Wednesday, September 30, 2015

How Many Showers Are Too Many?

Here is a little something to ponder (if you choose to of course) while I sit here in a pool of Central American Sweat!

Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live it's whole life believing it is stupid
 - Alberta Einstein

Today's weather brought to you buy the makers of "holy crap it's hot and muggy again today".  Right now its 8:00 pm and as you can see it is relentless. When I say 5 showers a day I am not talking about the collective total of a household. That is ME, taking up to 5 cool showers a day just to feel normal for about an hour.  On the upside there is a fierce lightning storm that brings heavy rain every night. (as the thunder rolls in the back ground on cue).  The Rain cools it down over night and sleeping is a breeze with the help of the best wall oscillating fan in the world plus the long range forecast looks so amazing!

I change my T Shirt at least twice a day and have become the master of the bathroom sink laundromat. The best part of the experience is at 6:10 pm which is peak WTF its been a brutal long hot sticky day time. It's at this glorious moment I put on long pants, socks, shoes and a work shirt and head off to train for work. "Yup Ken, you do make some genius choices in this life." I put shoes on today for the first time since early July. I forgot how to walk in them.

 For those keeping score it was about 8 months ago that I was head first into the wonder that is an Alberta winter. I was driving my rig across cracking Ice Roads, the Average temperature was - 30, there was about 7 hours of day light per day, the snow  owned my soul and the first signs of spring were buried under the hibernating bears of the Rockies. I  do believe I also said "Yup Ken, you do make some genius choices in this life."

All whining aside Leon is as I remember during the rainy season. The streets are chaotic even when not filled with torrent of water, the food its amazing, the pineapples sweet, I drink water from the tap without issue, the Toña is ice cold and .45 a Litre at the local shop plus the Volcanoes are spewing smoke and ash and compete with the Thunder for the Nightly Rumble Championships. I would not have it any other way while I am here....except somewhere in the distance I hear a gecko laughing.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

My Nicaraguan Wildlife Adventure

The Moth and the Gecko

: Oh look at the pretty light, I think I will go touch it. 'HOLY SHIT, that light is hot I better go rest on the wall and regroup. Try again in a second or two.
Gecko. Mmmmm, moth.
Ken. Hey Moth the gecko is stalking you and all you can do is fly around the light, bump your head land on the wall, regroup and do it again. The gecko knows this as well.
Gecko: Looking at me with his beady gecko eyes  "shut the fu** up Ken, I am hungry".
The moth then did his dance of joy with the light, the gecko pounced and with a full belly flipped me the bird with his gecko finger. He then scampered off to his gecko home. It was no African Lion vs. Water Buffalo struggle but the 4 inch gecko was all green, icky and really really scary.

Life in the Wilds of Nicaragua! Home for the next month or so is a 7 bedroom villa. It is owned and operated by Maria and her daughter Elbia. Between their abuse of the English language and my Forrest Gump style Spanish there is confusion but just as much laughter. Maria is well educated and appears to be in her late 50s. Elbia is 23 and carries a quiet strength that she certainly gets from Maria. Maria is the 4th generation to live in this villa so it goes without saying she has lived through the hard historical times of Leon and Nicaragua. Hopefully as we get to know each other and build some trust she may open up to me and tell me about the times in the 70s and 80s. However I am not going to push it. I think for some it is in the past and best forgotten.

The first couple of days have been fun with a few stumbles along the way. Did you really expect anything less from me? I have a set of keys and of course jammed the wrong key into my bedroom door lock to everyone's great amusement. Next came the great flood. This is the rainy season and it rain hard every day. The water accumulates in great torrents down the streets, meets at the intersections, joins the running water from the other directions and heads down to the local river, getting larger and faster along the way. It is a bit intimidating and its suggested to find a spot and jump over it. With my normal sense of "ah fu** it" I walked through what I thought was a small stream of running water. Much to the delight of one of my house mates Jersey Girl Briana. I lost one flip flop, then the other and then found myself splashing down the street after them. I rescued one, put it on and immediately lost it again. This was now a life and death struggle for footwear survival. My Havaianas depended on me!! Running, splashing, avoiding on coming traffic, dipping and laughing like a fool I rescued my flip flops from certain death. Jumped on the sidewalk, slipped them on, cursed the water gods and wandered confidently down the street. Just as I was regaining my composure Briana, who is laughing hysterically says to me. "See, you try to be cool and end up looking like an idiot". "Well that's not the first time I have had someone say that to me I retorted". I showed her!!

