as this ancient place is populated by free spirited folks that delve in what could be compared to Chacahua’s “no pasa nada” atmosphere in Mexico. Yet, nothing can really replace and compare to the Mexican Pacific coast and the vibe of living barefoot and topless all year long. Yet, my spiritual Journey continues and I am eager to embrace each and every new experience coming my way for what is meant to be.
There is very little tourism on the islands and I had already perceived and embraced the blissful peacefulness of my surroundings after a mere couple of days camping and strolling on the empty beaches carved by the roughness of the open North Pacific due to the moodiness of its climatic patterns. I am glad I have been able to gaze at the stars again as albeit the nights were not utterly dark when I arrived, they are by now, and Mars and Saturn fill up the firmament with their shiny, gemlike splendour again, as I have been doing some carpentry jobs in exchange of services in order to survive, considerably camping on the beach, being inexorably mesmerized by the peak cycle of the Perseids _meteor shower_ as well as the second aurora borealis I could enjoy on this trip in front of a old ship wreck, which reminds us that the North Pacific Ocean is both unforgettable and unforgiving.
Once again, electricity and technology have been replaced by the gracefulness of bald eagles gliding around and the slow pace of the local life, which is in harmony with the tides and the open ocean that brings its culinary delights to the local wanderers. I really like the idea that it is almost a necessity to be fully sustainable to live on the islands. It makes a lot of sense when thinking that such a context inevitably involves a natural form of exchange of services and help among the locals.
I am broke but happy, and feel complete throughout my new North American adventures that have been lasting for nearly 3 months already. In a quite similar way to last year’s trip from Alaska to San Francisco, I have been immersed in the wild most of the time _or even more_ and I have even come to the point of comparing the present quest to an Inception stage 3’s experiment _sorry for those who have not seen the movie_;
Stage 1: Going to tiny, isolated towns like most of them are in Northern BC or the Yukon is already a surreal experience in itself.
Stage 2: From there, spending so much time on exploring burnt forests in order to pick mushrooms is so random and intense that it is worth a book on its own.
Stage 3: This is incarnated by the five day boat trip up the Kechika River where I camped with 3 friends in the middle of nowhere, first with a handful of other pickers along the river then with absolutely no living soul in a 40km radius but the local wildlife in the last few days of the trip.
I went back to stage 1 a couple of days since I left the Yukon, am now back to stage 2 as I reached Haida Gwaii and I have shifted many times again to stage 3 here as I have been wandering somewhere between mainland Canada and Japan in the middle of the ocean, somewhere at the edge of the world…which is also the name of the local music festival where I volunteered as a security staff recently, and where I met another crew of wonderful citizens of the world.
Will it ever be a stage 4 or more, will I ever make it back alive, I do not know and will leave it to the Universe for now.
I keep going on my path of embracing the off the beaten track life of a vagabond, and I feel truly blessed in my quest through the wondrous places and people I have encountered along the way. I also feel sorry that my way of travelling, which has turned into my way of living over the last couple of years, is actually so antagonist to the prospect of being more connected to the internet and sharing writings and photos with the outside world. I do share and care in a very different way; I teach and learn at all times on my way, whether it is locally at the physical level or through the Universe at the astral one. I know that the people that truly love me never judge me and take me for what I am, and this does not prevent me from missing and loving them dearly in a permanent way.
Thank you to those who have been trying to understand what the heck I am doing and have been supporting me all the way since I left France 4 years ago. Despite the fact that I am totally immersed in the magic of the Here and Now for the time being, the idea is still to go back to Mexico at the end of the year in order to settle for a while in my beloved Chacahua and give myself a chance to finish my books before resuming my long journey and hitchhiking further South. When, with whom and how it will be, I do not know.
For now, I am in the company of my Spanish friend Alvaro, met in India 3 years ago, with whom I spent a month and substantially trekked at the time in another remote and wild place; the gorgeous Himalayas. We are meant to stay together for an indefinite amount of time and that is good enough to assume, for having a travel mate is more than welcome in my life after having roamed around the world on my own for so long, despite all the extraordinary folks I have met along the way and without whom I would not be capable of writing these few lines right here, right now.
I guess that Chris McCandless was right when he said that “Happiness is only real when shared”, even though I still believe that it is fundamental to first conceive of what is true Happiness before even trying to share it.
That is all about the magic of quitting one’s comfort zone and embracing the impermanence of the Unknown for an unlimited period of time. I am not saying that it is easy and that I feel on vacation every day, it means that the concepts of having a job and taking holidays do not even exist anymore.
I have never felt so good and this feeling seems to be exponentially limitless; I definitely recommend it to anyone who is willing to be Free.