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Funny stories. Good advice. Oodles of doodles.
Chapter 25: The Mushy Cauliflower – What dinner in France taught me about the power of words
If my trip to Ottawa whetted my appetite for travel, my class trip to France in high school made me ravenous for it. The European excursion was a big deal for a few reasons — the most important being I was going to be one of only two boys in the group with fourteen […]
Chapter 26: The Shopping Cart – What an unusual ride to the bar taught me about control
Thankfully, my French teacher wasn’t there to witness my butchery of the language at the dinner table in France. Otherwise, she might have held me back a year. But she didn’t, and soon enough, I had racked up enough credits to put high school in the rear-view mirror. Ditto for Nicholas. It was time for […]
Chapter 27: The Butt Clay – What a muddy gully battle taught me about karma
There are few things in life more satisfying than witnessing instant karma. That exquisite moment when someone acting like a jackass immediately gets their comeuppance. It’s a rare thing to behold, but it’s a beautiful thing when it happens. Unfortunately, the universe didn’t smite Royce right away for hurling me into a fire hydrant while […]
Chapter 28: The President – What Bill Clinton getting in my way taught me about adaptability
In 2001, Dan and his wife, Ioanna, welcomed my nephew Gabriel to world. I was excited to spend some time with the little guy, and my brother and sister-in-law were looking for babysitting help as they transitioned back to work. There was just one small detail to work out: the gig was in Hong Kong, […]
Chapter 29: The Taipei Middle Way – What a hostile hostel taught me about moderation
Dan wasn’t the only sibling to move overseas for work. My older sister Becky also pulled up stakes and headed east, taking a job as an English-as-a-second-language teacher in Chiayi, Taiwan. So when I graduated from university, I decided to follow in her footsteps and try my luck there as well. Not long after arriving, […]
Chapter 30: The Refugee Camp – What volunteering in Ghana taught me about digging deeper
After my stint as a teacher in Taiwan, I returned home to Canada, where I worked a few different jobs. It was great to be back in Waterloo, living with Royce and some other friends who were either working in the area or wrapping up their degree. But the travel bug had bitten me hard, […]
Chapter 31: The Bus Ride – What a long drive through the mountains taught me about patience
With Ghana under my belt, I now had stamps in my passport from countries in Africa, Asia and Europe. So I set my sights on South America next, taking advantage of the fact that my friend Meagan had secured a job in Ecuador. Another friend, Janele, joined me for this particular adventure, and it was […]
Chapter 32: The Barn – What a Christmas sleepover taught me about keeping your fires stoked
I loved my travel adventures. But there really is no place like home. And for me, that has always been Port Albert — even after Mom sold the house there and moved to Ottawa. With my grandma and so many of my aunts, uncles and cousins still living in the area, I regularly returned to […]
Chapter 33: the List – What farts and sandwiches taught me about gratitude
During the day, my initial stay at Princess Margaret Hospital was full of welcome distractions. Between procedures, blood work, visitors and flirting with the nurses, I didn’t have much time to brood on the fact that I was a 27-year-old patient with an aggressive form of leukemia. But at night? That was a different story. […]
Chapter 34: The Birthday – What a surprise celebration in the hospital taught me about self-care
As I mentioned, my friends and family featured prominently in my Reasons to Fight list. And for good reason: throughout my cancer treatment, they stepped up time and time again to help me. One incident in particular stands out. During my stay at the hospital in March 2008, I discovered how dealing with a major […]
Chapter 35: The Goodbye – What a man named Frank taught me about luck
Shortly after my birthday party, I received another gift: the go-ahead to be discharged. Moving forward, I was to be treated as an outpatient, taking daily oral medications at home and returning to the hospital once a week for IV chemo. The next several months went by in a blur. I lost what little hair […]
Chapter 36: The Bloody Transformation – What going from negative to positive taught me about change
“You’ve got a journey ahead of you.” I remember Dr. Merker saying those words after telling me I probably had cancer. And at the time, I remember telling myself that this journey he was talking about was just going to be a detour. It would suck, but I would get through it and be back […]
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“You took a terrible experience, turned it into art and are finding ways to use it to help others.”Chris, Social Worker – Kitchener, ON
“I love the stories. They add so much to the lessons, rather than just a list of resilience ideas.”Dr. Karen Armstrong – Timmins, ON