My first few days were filled with great street food, parades and banging drums at 8:00 am, firecrackers and Tsunami/earthquake sirens 3 times a day and night, amazing lightning and rainstorms, cold Toña, scary geckos and stifling heat. Now its time to settle in, get past this TEFL course, contact Quetzaltrekkers about some volunteer opportunities and start working.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Name Ten Things

Name ten things you wanna do before you die and then go do them.
Name ten places you really wanna be before you die and then go to them
Name ten books you wanna read before you die and then go read them
Name ten songs you wanna hear again before you die, get all of your friends together and scream them

Because right now all you have is time,
But someday that time will run out.
That's the only thing you can be absolutely certain about.

Think of all the things that are wrong with your life and then fix them
Think of all the things that you love about your life, be thankful you are blessed with them
Think of all the things that hold you back and realize that you don't need them
Think of all the mistakes you have made in your life, make sure that you never repeat them

Because right now all you have is time,
But someday that time will run out.
That's the only thing you can be absolutely certain about.

Name ten thousand reasons why you never wanna die, go and tell someone who might've forgotten
Try to list the endless reasons why it's good to be alive, and then just smile for awhile about them

Soon the sun will rise and another day will come
Soon enough the sun will set, another day will be gone
And right now all you have is time,
But someday that time will run out.
That's the only thing you can be absolutely certain about.

-- Paul Baribeau  

Friday, September 25, 2015

We Apologize For The Inconvenience.

I have flown on airlines from various countries all over the world. From efficient German Lufthansa to the small single prop Bolivia Amazon carrier Línea Aérea Amaszonas. Without a doubt the dubious distinction of having airlines that are always late or delayed belongs to the good old USA. American, Delta, US Air, United, Southwest or United it does not matter. Today it's American flight 921 to Miami. Who knows, who cares.

I honestly believe that if you stop and watch the world around you it is the most entertainment you can have without having to go to the ATM. Even the simplest routine moments have their value. My day started at 4:45 am. I had to catch the 6:00 GO Bus to Burlington and change over to the GO Train to Toronto Union. From there it was going to be the new Union Pearson Train to the Airport and finally the roller derby that is going to be Airport check in when traveling through the States.

Easy start to the day.  The dark morning smelt like Fall. I packed my rucksack into the car, drove to Timmies for some morning life blood, drove back home and woke my mother who agreed to take me to the bus station. From the look of disheveled confusion on her face at 5:00 am it was best not to tease her AT ALL about this act of courageous volunteerism! Off we went through the dark quiet and bleary streets of Niagara Falls.  I bounced along the GO bus for the hour to Burlington, grabbed my rucksack and headed for the train. It suddenly dawned on me that each time I put on my rucksack it's just a little bit heavier and harder to manage. Aging Ain't For Wimps!
The GO Train for those who do not know is a commuter train into Toronto. It is filled with routine, mobile device addition and 1000 yard stares. Guys are wearing ill fitting bad suits and unpolished shoes but they tend to carry an air of arrogance. "I work in Toronto". Well good for you! Most woman look sad, overweight and seem to be relegated to their fate. I was a GO Train commuter for 2 years which were the worst 2 work years of my life. Rush for the train to work, rush for the train home. Sit and stare out the window when your not bobbleheading to sleep out of sheer boredom.

The upgrades to Union Station are nice. It bright and there is lots of signage which is perfect for me. A guy who refuses to ask direction at public transit facilities. I jumped on the new Union Pearson Express. The price of $27.50 for the 25 minute ride has some people up in arms. Well compare it to similar services world wide and its on target. Its only at 10% capacity and masses are screaming for a price reduction. A quick hop on the airport terminal train and 3 hours later I thought all was good however I found myself at the Gates of Hell.

Welcome to Pearson International and the American Airlines for self check in kiosk. Stand in line and watch the chaos and confusion. Ok, got through that then..oh look a lineup at the AA desk to check that you used the automated check in properly. The inefficency of efficiency.
Now sire fill out and sign your little blue Customs card and wait in the lineup that snaked for 1.5 hours for American Customs and then to declare I had nothing to declare, I have not visited a farm and I am not traveling with over $10,000. A curious but questionable stare a stamp then off to the lineup to hand over the little blue card to 2 workers who looked as bored as anyone could possibly be.

