Waskatenau, Alberta

Waskatenau, Alberta

Three year old Stryker takes taekwondo lessons. He can not remember the word, so he calls taekwondo, ‘Kon ding doh.’

Brooks, Alberta

One sure can lose track of which day of the week it might be when they get abducted and forced into a three-day no-clothes-change, bender. I have learned that the changing of clothes seems to indicate day separations…

Fascinating Facts

I learned this today. Fascinating: -The closest star to our sun is Proxima Centauri, and it is a little over 4 light years away. At the speed of light, it will take four full years to get to the next closest star! Think about that for a moment… That is amazing! That is freaking far! Just to borrow the light of the neighbour’s garage is 4 light years of travel. Pack a lunch! -Light travels over 10 trillion km in...

Eight year old Kellen

Travis’ boy was talking to his dad about me and said, “He’s not a real adult. He is kind of an adult, but not a real adult…” That made me laugh so much… It is really cool that he recognizes the freedom in me.

Four year old Stryker

I woke up this morning and met with four year old Stryker in the kitchen who asked me, “How did you sleep last night?” I told him I slept well. He told me, “I dreamed about tigers. They were hunting for some fish!”

Fatty

I wonder if Big Way is open? I need some shit for my freezer. Ah…I’d better save my money…I’ve got to pay for a circumcision.

Fascinating Family Tradition

My cousin Devona brought over some reading for me. My great grandpa, Tomas Henry Harris was born in 1883 and, wrote about his life and coming to Canada in 1911. He talked about homesteading in Big Beaver and he passed the writing onto his son. My grandpa, Thomas Milson Harris, also wrote about his life to be passed onto his son. That is a pretty cool tradition it is pretty entertaining to read about my grandfather trying to court my...

Cousin Donavon

When I was 12, turning 13, my 21 year old cousin Donavon came to the farm to help us seed. He told us that dad told him to take me to the USA for the afternoon so that I could get some Red Man chewing tobacco. My cousin said that he asked my dad, “You want me to what?” Dad told him, “Yea, take Stephen with you down to Montana to get some Red Man chewing tobacco. It is cheaper...

Cousin Donavon

Donavon told us a story about when he was in his 20’s. He said that he and his friend flew to Hawaii. The friend has a big mouth and loves to say stupid things. At the airport, in front of two immigration officers, the friend asked him aloud, “Hey, did you remember to put the dope in the bag?” He showed us the face he showed his friend, and it was of horror and shock. They were pulled out of...

Brooks, Alberta.

I was riding around with my 17 year old cousin.  There was a girl who pulled up beside us at a red light. He asked me, “Should I race her?” I asked him, “Should I roll down the window to get her one of these then?” and I showed him a practice head-nod. He laughed. As I was rolling down his passenger tinted-window to do just that, he revved the engine of his truck for a second. The girl looked...

Cousin Devona

She called the leather heated seats in her Honda CRV her ‘Pizza Keeper Warmers.’

Fatty

He has kids now and he told me, “When you are a kid growing up, you think your parents know everything. The don’t. They are just winging it.”

My Dad

Jurassic Park was on television. He looked over at Pat and said, “This movie must have made this a long time ago…”

Dad and Pat

Pat – “I am going to be gone all of tomorrow but I will be home the next day before dark.” Dad – “It sure if going to be quiet around here…”

Bengough, Saskatchewan.

You know you are getting close to home through your hitchhike when you start to know everyone. A friend travelling the opposite direction drove past me. I did not see him but he backed up to talk to me. He said, “I am heading to my mom’s for supper. If you can get to my house, the fridge is full of cold beer. You can just stay there. Or else you can just take my Dodge home and bring it...

Somewhere between Manila and Regina

I have been on different 18 airplanes in the past 3 months, making an entire revolution of the planet travelling east. No wonder I am tired…

Taipei, Taiwan

I feel like I saw Taipei when I was here in June, and there was not much to do or see. It seems like a complete lack of fun fills the air and streets of this city. I now had a nine hour layover. You know a city is boring when you contemplate just having a sleep in the airport floor rather than bothering to waste space in your passport with ‘entrance’ and ‘exit’ stamps. I always ask the immigration...

Somewhere between the Philippines and Taiwan

For our meal on the plane, there was fish, rice and a bowl with vegetables and kidney beans. How does someone think it is okay to serve beans on a flight? Like really, who okay’ed that? ‘Beans en-route on an airplane. Yea, that is a great idea… Our passengers are going to love the taste…’

Manila, Philippines.

As we were filling out forms in the office, it asked, ‘Sex?’ I wrote down, ‘Last Night.’ I showed that to her. She almost peed in her pants laughing.

