The Tropical Canadian

an oxymoronic life of adventure



The quicksand of memory

I’ve just returned from a wonderful week reconnecting to the region I live in. For much of the world the island I call home is a dream destination – rainforest, wide Pacific beaches, quaint communities that have adjusted well to changing economies, wild animals that have disappeared from much of the world. I take it for granted, and this trip was a true gift in reconnecting to how rich life is right here.

And yet … the urge grows every day. The little voices reminding me there is more to life than this piece of granite. The pull to warmer sun, to foreign accents, to learning about myself and the world every time I open the door.

Continue reading “The quicksand of memory”


Live free, but don’t be a jerk about it

Since getting home everyday – without hyperbole –  I’ve thought about how to redesign my life so that I can work from anywhere and balance making an income with making a difference. I’ve read several books on the subject, ever more blog posts and a growing number of tweets. While it’s nice that so many people seem to be building a tipping point of freedom from the expected life path, my concern about the conversation is building.

Continue reading “Live free, but don’t be a jerk about it”

Tempus fugit, part 2

I’ve been home for six months today. At last I can say home without using quotation marks, as Victoria once again feels like home – not like forever or an anchor, but as a friendly and knowing place to rest and reset. I still miss Jamaica. I miss the sea; I miss the people; I miss the experience of being a contribution through my daily activities. And, I miss who I was there – active socially and physically, healthy, nourished, free – I don’t know why those things feel so much less accessible here. Either way, the missing has less ache and more sweetness in it these days.

Continue reading “Tempus fugit, part 2”

Dream a little dream of me

imageMy dreams are the colour of the waters off Hellshire.
Echoes of soca bounce down the street to sing me a lullaby.
Scents of coconut & sweetwood smoke drift towards me as I drift towards sleep.
The memory of your warm skin is blanket enough.
Even at this cold distance.

Because of Jamaica

Because of Jamaica. Because of the people and the heat and the noise and the colour. Because of warm water, sunny skies, spicy fish, caramel rum. Because of 160 days. Because of encouragement and support from behind and beside. Because of lessons learned in tears and laughter. Because of good work and deep leisure. Because of Ocho Rios and Port Antonio, Runaway Bay and Falmouth, Montego Bay and Negril, and escaping to Barbados. But first and last because of Kingston …

Continue reading “Because of Jamaica”

Gratitude, and the long farewell

One of the inherent flaws of this sort of long-ish term but not permanent experience is that the end date is always a reality. For the first three months of my time in Jamaica I marked the time past – one week, a fortnight, the first month … . Since December 10, the half-way mark, I’ve been – perhaps less publicly – counting down the time until I leave. At first it was theoretical as I considered ways to stay. One morning I woke up and knew I had to go home. I’ve been less certain ever since.

Continue reading “Gratitude, and the long farewell”

It’s never too late

For what it’s worth … it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing.

We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.

Continue reading “It’s never too late”

My walk on the moon

A Jamaican friend asked me the other day something about how my dream of living in Jamaica was going. I replied that the dream was never specifically to live in Jamaica. The logical follow-up question was “well then, what was the dream?”

Simply, the dream was to make a difference in the wild wide world and to have a grand adventure doing it.

This is my mission. This is my walk on the moon.


This is more of an aside than an actual post as I was surprised to discover that I haven’t shared this video already. I thought I had posted it before I left home, but I was a little … umm … preoccupied. Great Big Sea are my almost constant companions here. For three guys from the opposite side of Canada they always seem to capture my thoughts and feelings, take me home, and make the exotic familiar.

The island of tortuous delight

When good is near you, when you have life in yourself, it is not by any known or accustomed way; you shall not discern the foot-prints of any other; you shall not see the face of man; you shall not hear any name;—— the way, the thought, the good, shall be wholly strange and new. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Continue reading “The island of tortuous delight”

Blog at

Up ↑