With that mellow drama over....wait what is that over yonder? Its a new lineup for a checked bag scan, then a lineup for Security Clearance and carry on bag scan. I looked at the full body scan machine with a twinge of apprehension. Something was up with my shoes as the TSA woman kept bringing them back and forth under the scanner. Does an XRay machine detect smell? 2.5 hours later and feeling like I had just been anally probed and physically mauled by an angry Grizzly and I headed to the freedom of my gate. As I ate my oddly fresh sandwich from Freshii and sipped my pipping hot Seattle's Best I reflected on what had been the airport process.

Just then the soothing voice of the lady in charge of gate A12 wafted down over me like a fine mist.
"Ladies and Gentlemen may I have your attention. Flight 931 to Miami is delayed and will not depart at 1:35 (from the scheduled 12:15). "We apologize for the inconvenience". You know I think that is probably the most condescending sentence that can be tossed at anyone for any reason. Most likely because they really don't give a shit and there is nothing anyone can do. "We apologize for the inconvenience". You could just feel the lunch bag letdown and see the shoulder stoop from the crowd at A12. After running the gauntlet of  trying to get to the gate would it be so much to ask for a flight that is on time? I just wish instead they would say "Sorry suckers, the Plane is delayed and there is nothing you can do about it. It is what it is so go get a cookie and sit quietly. I can not continuously reassure you that you will make your connection. " I think I would respect that more.

Flight to Miami was painless. 3.5 hours of sleep. Wendy's spicy chicken was jammed with jalapenos and then so was my colon. I placed my order in Spanish and had a decent Spanish conversation with the girl behind the counter who was from Peru. A few times she looked at me, laughed and corrected me but she got what I was saying. The Flight to Managua was 2.5 hours. Met my ride at the airport and off to Leon I went.

Its 35 degrees Celsius at 10 00 pm. I have traveled by car, bus, train, train, shuttle train, plane, plane and van. I deserve to sweat while I drink this beer. Hola Nicaragua

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Aren't You Scared?

When talking about or discussing travel/living in any Latin America country the very first thing I am asked without question is Aren't You Scared?

Bad grammar aside this image represents gun crime in American cities vs Latin American countries although having Albania, South Africa, the Philippines and Cambodia does give it a decent world slant. As with anywhere when you leave the city and crime will go down 75 - 80%. I am using this as a guide to start the conversation and put gun crime into perspective. 

Is LA safe yes but your not going to wander Cinco Punto in East LA. Are you safe in New York of course as along as you do not walk around Harlem and Washington Heights drunk at 2 am. Chicago, stay out of Englewood and Washington Park. Miami its Overtown, Liberty City, Opa-locka, and Little Haiti.

Well the same goes for Managua, Guatemala City, San Salvador, San Jose, Belmopan and Tegucigalpa. There are areas to avoid so logically you do not go there (Logic being relative of course). I spent time in San Pedro Sula which ranks at the top of every violent city list every year. This is based on sixty percent of the country's Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) and Barrio 18 gang members that are concentrated in three sectors of San Pedro Sula, the world's murder capital.. So DON'T GO THERE! We drank in a TGI Fridays and walked back to our hotel. We did not jump in a cab and go "have a look" at the bad areas because it will be cool. That will certainly get you killed! Think of the city you are in right now. Where would you NOT GO late at night?
Now for a bit of perspective the USA does fall to 26th when comparing country to country. That being said I think you also need to use total population as a barometer as well. But as I said, perspective.
Now do not get me wrong Canada is no Utopia. We have Asian gangs on the West coast shooting up restaurants, Toronto and Montreal have their own big city issues and collateral damage including to many people getting caught in the cross fire of gun fights. The prairie capitals have a large violent crime underbelly and the East Coast, well they just hit you with a big old cod and then take you for a beer. God Love em! My point is crime exists everywhere?  Get drunk and wander around Managua at 2 am well yes sir your a target, however you are the same target in Honolulu and Halifax. 