Manila, Philippines

She works for Filipino Geographic Information Systems and she is involved in Disaster Management and Response. In 2013 when Typhoon Haiyan was about to hit an island town named Tacolban, her team told the community to evacuate. Unfortunately, the evacuation center was also affected, and over 6,000 people died. She said there were more people that lost their lives than the 6,000 listed, but some entire families were wiped out and there was no one to account for the missing.

Manila, Philippines

Irene – “I tried to play the guitar and I ended up crying. It is too hard…” Holy, that is cute!

Manila, Philippines

She told me she was in Amsterdam. I asked her if she smoked pot. She whispered, “Shhhh! Someone might shoot us!” I had forgotten that the current president of Philippines told the police to just shoot the drug dealers and drug addicts in the country. This has resulted in never once being offered pot or coke by a shady character missing teeth during the entire time I have been in the Philippines. It is a real treat to not be...

Manila, Philippines

It was super hot in the venue. My shirt was soaked as I was leaking into it. The crowd opened up so it was possible to get closer to the stage. She was just in front of me, dancing. Suddenly she turned around to me, kind of put her arms around me and said, “I need water…” I needed it too and thought it was just a statement and all of a sudden she started going down. She had fainted....

Manila, Philippines

We went to B-Side Collective where three bands were playing. The bands were huge bands in the Philippines in the early 2000’s. There is a culture of music here in the Philippines called OPM which stands for ‘Original Pinoy Music’ (Pinoy is slang for Filipino) with music sung in Tagalog language. The bands play on the radio and they are household names. She told me the bands are wealthy by Filipino standards. OMP is dying today as people want to...

Manila, Philippines

Way to go Philippines. You have surpassed Mexico as the country with the coolest people on the planet. The crown has been taken… I love your country, your price, your people, your culture, your manners, your sweetness, your nature, your beaches, your weather, your open hearts, and everything else about you! I have never heard anyone raise their voice. I have never met anyone who has been impolite.  Sometimes I worry that I am too much of a dick to...

Port Barton, Palawan, Philippines

I am not sure if there is anything in the world that exists which is cuter than Filipino children between the ages of 1 and 5. I have never seen cuter children anywhere, that is for certain. They melt me and they make me laugh. I have never had a burning desire to have children, but the little ones here are changing that and weakening my resistance to having offspring… Filipino kids are so so cute and I can not...

Port Barton, Palawan, Philippines

I went out for a couple of beer and ended up meeting a 23 year old named Andrew. Andrew is the product of a mixed Dutch/Indonesian father and a Filipino/Mexican mother. He grew up in Australia. He said that there are seven kids in his family and different traits show up in each child. Andrew is a twin and looks Asian, but his oldest brothers are twins as well but they are blonds who look Dutch. His sister looks Latino…...

Port Barton, Palawan, Philippines

The girl working behind the bar told me that her name is Eden. I asked her, “Do you have a forbidden garden?” She said, “It’s actually a paradise.”

Port Barton, Palawan, Philippines

At the beach bar, there were three dogs hanging out, growling toughly at other dogs passing by. This went on for about an hour. Suddenly a cat entered the scene! The dogs freaked out and surrounded that cat. The cat screamed and let out a menacing hiss. All three of those dogs backed right off and hung their heads in silence while the cat stood there with raised fur. The dogs were terrified. Then as soon as the cat went...

El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

Anne told me she has never been off of her island. I asked her if she wants to see Manila. She said, “Yes, but because Manila is more snatcher…I not use the cell phone for selfie because, ‘…Ah…snatch…’” How very very cute!

El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

She told me that she works seven days a week and she gets up at 04:00 or 05:00 to start her mornings, every morning. She will work at the hotel until October when she will go to university to study to become a teacher. She said that is what her parents think will be a good job for her, so that is what she will study. I asked her about tuition, and she said it is going to cost her...

El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

Christie told me that people here in El Nido make between 250-300 pesos each day of work. That is $5-$6. In Manila the salary is better at 500 pesos a day ($10) but the cost of living there is so much higher. She said she makes around 7,000 pesos ($140/month) but after she is taxed she takes home 5,000 pesos ($100). She, like everyone else here, works either six or seven days a week. And still, they are the happiest...

Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines

Me – “RJ, one of those girls at the table is really staring at me. Awe, I hope she’s not a hooker. Do you think she is?” Filipino RJ – “Oh, ask this guy…” and points to his cross-eyed friend. Me – “This is your hooker expert?” RJ – “He knows all about it…”

Tagbilaran, Bohol, Philippines.