Personally I have been robbed in Australia, Bolivia and the United States. I have been bothered in Mexico, Sweden, England, and Italy, Canada and the USA. I had more issue in London England than anywhere else I have been. Most times I was dumb and put myself into the situation either from inexperience, apathy or just being dumb (see comment above about being drunk and wandering around at 2 am). I have had to deal with police in Guatemala, Panama, Bolivia and the States. I have been ripped off by money changers, scammed at borders,  fought with a rickshaw driver (which was dumb) and had other various negative experiences. I have also had to have my passport replaced 4 times (twice stolen, twice lost)  and the Government of Canada now looks at me with a cocked head and suspicious eyes. If you think travel perfect is out there then go to your All Inclusive Resort and then complain how bored you were after 3 days, how far the beach was from your hotel, that is was not like it looked like in the brochure, that the food was not great, the excursions a rip off or any other myriad of issues when you get home.

My friend in Niagara Falls was just talking about how his parents home was vandalized by someone kicking in the back door while they sat on the front porch. This was on a busy street in broad daylight in a "good neighborhood" in a smallish town. My point is this. Bad things can and will happen anywhere you are in the world including your safe hometown. You can hide in your house, watch Mainstream Media and have them add continuous fuel to your scared world view, live in a gated community, buy a gun and feel "safe" or you can get out into the world, be aware and alert, live, learn, experience and try to understand how different and yet the same everyone on the planet is. 

Finally, just because they are poor does not make them criminals! Some of the richest people in the world are the biggest crooks. Its insane how that always seems to get washed over and National Travel alerts get issued when guy gets robbed in Mexico for $50.. The questions were you drunk, what time was it or where were you never seem to be a topic of discussion.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Digital Insanity: Can We Auto-Correct Humanity

Digital Insanity: Can We Auto-Correct Humanity? Why I Refuse to Let Technology Control Me.
-- prince Ea 

I am always on the lookout for anyone who has something interesting and intelligent to say about the evolution...I mean the devolution of our society. Recently I stumbled across prince Ea and have become a fan of his spoken word videos. This guy is smart, articulate and passionate. He does not rant, rave, scream or insult without merit like any main stream media show. He is clear, concise well versed and thoughtful. He speaks with unbridled passion the carries a twinge of pain and sorrow about the state of our world. We watch the news, use our mobile devices, spent hours staring into screens and think..oh well. prince Ea steps back and hits us squarely between the eyes and shows us our reality!



For a different slant with a similar message I look to Russell Brand. What makes me sigh is how quickly people are to judge this guy because of his lifestyle, past issues with drugs and booze and his high octane approach to life. The dude is intelligent, articulate and does not get defensive when insulted. His thoughts are lucid and his laugh is sneering and infectious. He takes on the establishment, their arrogance and ignorance and takes them down...and they do not even know it. Well done sir.

Here is is view on why he does not vote with Jeremy Paxton. He buries him.

You can watch scripted ``Reality tv``, keep up with the Kardashamediawhores.
You can get your news from TMZ and make sure your up to date with all things celebrity.
You can complain about athletes making $10 - $15 million a year while you buy your $15 beer and sit in your $125 seat.
You can moan with angst about the price of fuel while filling up your SUV.
You can drink bottled water regardless of the facts surrounding it.
You can bemoan your mobile bill while watching YouTube videos complaining about the cost of mobile services.
You can complain about the environment when buying your milk that comes in 3 plastic bags, in 1 plastic bag and placed in another plastic bag to carry out.
You can complain about the price of hydro when watching TV, searching the web, doing your laundry all with your lights on.
You can complain about being out of shape while eating ice cream on the sofa watching 3 hours of TV.
You can feel angst about your finances while shopping because you are bored for things you do not need.

You can do any or all of the above......just be nice to other people, pay it forward, buy someone a coffee, pet a dog, listen more,  and FIND THE TIME TO BE TIRED OF BEING WIRED (while smiling at the irony that I wrote that last line and put it online)

(If you have anything societal ironic to add to this list, send it to me. I will add it here with props to you)

*** I would be happy to receive any feedback on this blog, good, bad or indifferent. Any new ideas or thoughts for me to explore or just to say hello from where ever you are.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Countdown Has Begun

NICARAGUA! You captivated me. Do not get me wrong, the competition was fearsome. Bolivia and Ecuador are nipping at your heals, but alas, you knew I was coming back.
Bernard Byer said "If You Want To Know Where Your Heart Is Look To Where Your Mind Goes When It Wanders". With me it always hits the road and most recently back to Nicaragua.  My mind has always wandered the world ever since I can remember. Staring at world maps, memorizing countries, capitals and landmarks, any historical events that I could retain (nearly impossible really). I do reflect at times, usually without sadness, at how different my life would have been had I embraced the Wanderlust spirit and the joy of writing that was in me. What would have been had I embraced that path without prejudice from an early age....and stayed there!

(There is one person with whom I now think about anytime my mind wanders. She has given me a new appreciation about how to overcome real adversity and that anything truly is possible.)

Well now here I sit. The world is at my feet. I have worked as a Waiter/Bartender in the Food Services Industry, creative roles including management in Technology and Internet Services, Volunteer Teacher in Latin America and Truck Driver in the Oil Fields of Alberta, Canada plus various transition jobs in between. I delivered the local newspapers from the age of 9, worked through high school in a restaurant. I attended Sault College , then Brock University and along the way the Trebas Institute, a crappy Information Technology School (however it did open doors which is all I could have asked for considering the price). I spent a year working at Walt Disney World / Epcot Centre in Florida on a student exchange. I have been lucky enough to have traveled to 48 countries on all 7 continents and I spent a winter being a ski bum in Canada's West. I have climbed glaciers, hiked mountains and volcanoes, trudged through jungles and deserts and sailed on oceans. I have wandered the ruins of ancient civilizations, the insanity of modern cities and the cobblestone streets of Colonial towns. There have been war memorials, graveyards and views of both historical devastation and the human spirit. I have marveled at sunsets and sat mesmerized by the animal kingdom. I have studied French, German, Japanese and Spanish and with minimal phrases I was able to Forrest Gump my way through even the smallest remote towns because people in the world are generally good! Most important of all. I have met some of the most amazing people from all over the world, experiencing their lives on the road. I do not remember all the names but they are all etched in my memories. My friends and family say I have done so much. I appreciate the kind words but that really is all relative. Lets see where the latest Re-boot takes me.

Now with that monologue out of the way I find myself ready to board the big bird and soar (or bump along depending on turbulence) to Nicaragua (via Miami of course). Once there I will be heading to Colonial Leon, a city of history, beauty and Sandinista pride. It is here where the real Sandinista movement started in 1956 by Rigoberto López Pérez who shot and killed Somoza García and the historical significance of the town is not lost on the locals. The León Cathedral is a World Heritage Site (Not that I will ever be there on a Sunday) and Scree skiing on Volcun Negro. 

I will be dealing with both the modern challenges of  Nicaragua. The New Canal Zone, erratic electrical and water shortages, earth tremors, cold showers (tepid if your have a good day) however the gallo pinto will be hot and the To
ña ice cold plus chatting with locals thinking I am a Spanish superstar when in reality...well not so much. Leon is one of the hottest cities in Latin America but also has a rainy season that lasts 3 months. I have a job, an apartment, money in my pocket and a rudimentary understanding of the language. That's all a guy can ask for....well that and a Bills Superbowl. 

 *** I was chatting with a friend of the family who came to wish me luck. I said to her, "it's 4:00 how about a cup a tea?" to which this 96 year old superstar replied without skipping a beat. "it's 4:00 and time for a glass of wine. I was owned!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

If You’re Not Getting Better, You’re Getting Passed

I read this quote today in an article about Mike Babcock, coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs and considered one of the best coaches in the NHL. I thought its brilliance was in it's simplicity.

"I think we all are guilty of complacency. Human nature. However does it really need to happen? We do not need huge changes to break the cycle. The smallest shift in dynamics will put you on a new trajectory. It's just the size of the shift that increase the speed of change. Now no matter what you do, embrace it. YOU choose to do it. Become the best you can and when you have reached the place where there is nothing else to learn..DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. That is where complacency rears its ugly head."

I have written about Fear, Adventure, Someday and I guess I will add Complacency to the list. I think it is the cause of so much sadness. People give up when coiled in it's nasty embrace. It brings the fantasy of comfort and the fear of change. Then BAM, POW, BOOM (that's my tribute to Batman) time has passed, you are bored and question your life. Challenge yourself.