I was lucky to meet a really chatty 42 year old Filipino woman named Dessa who kept me entertained on the way home in the jeep share-taxi. She works in a resort told me, “One guest, he come with a cat. Is 15 kilograms! I think cat is a lion! No. Says, ‘Is cat!’ I don’t know cat like this. Only think be lion. In Philippines cat is small like the people. I never expect that so big cat!” Filipinos...

Tagbilaran, Bohol, Philippines

Filipino girl in bar – “My mother has more than 13 cats, some goats, chickens and a pet crocodile. My mother is wondering, ‘Where is my cats and chicken?’ Of course we know…it is in the tummy of pet crocodile. The crocodile eat fast!”

Siquijor Island, Philippines

I told Annie the witch doctor that I am a struggling journalist and asked her if she can help me to gain success. She studied my right hand, pointed at a line and said, “There are others blocking you.” I asked if she could help. She said she could smoke out the bad spirits that are holding me back. I asked her what that would cost. She said it was a donation and it was up to me. I agreed...

Siquijor Island, Philippines

Somewhere close to Lorena on the north of the island, we found ladies who were cooking on the side of the road. We ate at their shack and right up on the hill behind was a great little makeshift bar that overlooked the ocean. We went there for a beer and I put a Beaver sticker on the fridge. Markus and I went home after, drove like madmen (Markus said he felt like he was in a game the way...

Siquijor Island, Philippines

Filipino Girl at Guesthouse – “I am going singing karaoke. Are you guys coming?” Me – “Are you a good karaoke singer?” Filipino Girl at Guesthouse – “No, but I can read words.”

Siquijor Island, Philippines

My life of names has been very difficult and I am tired of the battle for my mine. I spent the first 30 years of my life battling to tell people my name is Stephen only to have them immediately mispronounce it Steven one second later. People can not help but blow that every single time. And, there is a never ending supply of a-holes who can not wait to take a moment to try to teach me how to...

Siquijor Island, Philippines

When we docked on the island and walked off, there were touts hustling for business of renting motorcycle. I made sure to hold off and the prices went down as I got away from the pier, from 350 pesos/day to 200 pesos/day. So, I ended up with a motorcycle for 200. That is $4 a day! I headed off along the highway that winds around the coast and stopped for fuel at a roadside stand, where I bought a 1L...

Dumaguete, Negros Island, Philippines

Happy brought us with her and a couple of friends to a really cool area of the city where a band was playing in a bar. Everyone wanted to drink the local rum (which costs $2 for a small bottle in a bar!) so I got into it too. I knew that was not going to work out well and it did not. I got drunk fast. Hard liquor and me do not work… The good thing about it was...

Oslob, Cebu, Philippines

When I wear my crazy Tetris shaped sunglasses and cowboy hat with my long hair hanging out the back I get called a lot of celebrity names. Today it was Antonio Banderas from his role in Desperado. A couple of days ago I got Bon Jovi. Before that I got Nickolas Cage. I never get it celebrity names unless I am wearing the hat and shades together. The Filipinos love it…

Oslob, Cebu, Philippines

We went to look around a market in Oslob, Philippines, where some high school students were saying ‘Yee-Haw’ to us in regards to my cowboy hat. Markus ended up playing a game with them where they would show him a vegetable such as a pepper, ask him what it was and he would guess, “Banana?” much to their laughter and enjoyment. They showed him a potato and he guessed it was “Apple?” The kids nearly fell down with laughter at...

Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines

We rented snorkel masks and headed towards the shitty Chili’s bar pier where we were told the ‘Sardine Stream’ is located. Neither of us had any idea what that was going to be for sure. It turned out to be amazing. There are billions of sardines swimming to make walls of themselves in the water there. There are more sardines that you can even describe numerically. If I was to guess I would say there are billions. They move together...

Filipino Life

It is amazing how it works with my story about North Korea in the Philippines. If I tell Filipino people that I have been to North Korea, they hardly bat an eye. They do not react much differently than they would if I told them that I have been to Thailand. But when I tell someone from Germany, or the US, or anywhere in the west that I was just in North Korea, they nearly have a heart attack. People...

Visayas, Philippines

In the taxi, the driver played Dan Seal’s ‘If I Had Only One Friend Left (I’d Want it to be You).’ 1980’s country music in a taxi van through the Philippines is pretty bizarre… How that song managed to get to these islands is beyond me…

Manila, Philippines

I asked her about the scar on her side. She told me that it is from when a Tsunami hit the Philippines in 2013. She said that she and her siblings had to swim from midnight until 9:00am the following morning. They swam the entire time but many people died. If there was a chair that floated by, they would hang onto it. She told me about the dead babies floating past that, “My memory will never forget.” She said...

My friend Markus

On Xiamen Air in China – “If they would just serve the beer as cold as they serve the bananas, that’d be alright.”