How many times have you heard "when I lost my job it was the best thing that ever happened to me"? Well when I lost my job at Bell it was "the best thing to happen to me". I learned to embrace change, learn and understand the opportunity exists everywhere but the most important lesson I have learned is you have to Grab That Opportunity. What has happened since I left Bell 4 year ago.

1. I Learned Spanish (although I do not practice or study as much as I should)
2. Volunteered in Indigenous Schools in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Ecuador
3. Traveled in and around Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Antarctica, Uruguay and Bolivia.
4. Traveled to New Brunswick and saw a Right Whale close up
5. Drove from Ontario to Alberta to Ontario 7 times
6. Started a new career and learned to Drive a Rig in the Oil Patch and work for long hours in -30 degree weather
7. Knowing that working in the Oil Patch is not a long term career path for me
8. Re-Connected with someone from my past who has become critical to my life and well being (Even if I do keep leaving)
9. Tried to re-enter the corporate world and from the first moment knew that it was not going to work. You CAN NOT go back if you have evolved.
10.  As much as I have tried to spend extended time in Niagara Falls, there is a Black Cloud that hangs over the place. It really is the oddest city I have ever been to or lived in.

So there I was, again sitting on the edge of the abyss known as complacency. I was working at a job I liked but did not love and sadly was only working there for the $$$. It was an means to an end but I had to be careful about the timeline. I could see the next 10 years fly by. NO FUCKING WAY was that going to happen. I lived in a town that I hated. I had to ask myself, "self. if your working in the Alberta oil fields why are you living in the middle of the prairies and not near the mountains". Answer, complacency. Its easy.

What could I really I benefit from a simple change of locations. I could stay with Badger Daylighting however if I need to find a new company I will. I will have a better apartment that faces the mountains.  I will learn to drive the mountains and get experience chaining up and being a better, safer driver (If I do not get killed). Wildlife will abound. Here in Lloyd it's Cows, Buffalo and deer. This was an interesting time to be sure

Well Sir, in early July I hit the wall with life in the Oil Patch in Western Canada. I had the realization that it certainly was not the life for me regardless of the amount of oil dollars I could sock away. It was not the worst experience in my life, far from it. However this is NOT where I want to be. This is NOT a lifestyle that I want. So I left Badger Daylighting knowing where I wanted to go, and where I really wanted to be. Nicaragua.

Short thought Positives: 
- I learned how to drive a class 3 vehicle. The power and confidence that brought to an old computer hack was empowering.
- As with the chaos that can be my journey I reaffirmed that yes you can do what you want if you are ready to actually do it and not just talk about "one day I will...."
- I realized what I have known all my life. The drive for the almighty dollar is a false prophecy. (yes an atheist using the word prophecy makes no sense what so ever). If money is your driving force man you need to do something else.
** As an aside, YES I understand we all need to make money to live in this society. We need food, shelter, clothing and sadly. Stuff and more stuff!! I get it. I am not against $$$ I am against $$$ being the main reason to get out of bed in the morning.
- I drove across the country 6 times.
- I worked as far North and West as Fort St. John British Columbia as well as countless locations in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
- I appreciate the beauty of Northern and Northwestern Ontario.
- Learning to work 12 to 14 hour days, outside in -30 temperature

Short Thought Negatives:
- The general mentality in the Oil Patch is rediculous
- To many guys making to much money with nothing to do so its drinking, drugs and new trucks
- To many guys can not read or spell and really have no desire to learn.
- Guys do not want to take vacations or days off. "I am a worker", "I will miss a days pay". Good bye relationships, good buy health, good bye time.
- Being constantly "On Call". See above
- The pillaging of the Earth. I have seen it, been a part of it and did not want to do it any longer.
- Bears

Those are some quick and general thoughts. I do wish I would have blogged about my 2 years in the patch but alas it is not to be. I will conclude that I made mad $$$, saw some great parts of the country,  and there were some interesting people, places and incidents. Mostly with me sliding into a ditch.

Finally, I want to thank everyone that took a chance on me and gave me the opportunity to learn and thrive. It was not for me, but I am grateful and happy that I did it. So here's to you folks, cheers and best of luck.

"If you’re not getting better, you’re getting passed"